The FCC "Deeply Troubled" by Verizon's LTE Optimization

Few days after Verizon published its plan to optimize traffic at congested cells [see "Verizon Expands "Optimization" to LTE Subs to Fight Cell Congestion" - here], the FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, sent them a number of questions, expressing he is  "deeply troubled" by the move, and questioning if this should the right policy for "reasonable netwrok management*" or it is actually done to  "enhance

GSA: 318 Operators Launched LTE Networks; 69 LTE-A; 66 Launched VoLTE

GSA reports that "318 operators have commercially launched LTE networks and service in 111 countries .. Israel [by Orange Israel - see "LTE Services Enabled in Israel - See my Speedtest Results" - here], Madagascar and the Northern Mariana Islands are amongst the latest nations to access commercial LTE mobile broadband service for the first time. 51 LTE networks have launched so far in 2014. The

Procera's Response to Allot's SG-Tera: PL20000 with 600 Gbps/480M Flows

Procera PL20000

3 months after Allot Communications introduced the SG-Tera with 500 Gbps throughout in a single ATCA chassis (see "Allot Launched the New Service Gateway; Orders from 4 Operators (over $9M)" - here), Procera Networks responds with even higher performance, in most KPIs, to be "available for trials in the third quarter of 2014 and generally available in the fourth quarter of

Danish and US Researchers Use Math to Expedite the Internet (5-10X)

A new study by  Frank Fitzek [pictured], Professor in the Department of Electronic Systems from Aalborg University finds that "Mathematical equations can make Internet communication via computer, mobile phone or satellite many times faster and more secure than today. Results with software developed by researchers from Aalborg University in collaboration with the US universities the

Survey: Operators Satisfaction from OSS/BSS Vendors

Jason Marcheck [pictured], Research Director, Current Analysis, published a summary of a "OSS/BSS purchase drivers and vendor satisfaction from large operators around the globe representing approximately half of the global telecom CapEx spend".

The main conclusion is - "The companies that topped the list in questions related to vendor satisfaction seem to be better known as large SI players

[Study]: Lack of Image Optimization Slows down top Retail Web Sites

A new report by Radware finds that "of the top 100 retail websites, the median page has grown 67% in just one year and many are failing to leverage advanced techniques to help accelerate their pages .. use of images is one of the single performance drains, as most site owners are not taking advantage of image optimization techniques that can dramatically improve both real and perceived load

Verizon Expands "Optimization" to LTE Subs to Fight Cell Congestion

3 years after Verizon established its optimization policy to reduce cell congestion, [see "Verizon Explains its "Network Optimization" Policy" - here] it is now expanded to LTE.

Kellex reports to DroidLife that "On October 1, Verizon will expand its existing Network Optimization policy to include unlimited data customers who use 4G LTE devices and “have fulfilled their minimum contract term.”

Through the Google lens: search trends July 18-24

Based on search, it seems like a lot of you spent the last seven days slurping ice cream cones, jamming to pop parodies and starting the countdown to a certain February flick. Could be worse. Here’s a look at what people were searching for last week:

Fifty shades of search
Searchers were “Crazy in Love” with the new trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey, set to a special Beyonce recording of her 2003 hit. There were more than a million searches this week for the ….ahem… hotly anticipated movie, which comes out next Valentine’s Day. In addition to the trailer, people were also looking for information on stars [jamie dornan] and [dakota johnson]. Beyonce was in the spotlight for other reasons too, following rumors that her marriage to Jay-Z was on the rocks.

“Mandatory” and musical marriages
After three decades in the biz, Weird Al has finally made his way into the Billboard No. 1 spot with his latest album, “Mandatory Fun.” Though his shtick hasn’t changed, when it comes to promoting his parodies, the artist has adapted to the Internet era, releasing eight new videos in as many days to generate buzz—and more search volume than at any other point in the past five years. As an editor, of course, I’m partial to “Word Crimes” (which has more than 10 million views on YouTube), but it’s just one of the many “breakout” titles searchers are looking for, along with [tacky], [foil] and [first world problems].

In other musical news, Adam Levine’s bride [behati prinsloo] was trending this week after the two got married in Cabo San Lucas. And another Mexico wedding had people searching for information on [ryan dorsey], the new husband (after a surprise ceremony) of Glee star Naya Rivera.

Foodie ups and downs
A national fruit recall at stores like Costco and Whole Foods led people to the web to learn more about [listeria]. For many, the possible contamination may have been an extra incentive to celebrate several less than healthful food holidays: Last Sunday (or should we say sundae?) marked National Ice Cream Day, and people were searching for their favorite flavor. National Hot Dog Day took place just a few days later, though sausage searches paled in comparison. And just in case all that junk food made you thirsty, yesterday’s National Tequila Day had searchers looking for the perfect margarita recipe.
Tip of the week
Overindulged on ice cream last weekend? It’s easy to get back on the healthy eating train with a quick search. Just ask Google “how many calories in hummus?” or “compare coleslaw and potato salad” to get nutrition info on your favorite summer foods.
Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [coming of age in samoa] and [how old is weird al]

[Analysis Mason]: Telco Big Data Analytics Market to Reach $2.3B in 2014

A new report by Justin van der Lande [pictured], Principal Analyst, Analysis Mason covers the big data analytics market for telcos - "Big data analytics (BDA) is not just a passing trend; it is becoming an increasingly important part of every aspect of a communications service provider’s (CSP) operations. The drive for efficiency gains, coupled with the need to personalize customers’ experiences

I-90 bridge to close for Seafair jets

by Bart Treece

After a one-year break, some old friends have booked a return flight. The skies above Seattle will again be the playground for the F/A 18 Blue Angels of Seafair. This of course means the Interstate 90 floating bridge between the Emerald City and Mercer Island will be closed periodically for safety precautions. In other words: no drivers, cyclists or walkers.

Courtesy: US Navy
Courtesy: Patriots Jet Team

The Federal Aviation Administration requires a safety zone below the area where both the Blue Angels and the Patriots Jet Team practice and show-off for captivated crowds. This zone, we call “the box,” covers part of Lake Washington and the floating bridges - hence the closure.

Airshow Safety Zones
With the Blue Angels back in the Seafair lineup, both directions of I-90, (including the mainline and the express lanes) will be closed between I-5 in Seattle and Island Crest Way on Mercer Island.

Here’s the closure schedule:

  • Thursday, July 31: 9:45 a.m. - noon; 1:15 - 2:40 p.m. (practice) 
    • Express lanes closed from 9:45 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. 
  • Friday, Aug. 1: 12:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m., (practice) 
    • Express lanes closed from 12:15 to 2:40 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Aug. 2: 12:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m., (full show) 
    • Express lanes closed from 12:15 to 2:40 p.m. 
  • Sunday, Aug. 3: 12:15 p.m. - 2:40 p.m., (full show) 
    • Express lanes closed from 12:15 to 2:40 p.m.

Additionally, several ramps to I-90 will be closed during these times.

SR 520 floating bridge
The State Route 520 floating bridge will remain open for traffic and tolls will be collected according to the rate schedule. There will be no boat openings while the I-90 bridge is closed. You can expect heavier traffic on SR 520 and other routes between Seattle and the Eastside. To help keep traffic moving throughout Seafair weekend, the east navigation channelwill be open to boats up to 58 feet tall which should reduce the number of marine openings.

Regardless of where you travels take you Seafair weekend, be sure to plan your trips beforehand and know before you go.

The FCC Reminds ISPs: Transparency Rule is in Full Force

The recent debate around the delivery of Netflix traffic in the US [see "Verizon vs. Netflix on Congestion - It is NOT Us!" - here and "Netflix - Speed to Comcast Customers Continue to Surge" - here], creating confusing among consumers, probably led the FCC to remind ISPs that the Open Internet (Net Neutrality) rules (or some of them) are still in effect.

The FCC issues a public notice, with

#I90to1 by the numbers

By Afternoon Traffic Gal, aka Harmony Haveman Weinberg

Three weekdays down and just one more to go as we each continue to do our part by adjusting our driving/biking/riding/busing habits during the westbound I-90 lane closures to replace two worn out expansion joints.

WSDOT engineers released the latest traffic volumes on I-90 that show just how the commute looked each day this week so far and compared it to averages taken earlier this month.

Check out the graph below and follow the RED line for Monday, the GREEN line for Tuesday and the PURPLE line for Wednesday up until noon. The BLUE line shows the typical average times and volumes when all lanes are open on westbound I-90. As you read the graph you can see drivers who took westbound I-90 through the construction zone have consistently left earlier each day this week than they usually do. Many drivers found alternate routes or changed up their travel plans all together to avoid getting caught in a major backup.

This graph shows travel time comparisons for the first three commutes of #I90to1 against last week's westbound I-90 commute, which is in grey. With this we can tell that drivers are adjusting their trips with the peaks periods beginning earlier in the day. This helps keep traffic moving through the work zone.

We credit all commuters for helping with #I90to1! Let’s keep it up! We are almost finished!

~ Afternoon Traffic Gal

Allot Wins EMEA MNO for Zero-Rate Video Streaming and Social Media Services

Allot Communications announced today that it "received an order from a Tier-1 mobile operator in EMEA for the Allot Policy Control and Charging solution. The operator is leveraging Allot’s policy control and charging solution to provide 4 million subscribers with application-centric plans that fit their digital lifestyle.

The solution will allow the Tier-1 mobile operator to conduct in-depth

UK: How do ISPs Implement Network Based Parental Control Service?

Ofcom has "published a report for Government outlining measures the UK's largest internet service providers have put in place to help parents protect children from harmful content online. This follows an agreement between the Government and BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, the four largest fixed line internet service providers (ISPs), announced in July 2013 [see "UK to Enforce Opt Out Network

Here it comes – better access for SR 167 HOT lanes

By Laura Johnson

We’ll be returning the SR 167 HOT lanes to the
original single line striping
Current SR 167 HOT lanes with the double line striping
The HOT lanes have been around for six years – can you believe it? If you haven’t used them, you’ve likely driven by them. One thing that makes people hesitate to use them is that you can only get in and out of the lanes at the sections with dashed lines. This raises questions like: What if I can’t get out when I need to? What if I miss my exit? With my sense of direction, who knows where I’d end up? Well, with some new changes, you might just think about trying them soon.

The most frequent feedback we’ve heard about the HOT lanes is that people don’t like the limited access. We’re listening to this feedback, and starting the night of July 28, crews will be out grinding off the inside stripe of the double white line – the line that keeps you from getting in and out of the HOT lane at any old spot you want. They’ll be painting over the dashed lines, and the end result will be a single white stripe between the regular lanes and the HOT lane. So like an HOV lane, you can enter and exit wherever you want. When you’ve got a safe gap in traffic, of course.

They’ll still be HOT lanes – people who drive alone will still have to pay the toll, and carpools, vanpools, buses and motorcycles will still be able to use the lanes for free. This will just make it easier to get in and out of the lane.

I’ve heard some people are concerned about the safety of this change. But as I mentioned, the access will be just like an HOV lane, and we have those all over the place with no major problems. We’ll be testing how the new access works in a study that goes along with this project. It’s actually pretty cool because the Federal Highway Administration gave us money to implement and study this, and our study could affect HOT lanes around the country.

When the striping work begins, you’ll be able to read about it on our construction updates website.  So watch out for nighttime lane closures and work on SR 167 between Renton and Auburn for the next month or so. And watch for those single white stripes to appear – freedom!

#I90to1 keeps on truckin'

by Bart Treece

Something has been missing from the morning commutes this week, where westbound I-90 has been reduced to a single lane near Bellevue Way for expansion joint replacement. Traffic has moved relatively smoothly so it’s only natural to ask, “Where are the foreboding traffic tie-ups the clairvoyants of the commute have dubbed, ‘Carpocalypse?’”

Click to view a Storify from today's tweets

The smooth sailing on the expressway and throughout the Eastside and Seattle area can be attributed to you, the commuter. You are doing your part in keeping regional traffic moving during construction. The proof is in the numbers. If you’re ready to get your inner traffic geek on, here you go.

Follow the red line on this graph which shows the commute beginning earlier on Monday, and then holding steady throughout the day, effectively spreading the traffic. Drivers left for work earlier, with the single westbound I-90 lane carrying nearly double the number of typical vehicles in the 4 a.m. hour. By 7 a.m., the peak hour of diversion, westbound I-90 was carrying nearly 60 percent fewer cars and trucks. 

With folks diverting to other routes or staying off the road, it allowed drivers to squeeze into a single lane approaching the construction zone. Travel times from Issaquah to Seattle peaked at 35 minutes. So, even though it looked like a small backup approaching, it was still a slog.

The toughest part of the construction work is welding the two halves of the expansion joints that equal 82 feet. This began at 6 a.m. today, and could take up to 30 hours. After the work passes a series of tests, concrete will be poured in to seal the joint and will need time to harden. To get an idea of why this work needed to happen, here's a look at one of the expansion joints the contractor pulled out.

These circles show the cracks in the steel, and there's not much keeping it together.

With previous closures, we've seen drivers return to their old habits after a few days, which results in longer travel times and bigger backups. Hopefully, everyone will keep doing what they've been doing so come Friday, life can return back to normal.

Little Box Challenge opens for submissions

These days, if you’re an engineer, inventor or just a tinkerer with a garage, you don’t have to look far for a juicy opportunity: there are cash prize challenges dedicated to landing on the moon, building a self-driving car, cleaning the oceans, or inventing an extra-clever robot. Today, together with the IEEE, we’re adding one more: shrinking a big box into a little box.


Of course, there’s more to it than that. Especially when the big box is a power inverter, a picnic cooler-sized device used to convert the energy that comes from solar, electric vehicles & wind (DC power) into something you can use in your home (AC power). We want to shrink it down to the size of a small laptop, roughly 1/10th of its current size. Put a little more technically, we’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W per cubic inch. Do it best and we’ll give you a million bucks.

There will be obstacles to overcome (like the conventional wisdom of engineering). But whoever gets it done will help change the future of electricity. A smaller inverter could help create low-cost microgrids in remote parts of the world. Or allow you to keep the lights on during a blackout via your electric car’s battery. Or enable advances we haven’t even thought of yet.

Either way, we think it’s time to shine a light on the humble inverter, and the potential that lies in making it much, much smaller. Enter at—we want to know how small you can go.

UK: ISPs will Alert Subscribers on Copyright Infringement

The UK has a new plan for reducing copyright infringement, as probably the older plans did not work - UK Culture Minister Vaizey:'SPs have their role to play to help consumers find legitimate content'"- here and "[UK]: Major ISPs Asked to Build 'Downloaders Database'" - here:

 "Representatives from the UK's creative industries and major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have come together

[Study]: 85% of Operators are Leveraging OTT Apps to Attract Customers

A new study by Allot Communications (surveyed the data plans and charging trends of 175 mobile operators worldwide) finds that "85% of operators are leveraging apps to attract customers and increase ARPU .. Facebook is mobile operators’ top choice for zero-rated apps and Unlimited data plans are in decline".

Some examples of Zero rate programs:

Facebook Offers Free Messaging Through 18 MNOs 

I-90 closure: Work progresses, weekday traffic to be tested

by Mike Allende

Our big westbound I-90 expansion joint replacement project started Friday night and work throughout the weekend has gone well with the project remaining right on schedule.

As of Sunday morning, contractor crews had replaced half of two of the huge expansion joints at the East Channel Bridge and were putting down concrete over the new joints. Still to come are the removal of the other half of the old joints, installation of new joints, a 30-hour welding job, and more concrete pouring.

Concrete sealing part of the new expansion joint

The concrete needs about 12 hours to cure but workers will be monitoring it this afternoon. The concrete needs to reach a strength of 2,500 psi (pounds per square inch) for traffic to go over it. Whenever that happens, we’ll be switching the work zone to the other side of the highway to work on the other half of the joints. That is scheduled to happen around 9 p.m. Monday morning drivers will see traffic moving through the work zone in the Phase 2 configuration.

Phase 2 - Monday - Friday morning

From a traffic standpoint, things have been great! We saw no significant slowdowns on westbound I-90 Saturday despite the Sounders match and traffic continued to flow freely on Sunday for people headed into Seattle for the Bite of Seattle or other events. Travel times from Issaquah to Bellevue were about 11 minutes, and about 16 minutes to Seattle.

Monday, of course, is going to be a different story. Even with some people adjusting their plans, telecommuting, taking vacation, we’re going to see significant backups. There’s no way around it. Definitely consider alternate routes but even with that, leave as early as possible. I can’t stand stressing out being late, so leave early. People have been asking for advice and leaving early is really the best I can give you. This will also affect other travel routes, such as I-405, SR 520 and even I-5 in Seattle. Your weekday commute will begin earlier and last longer.

#I90to1 Tweets
We’re adjusting our scheduled here in the Traffic Management Center as well. Morning Guy will be in at 5 a.m. and is on point until 2 p.m. monitoring traffic and updating people on our @wsdot_trafficTwitter handle about what’s going on westbound I-90 (and throughout the region). Afternoon Gal takes over at 2 p.m. and will be here until 8 p.m. all week. If you’re a Twitter user please check in with us as we want to get you the best, most timely information to help with your commute. Use the hashtag #I90to1.

And don’t forget, you can also find travel times and check out our traffic cameras and real-time traffic map so you have an idea of what you’re headed into. This work week is going to be a challenge but stick with us and we’ll keep getting information out so you know exactly what’s going on. Want to know more? Check out the I-90 Survival Guide, and our recent blog post on the I-90 express lanes

[Analysys Mason]: Oracle and Amdocs Lead the $3.6B Customer Care Market

A new report by Mark H. Mortensen [pictured], Practice Head, BSS, and Atul Arora, Research Analyst, Analysys Mason finds that "The customer care market generated USD3.58 billion in revenue in 2013, an increase of 9.1% from 2012. The market was driven by communications service providers (CSPs) increasingly offering packaged service bundles, consumer demand for self-service and control over their

Ericsson SSR 8000 Contracts Follow-up

Ericsson reported its Q2 2014 results (here). The detailed report (here) states that "Mobile broadband demand, VoLTE and growing interest in LTE broadcast [related post: "Vodafone LTE Status: Traffic, Video, Carrier Aggregation, VoLTE, Video Broadcast" - here] drives performance initiatives including carrier aggregation and  network densification. Small cells and the use of new frequency bands

Leading Internet Companies Against Fast Lanes; Disapprove DPI

The Internet Association (see members) announced that it "submitted its comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging Commissioners to take strong and decisive action to guarantee an open Internet for the future. 

The Internet Association’s comments mark the first time that more than two dozen of the world’s most-recognizable and successful Internet companies have spoken with a

Through the Google lens: search trends July 11-17

The World Cup is over and order has finally been restored to the universe. Now that football mania is behind us, searchers are getting the latest info about the world off the pitch. From Tesla announcing their cheapest car ever, the $35,000 Model 3 (OK, so “cheap” is relative) to the tragic events surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, read on to see what trended this week.

Cutting the cord … but not really
Netflix binge-watchers had a near-panic attack when rumors swirled that beloved show Orange is the New Black was getting the axe. But have no fear, friends—the show lives to see another 13 episodes and quite humorously reassured us of its existence. On the other side of the entertainment galaxy, comic book fans were shocked to learn that Marvel’s Thor is now a woman—and a rather ripped one at that! “Thorita” won’t be taking up her hammer against Ultron, the new villain in the upcoming Avengers movie—that role will still be held by Chris Hemsworth. Still, if producers do decide to change it up, we’re pretty sure Kacy Catanzaro deserves the role after her performance on American Ninja Warrior left searchers pumped for more.

The sports stars are out tonight
Athletes put on their best three-piece suits and gowns for the ESPYs on Wednesday, and people turned to search to see which of their favorite stars took home the honors. (FYI OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook, as usual, won the red carpet battle for fashion supremacy, hands down.) While Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe couldn’t make it to the awards show, he still managed to make a splash on the trends charts when he came out as gay. Back on the field, it was the end of an era in baseball as New York Yankees legend Derek (er, Michael?) Jeter played in his last all-star game.

Seeing double
It was a tale of two Brookses this week as searchers were surprised to find out Brooks Wheelan got the boot from Saturday Night Live after just one season—tough crowd. Garth Brooks, on the other hand, had a great week when he announced his upcoming fall tour to much fanfare (“searchfare”?). In the reality TV scene, Claire Leeson from England spent more than $30,000 (so, basically a Tesla Model 3) to look like her celebrity idol Kim Kardashian. And another Kardashian lookalike made it to the trends charts when Lilit Avagyan married Kim’s ex-boyfriend Reggie Bush—six degrees of Kim Kardashian anyone?

Tip of the week
Didn’t catch the ESPYs? Just ask Google, “who won best male athlete?” to see who took the crown this year and find a list of past winners.

Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who’s [on the run] and searching for [crazy eyes] and [dandelions]

Wildfire Road Closure Roundup

Last updated: 4:00 p.m.

Signing off for the weekend: Please check the travel alerts web page  for the latest information.

Active wildfires in north central Washington have led to the closure of multiple highways. Conditions are likely to change throughout the day. Be sure to check our travel alerts web page before you head out.

Eastbound I-90 near Kittitas

Update: I-90 eastbound has reopened.

I-90 is scheduled to reopen at 3:00 p.m. It was originally scheduled to open at 2:30 but remains closed due to blowing dust and poor visibility.

Eastbound I-90 near Kittitas is closed, and will be for at least most of today. Detour around the closure area begins at exit 115, taking travelers on Old Vantage Highway and adding two hours of additional driving time.

Conditions on I-90 earlier today.

About four to six inches of ash is in the area after a brush fire Tuesday. Around 40 mph are predicted through the area, so whiteout conditions similar to a blizzard are anticipated to impact eastbound traffic. Westbound lanes of I-90 are open as they are separated from the eastbound lanes by a hill that is acting like a barrier against the wind and ash.

With US 2 also closed (see below), we expect to see about 8,000 more vehicles traveling on I-90 on Friday and about 9,000 more vehicles traveling on Sunday. Could be about as bad as a Memorial weekend day travel. If your headed that way we'll need to plan for added travel time and pack your patience.

US 2 from Cole’s Corner to Leavenworth

US 2 Stevens Pass is closed from Cole’s Corner to Leavenworth. Both SR 207 and Chumstick Highway are open as a detour to Leavenworth. If you’re coming from the west, take SR 207 to get to Lake Wenatchee.

US 97 closures

US 97 at milepost 275 today
A wildfire named the Carlton Complex fire has US 97 closed in both directions from Chelan to SR 17.

UPDATE 3:56 p.m.:  SR 153 just reopened again. For the second time today.

SR 20 from Loup Loup summit to Okanogan

SR 20 is closed east of Twisp in both directions, starting at Finley Canyon to the summit of Loup Loup Pass. West side traffic headed east can still access Winthrop using SR 20. 

Again, these closures are likely to change throughout the day so keep an eye out on our travel alerts web page for the latest information. 

Afternoon Experience: Rockets Over my Head

I thought I'd shared with my readers the recent events in Israel.

I took the picture below half an hour ago, during my Friday afternoon walk in Tel-Aviv. These are rockets, fired from Gaza by the Hamas terrorist organization, against civilian targets in Israel. This happens 2-3 times a day in Tel-Aviv, and much more in areas closer to Gaza (and there, they get an early warning of 15 seconds to

Concurrent Enters the Fast Growing (30%+ CAGR) Transparent Cache Market

Concurrent unveiled a ".. new software-based video solution that enables fixed-line and mobile broadband operators to boost the performance of over-the-top (OTT) video services, while also creating new revenue opportunities and reducing operational costs .. Concurrent’s next-generation transparent caching solution optimizes the online video traffic being delivered over service providers' high

America's businesses are using the web to grow

Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to talk to businesses all over the country and hear stories of how they’ve become successful. For many, it’s pretty simple: the Internet. The web is helping businesses and communities across the U.S. to grow and succeed. In fact, last year Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide $111 billion of economic activity for more than 1.5 million businesses—advertisers, publishers and nonprofits—across the U.S.

Take Go2marine, a boat supply company located on Bainbridge Island, off the coast of Washington State. Because of their remote location, bringing traffic to their website using Google AdWords plays an important role in their ability to sell their 250,000+ boat supplies to customers in 176 countries. When it’s winter in the U.S., they rely on customers located in other parts of the world where it’s boating season, with the web bringing them business from any place, in any season.

Or meet Don Morton, who taught reading, writing and language in lower-income neighborhoods in my home town of Chicago for nine years. In 2005, he began creating his own materials to supplement what the school system provided. Realizing that his worksheets could be useful for students and teachers everywhere, he created to provide his worksheets for free. Don started using Google AdSense to offset his costs by placing ads next to his content, and today he’s able to work full-time on his website and make an impact on students around the world.

These are just two examples of enterprising people making the most of Google tools to find new customers, connect with existing ones and grow their businesses; you can find plenty more of them in our Economic Impact Report. Our tools help connect business owners to their customers, whether they’re around the corner or across the world from each other. And when businesses flourish, it’s good news for the rest of us. Recent data shows that businesses that are online are expected to grow 40 percent faster and hire twice as many workers as businesses that aren’t. Every year, it gets clearer that the web helps lead to more successful businesses, stronger economies, more vibrant towns, and more prosperous communities.

Learn more about our economic impact in all 50 U.S. states, and how businesses are finding success through the web. Whether it’s a part for a boat or a grammar worksheet, we’re proud to play a role in giving businesses the tools they need to do more--to grow and thrive and connect with customers and communities all over the world.

Sandvine to the FCC: Internet Fast Lanes are not Needed

Rick Wadsworth [pictured], Director Corporate Communications, Sandvine summarizes on the vendor's blog Sandvine's submission (here) to the FCC's latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the Open Internet (See  "FCC: New Net Neutrality? Just be 'Commercially Reasonable'" - here and "People Care about Net Neutrality" - here).

"Sandvine has over 250 customers around the world. Despite the

LTE Services Enabled in Israel - See my Speedtest Results

Earlier this week, Israel's Ministry of Communications allowed all existing MNOs to enable 4G/LTE services (here, Hebrew). 

The MNOs cannot charge subscribers for using LTE, nor they can't discriminate MVNOs or roamers using their networks.  

Partner Israel (using the Orange brand) announced that "As of  July 15, 2014, the Company will enable its customers that own handsets which support

PCC Deployments [317]: Blu [Ghana] To Use Alepo for LTE

IT News Africa reports that "Alepo has unveiled that it will provide policy and charging control for a new 4G LTE network at Blu Telecommunications in Ghana. Blu plans to launch LTE services including: data, voice, IPTV and Wi-Fi hotspots for residential and commercial customers. The services are planned to be launched in the second half of 2014.

As part of the network launch, Blu will

Sandvine: $5M Orders from EMEA

Sandvine announced that it has ".. received more than $5 million of follow-on orders from two tier 1 service providers in its European Middle East and Africa sales region. Sandvine received the orders in its third quarter of 2014.The $5 million in expansion orders represents growth to the operators’ deployments of Traffic Management and Network Analytics.

One of the operators belongs to a

I-90 express lanes: vital for both directions

by Mike Allende

One of the most common questions we’ve received regarding the upcoming I-90 expansion joint replacement project is will the express lanes operate only westbound during the lane reductions. The answer: No.

The I-90 express lanes entrance is located well
beyond the expansion joint work zone.
There’s a few reasons for making that decision.
  • It wouldn’t really help. The I-90 lane closures end well before the express lanes start. It wouldn’t help any traffic bypass the closure or speed things up through the work zone. At the express lanes entrance, there will be three lanes open on the mainline and two others in the express lanes with traffic traveling near the speed limit. It will serve the morning commute as it normally does.
  • It would cause serious problems for eastbound drivers. Most of those people going westbound will at some point have to return eastbound. Knowing this, we operate the express lanes eastbound from 2 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning. If we kept them westbound during the afternoon commute, Seattle-area traffic, from transit, to carpoolers to single-occupancy vehicles, would grind to a halt. We would see serious backups both directions of I-5, spilling onto city streets, jamming Rainier Avenue and making it very difficult to get out of downtown Seattle. With lower volumes of traffic westbound in the afternoon, keeping the express lanes that direction all day would hurt eastbound traffic significantly without improving westbound.
That said, we’re flexible. We will be monitoring traffic very closely throughout the closure. If we see traffic patterns flow in a way that adjusting the express lane schedule might help without causing too much damage to eastbound traffic, we can do that the following day. But it’s unlikely that would happen during the peak commute times.

Close-up look at I-90 traffic
We are adjusting the express lanes schedule for the Sounders’ 1 p.m. game Saturday, July 19 against Tottenham, running them westbound from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and switching to eastbound by 3:30 p.m. On Sunday, July 20, the express lanes will be closed from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. for the Seafair Triathlon. It will open westbound after that until 2 p.m. Monday, which should help traffic headed to the Seattle Center for the Bite of Seattle.

If we felt changing the express lanes and running them westbound throughout the closure would help more than hurt, we’d do it. We want to keep traffic moving as well as possible throughout the I-90 work. We’ve adjusted in the past when it makes sense. But in this case, it simply would do more harm than good.

Verizon vs. Netflix on Congestion - It is NOT Us!

So, who is responsible for a smooth video experience ? The ISP? the content provider? the transit network between the two?

According to Verizon, it is not them (at least in the case of Netflix streaming).

David Young report to the carrier's Public policy Blog:

Netflix ISP Ranking for Verizon FiOS, Feb-Jun 2014

"A few weeks ago, Verizon received an email from a customer in Los Angeles

From superheroes to the battle of the battles—the World Cup through search

Yesterday, Germany won their fourth world championship, and, over the course of the last month, the world watched them do it—in Brazil, in bars and living rooms around the world, on their phones and laptops and tablets. This World Cup was the most digital, most connected, and most searched global event we've seen to date. There were more than 2.1 billion tournament-related searches on Google, many of which we shared on our trends hub.

Looking at the trends from each match, you’ll see some topics that you’d expect to catch the world’s attention, such as top players and highly-anticipated matches. But who would have guessed that there were 10x more searches in the U.S. for the World Cup than for the NBA Playoffs? Or that Clint Dempsey, American soccer star who also has a rap single, had 2x more search interest than Jay-Z? Or that after Ángel di María's divine goal against Switzerland, he netted 4x more global searches than his fellow countryman, Pope Francis?

Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa was the most searched goalie in the tournament, but Tim Howard’s heroics could hardly be forgotten. German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer not only snagged third place in search, but took home the 2014 Golden Glove award and a World Cup championship to boot.

The Germany vs. Brazil semifinal was the most searched match throughout the tournament, leaving many people around the world asking, “What is the biggest win in World Cup history?” Meanwhile, some countries were ready to move on to the next opportunity: after the third place game, Brazilians searched more for “World Cup 2018” than for the final game between Argentina and Germany.

No World Cup would be complete without a few surprises—and the creative people of the web were ready to weigh in. Uruguay's Luis Suarez was the most searched player meme, and at the time of the Uruguay-Italy game, there were 20x more searches globally for “Suarez Bite” than for snake, spider, tick, fly, dog and mosquito bites combined.

And if a search Dream Team was created, you’d see these 11 players strutting their stuff on the field. While German star Mario Götze didn’t make this list, he was a favorite on search. Even before his goal won it all in the final, he attracted 4x more search attention than Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen, who presented Germany with the championship trophy.

Beyond the impressive stats on the field, we’ve got some numbers of our own to share:
Our team watched 107+ hours of football (we didn’t even need a water break!) and spent 250+ hours bringing you regular insights from our first ever World Cup trends hub. We hope you enjoyed the excitement of the tournament as much as we did, and for more trends, visit or check out our Google+ album.

[Infonetics]: Centralized Signaling and Routing Control Market Expands to Relieve Congestion

A new report by Diane Myers [pictured], principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS, Infonetics Research finds that "The centralized signaling and routing control (CSRC) market is not new, but the platforms are expanding as operators look to scale networks more efficiently with the rise in mobile broadband traffic. CSRC platforms are a class of solutions designed to help operators relieve congestion

Syntonic Builds a Sponsored Content Store for AT&T

Will Sandvine's prediction that "sponsored data will create billions of dollars of revenue for service providers" (here) come through? AT&T's sponsored data (see "[Rumors]: AT&T "Sponsored Data" is Based on Openet's PCC " here) takes another step forward.

Syntonic Wireless, an AT&T sponsored data provider, announced the introduction of the "Syntonic Sponsored Content Store for eligible AT

F5 Partners with Siemens Convergence Creators' PCRF

F5 Networks and Siemens Convergence Creators announced that they have "successfully completed comprehensive interoperability tests of F5’s BIG-IP® Policy Enforcement Manager™ (PEM™), and Siemens Convergence Creators’ policy and charging rules function (PCRF) product, Siemens Policy Manager (SPM) .. Combining F5 and Siemens technology gives operators the ability to monetize networks by enabling

Yahoo Acquires RayV for "best-in-class quality and content video delivery"


Rumors spread two months (see "Yahoo to Buy RayV?" - here) ago are now a reality.

RayV (see "RayV Exposes Turn Key Video Streaming to MNOs and ISPs" -  here) site announces that "We are excited to announce we are joining Yahoo's Cloud Platforms and Services Team! Our team began the RayV journey with the goal of building a revolutionary video distribution platform that would provide a

Through the Google lens: search trends July 4-10

Though the World Cup continued to draw search attention, this week it had some company. So in addition to Neymar, people were searching for Lebron James (who's taking his talents back to Cleveland) and Roger Federer (who lost at Wimbledon after a tough match). And following the announcement of this year's Emmy Award nominations, people turned to search to learn more about the snubs and surprises, including Laverne Cox, the first openly transgender nominee. Here’s a look at some more top trends in search this week, from the Quidditch World Cup to the world’s highest-valued potato salad:

A literary thrill
Author J.K. Rowling was in the news this week after she posted a new Harry Potter story to the fan site There were more than 200,000 searches for the site itself (an increase of more than 100 percent over 30 days), as people speculated about whether the new tale signified the coming of more stories about Harry, Hermione and the rest of Dumbledore’s Army. Meanwhile, people turned to search to find the new trailer for another, very different book-turned-movie: the twisty, turny Gone Girl. Searches for [gone girl trailer] have nearly doubled in the last month.

And baby makes three
The Internet experienced a collective shock on Wednesday when news emerged that beloved actor/meme Ryan Gosling and girlfriend [eva mendes] are expecting. (With apologies to Mila Kunis.) Hundreds of thousands of people turned to search in denial, determined to find out the truth. Oddly enough, the phrase [ryan gosling father] had already spiked in June, after a recent Father’s Day hoax that claimed the Gos had previously adopted a child. And there’s no doubt that many were fervently hoping this, too, was merely a rumor and that they still had a chance with His “Hey Girl”-ness. Disappointed fans will have to console themselves by (re)watching The Notebook, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and generated a few searches of its own. Oh, and congratulations to Ms. Mendes, too.

Summer snack time
Finally, during a week of Fourth of July barbecues, it’s only fitting that there was an unusual number of food-related subjects among this week’s trending topics, starting with a picnic table classic. Last week, a fellow named Zach Danger Brown set up a [kickstarter] project to raise funds for… potato salad. Literally. Despite some controversy over its merits, fundraising for Zach’s project is now $45,326—and counting—past the original $10 goal, and searches for potato salad were nearly as high on Tuesday as on Independence Day itself. But that’s nothing compared to another Kickstarter project focused on a summer staple. With more than $1.5 million raised so far, the [coolest cooler] promises not just to keep your drinks chilled (elementary, my dear Coleman), but also offers a bevy of bells and whistles worthy of “Pimp My Ride.” Not only have 50,000+ searches been done on the subject, but the campaign is well on its way to Kickstarter records. Finally, [joey chestnut] won hearts as well as the mustard winner’s belt at this year’s Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island when he proposed to his girlfriend at the event. More than 100,000 people searched to learn more about this champion of chowing down.

Searching for the right balance

In May, the Court of Justice of the European Union established a “right to be forgotten." Today, we published an op-ed by David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, in the U.K.'s The Guardian, Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, France's Le Figaro and Spain's El Pais, discussing the ruling and our response. We're republishing the op-ed in full below. -Ed.

When you search online, there’s an unwritten assumption that you’ll get an instant answer, as well as additional information if you need to dig deeper. This is all possible because of two decades worth of investment and innovation by many different companies. Today, however, search engines across Europe face a new challenge—one we’ve had just two months to get our heads around. That challenge is figuring out what information we must deliberately omit from our results, following a new ruling from the European Court of Justice.

In the past we’ve restricted the removals we make from search to a very short list. It includes information deemed illegal by a court, such as defamation, pirated content (once we’re notified by the rights holder), malware, personal information such as bank details, child sexual abuse imagery and other things prohibited by local law (like material that glorifies Nazism in Germany).

We’ve taken this approach because, as article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

But the European Court found that people have the right to ask for information to be removed from search results that include their names if it is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.” In deciding what to remove, search engines must also have regard to the public interest. These are, of course, very vague and subjective tests. The court also decided that search engines don’t qualify for a “journalistic exception.” This means that The Guardian could have an article on its website about an individual that’s perfectly legal, but we might not legally be able to show links to it in our results when you search for that person’s name. It’s a bit like saying the book can stay in the library, it just cannot be included in the library’s card catalogue.

It’s for these reasons that we disagree with the ruling. That said, we obviously respect the court’s authority and are doing our very best to comply quickly and responsibly. It’s a huge task as we’ve had over 70,000 take-down requests covering 250,000 webpages since May. So we now have a team of people individually reviewing each application, in most cases with limited information and almost no context.

The examples we’ve seen so far highlight the difficult value judgments search engines and European society now face: former politicians wanting posts removed that criticize their policies in office; serious, violent criminals asking for articles about their crimes to be deleted; bad reviews for professionals like architects and teachers; comments that people have written themselves (and now regret). In each case, someone wants the information hidden, while others might argue it should be out in the open.

When it comes to determining what’s in the the public interest, we’re taking into account a number of factors. These include whether: the information relates to a politician, celebrity, or other public figure; if the material comes from a reputable news source, and how recent it is; whether it involves political speech; questions of professional conduct that might be relevant to consumers; the involvement of criminal convictions that are not yet “spent”; and if the information is being published by a government. But these will always be difficult and debatable judgments.

We’re also doing our best to be transparent about removals: for example, we’re informing websites when one of their pages has been removed. But we cannot be specific about why we have removed the information because that could violate the individual’s privacy rights under the court's decision.

Of course, only two months in, our process is still very much a work in progress. It’s why we incorrectly removed links to some articles last week (they have since been reinstated). But the good news is that the ongoing, active debate that’s happening will inform the development of our principles, policies and practices—in particular about how to balance one person’s right to privacy with another’s right to know.

That’s why we've also set up an advisory council of experts, the final membership of which we're announcing today. These external experts from the worlds of academia, the media, data protection, civil society and the tech sector are serving as independent advisors to Google. The council will be asking for evidence and recommendations from different groups, and will hold public meetings this autumn across Europe to examine these issues more deeply. Its public report will include recommendations for particularly difficult removal requests (like criminal convictions); thoughts on the implications of the court’s decision for European Internet users, news publishers, search engines and others; and procedural steps that could improve accountability and transparency for websites and citizens.

The issues here at stake are important and difficult, but we’re committed to complying with the court’s decision. Indeed it's hard not to empathize with some of the requests we've seen—from the man who asked that we not show a news article saying he had been questioned in connection with a crime (he’s able to demonstrate that he was never charged) to the mother who requested that we remove news articles for her daughter’s name as she had been the victim of abuse. It’s a complex issue, with no easy answers. So a robust debate is both welcome and necessary, as, on this issue at least, no search engine has an instant or perfect answer.

Google Cloud Platform predicts the World Cup (and so can you!)

In 2010, we had Paul the Octopus. This year, there’s Google Cloud Platform. For the past couple weeks, we’ve been using Cloud Platform to make predictions for the World Cup—analyzing data, building a statistical model and using machine learning to predict outcomes of each match since the group round. So far, we’ve gotten 13 out of 14 games correct. But with the finals ahead this weekend, we’re not only ready to make our prediction, but we’re doing something a little extra for you data geeks out there. We’re giving you the keys to our prediction model so you can make your own model and run your own predictions.

A little background
Using data from Opta covering multiple seasons of professional soccer leagues as well as the group stage of the World Cup, we were able to examine how activity in previous games predicted performance in subsequent ones. We combined this modeling with a power ranking of relative team strength developed by one of our engineers, as well as a metric to stand in for hometeam advantage based on fan enthusiasm and the number of fans who had traveled to Brazil. We used a whole bunch of Google Cloud Platform products to build this model, including Google Cloud Dataflow to import all the data and Google BigQuery to analyze it. So far, we’ve only been wrong on one match (we underestimated Germany when they faced France in the quarterfinals).

Watch +Jordan Tigani and Felipe Hoffa from the BigQuery team talk about the project in this video from Google I/O, or look at our quarterfinals and semifinals blog posts to learn more.

A narrow win for Germany in the final
Drumroll please… Though we think it’s going to be close, Germany has the edge: our model gives them a 55 percent chance of defeating Argentina. Both teams have had excellent tournaments so far, but the model favors Germany for a number of factors. Thus far in the tournament, they’ve had better passing in the attacking half of their field, a higher number of shots (64 vs. 61) and a higher number of goals scored (17 vs. 8).

(Oh, and we think Brazil has a tiny advantage in the third place game. They may have had a disappointing defeat on Tuesday, but their numbers still look good.)

Channel your inner data nerd
Now it’s your turn. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide (warning: code ahead) showing how we built our model and used it for predictions. You could try different statistical techniques or adding in your own data, like player salaries or team travel distance. Even though we’ve been right 92.86 percent of the time, we’re sure there’s room for improvement.

The model works for other hypothetical situations, and it includes data going back to the 2006 World Cup, three years of English Barclays Premier League, two seasons of Spanish La Liga, and two seasons of U.S. MLS. So, you could try modeling how the USA would have done against Argentina if their game against Belgium had gone differently, or pit this year’s German team against the unstoppable Spanish team of 2010. The world (er, dataset) is your oyster.

Ready to kick things off? Read our post on the Cloud Platform blog to learn more (or, if you’re familiar with all the technology, you can jump right over to GitHub and start crunching numbers for yourself).

Sandvine's Q2 - Existing Customers Generated 90% of Revenues; $Bs in Sponsored Data

Some quotes from Sandvine's earning call for Q2 2014 (revenues of $29.7M - here):

Our 10% plus customers in the quarter contributed less than 30% of revenue, which is lower than any recent period
I am pretty pleased with our ability in Q2, to sell more to our existing customers. Generally, that ratio is .. 80% existing, 20% new. I'd say that number was closer to 90/10 in Q2, and without any

GoogleServe 2014: More opportunities to give back globally

In June, we celebrated the seventh annual GoogleServe, where employees come together and volunteer in our communities. This year, we doubled GoogleServe from one to two weeks so we could involve more volunteers and serve more community organizations. And it paid off—more than 12,000 Googlers from 70+ offices participated in 800+ projects, making this our biggest GoogleServe to date. Here’s a look at how we gave back to our communities this year:

Making tech more accessible
At our Mountain View headquarters and in Hyderabad, India, Googlers volunteered in three SocialCoding4Good events. Googlers participated in an Accessibility Code Sprint with Benetech's Global Literacy Program to improve Go Read, a free mobile app for people with visual impairments and reading disabilities. A team of Googlers also worked with Bookshare to write descriptions for nearly 1,400 images in five STEM textbooks, making charts, graphs, and diagrams more accessible to blind and visually impaired students.

Helping veterans build their resumes
Googlers helped 475 veterans build their resumes as part of our “Help a Hero Get Hired” workshops in 14 cities: Ann Arbor, Atlanta, Austin, Boulder, Cambridge, Chicago, Kansas City, Moncks Corner, Mountain View, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. This was our fourth year partnering with Student Veterans of America to help veterans take the next steps in their careers.

Volunteering at local schools and community centers
In Oakland, volunteers canvassed the community with Hack the Hood, a Bay Area Impact Challenge winner that trains youth from Oakland's low-income communities to build mobile-friendly websites. In San Francisco, Googlers visited the Presidio YMCA, where they repaired picnic tables, cleaned toys and organized closets, and worked with the YMCA’s marketing specialists to redesign their corporate partnerships materials. In Kampala, Uganda, Googlers painted a nursery at Sanyu Babies’ Home, helping brighten the living space of the Home’s young residents.

Building houses and preparing meals
Googlers in Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Valparaiso, Chile, partnered with Techo to build houses for low-income families, while volunteers in Singapore prepared, cooked, and distributed 3,000 meals at Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen. In Milan and Mountain View, Googlers packaged 16,500 meals with Stop Hunger Now, a nonprofit that ships food to schools, orphanages and clinics in more than 70 countries.

Protecting the environment
A group of Googlers in Auckland, New Zealand, cleared three kilometers of coastline at Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve, and Ann Arbor Googlers collected trash as they paddled down the Huron River with the Huron River Watershed Council. And volunteers in San Jose, Calif., mulched, weeded and cleared leaves in the beautiful gardens of the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy.

Click the image below for photos from this year’s GoogleServe.

GoogleServe is part of our larger commitment to giving and volunteering throughout the year; employees have 20 hours of work time a year to volunteer with approved charitable organizations. In 2013, Googlers volunteered 130,000 hours with 1,390 nonprofits around the world. If you want to learn how you can give back to your community, visit All for Good or VolunteerMatch.

Success for Application-Based Service Plans in Zimbabwe

According to Dan Deeth, Sandvine, post to the vendor's blog, Econet Wireless' offering of WhatsApp and Facebook bundles [see "Econet Wireless [Zimbabwe] Uses Sandvine for Application-based Charging" - here] is "continuing to out-maneuver and out-innovate competitors. These unlimited bundles allow subscribers to purchase unlimited usage of their favorite service for a day, week, or monthly for a

Google Ventures invests in Europe

Wander through the excellent Science Museum in London, and you’ll see inventions that transformed history. Like Puffing Billy, one of the world’s first steam locomotives; or Charles Babbage’s difference engine, a Victorian predecessor to the modern computer; or penicillin, the wonder drug that revolutionized the treatment of disease. These marvels from the past still influence our lives today, and are tangible examples of how fearless exploration and entrepreneurship can literally change the world.

To help support the next generation of European entrepreneurs, today Google Ventures is launching a new venture fund, with initial funding of $100 million. Our goal is simple: we want to invest in the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs, and help them bring those ideas to life.

When we launched Google Ventures in 2009, we set out to be a very different type of venture fund. Startups need more than just capital to succeed: they also benefit from engineering support, design expertise, and guidance with recruiting, marketing and product management. Five years later, we’re working with more than 250 portfolio companies, tackling challenges across a host of industries. For example, the team at Flatiron Health is improving the way doctors and patients approach cancer care, SynapDx is developing a blood test for the early detection of Autism in children, and Clean Power Finance is making solar energy affordable for homeowners.

We believe Europe’s startup scene has enormous potential. We’ve seen compelling new companies emerge from places like London, Paris, Berlin, the Nordic region and beyond—SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell and many others.

We can’t predict the kinds of inventions the Science Museum might showcase 10+ years from now, but we do know European startups will be essential to this future, and we can’t wait to see what they create.

The I-90 closure survival guide

By Mike Allende

By now, hopefully you’ve heard that westbound Interstate 90 will be reduced to one lane at Bellevue Way Southeast from 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 18 until 5 a.m. Friday, July 25. That’s 24-hours-a-day for a week, and yes, it’s going to be messy.

During that time, contractor crews are going to be replacing two huge, old expansion joints embedded deep in the roadway near Mercer Island. They’re 33-years-old and despite repairs over the years, they are at the end of their useful life.

We don’t make decisions to do these kind of closures lightly, and a lot of thought and discussion went into it. There’s never a good time to close lanes on major highways. In the end, doing a few weekend closures like we did for our I-5 expansion joint replacement just wouldn’t work this time.

Construction details
These expansion joints are massive, much bigger than those on I-5. Each of the 33-year-old joints are 92-feet long and weigh almost 29 tons. They’re embedded into 11-inch-thick concrete. Chipping out the concrete, replacing the joints, pouring new concrete and letting that concrete cure for a minimum of 12 hours would take longer than a typical weekend-long closure allows. Once in place, between 24 – 30 hours of welding is needed to connect both sides of the new joints.

Keeping traffic moving
No two-ways about this, we’re going to need your help. Knowing what to expect and staying informed is something everyone can do. For an idea of what this closure will look like, we put together this animation showing what is closed and how cars will move through the closure.

As the animation shows, besides the three lanes of I-90, we’ll also have some ramp closures. Take a look and get an idea of how to move through the closure if you end up having to go that way.

Stage 1

Stage 2
If you don’t plan ahead, your typical commute could last an hour or more. The best advice is to avoid using westbound I-90 during the closure. With a big Sounders match and the Mariners in town, along with work and other trips, we know that’s not easy. Taking an alternate route will help, but still add extra time to your trip because other routes will be affected with folks doing the same thing. If you can telework, or even take a vacation, this would be the week to do it.

When we had two lanes closed on westbound I-90 floating bridge in July 2009, we saw up to 7-mile backups, but we had the express lanes to help. On this closure we do not. Congestion could be much worse this time around.

To keep delays from really getting horrible, we need at least 60 percent of drivers to adjust their plans. We recognize that’s a lot to ask, but every person who can change their plans helps.

The graph below shows that normal peak travel times on westbound I-90 in the closure area are up to 15 minutes in the morning, up to 30 in the afternoon. If we get a 60 percent diversion during the closure, we still expect morning travel times to be 45 minutes to 1 hour, and a little longer in the afternoon. So if there's any way for to you avoid the area that week, do it.

We wouldn’t do this closure if we didn’t have to but it’s vital to maintaining our infrastructure and avoiding emergency closures that would lead to having to replace the expansion joints anyway.

Tolls on SR 520
Folks have asked us about tolls on SR 520 during construction on I-90. SR 520 is just one route from the Eastside to Seattle. The Transportation Commission sets toll rates and exemptions and there are none for this project or other construction closures. Drivers can set up a short-term account and can save $.50 on the pay-by-mail toll rate.

Aging infrastructure
This is a safety and mobility issue. We’ve had several temporary fixes over the years, and these expansion joints simply need to be replaced before they break.  If we do nothing, this could happen during a busy commute and tie up traffic for a long time. Vehicles could be damaged and lanes of traffic closed for an indefinite amount of time. As you can imagine, you can’t just go to the store to buy a replacement expansion joint. These are custom made for the bridge, and it takes between six to nine months to fabricate.

New expansion joints to be installed
It’s not going to be easy, but hopefully with some planning and adjustments, many of you may be able to avoid the congestion that inevitably happens with a major closure like this. With many of our roads being 30 to 60 years old, this is a step we need to take to ensure they can meet the demands of day to day traffic.

Learn more about the I-90 closure on the project website.

Meet the five Giving through Glass winners

We believe technology can help nonprofits make a difference more easily, and connect people to the causes they care about. It's with this in mind that we launched Giving through Glass—a contest for U.S. nonprofits to share ideas for how Google Glass can support the impact they're having every day.

Today, we’re announcing the five winners: 3000 Miles to a Cure, Classroom Champions, The Hearing and Speech Agency, Mark Morris Dance Group and Women's Audio Mission. The winners were selected from more than 1,300 proposals, and each will take home a pair of Glass, a $25,000 grant, a trip to Google for training, and access to Glass developers who can help make their projects a reality.

Here’s what our winners are planning to do with Glass:

Classroom Champions will give students in high-needs schools a look through the eyes of Paralympic athletes as they train and compete, helping kids build empathy and learn to see ability where others too often see only disability. Bay Area-based Women’s Audio Mission will give instructors Glass to use in its music and media-based Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math training program for women and girls, creating a more immersive lab experience for students online and in person.

U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalist Josh Sweeney visits a Waller, Texas school 
as part of a Classroom Champions program

Two programs focus on using Glass in therapeutic settings. The Hearing and Speech Agency will use Glass to pilot new ways to improve communication access for people who have speech language challenges, hearing loss and autism—and support those who teach and care for them. And the Mark Morris Dance Group will create a Glass app that will build on their award-winning Dance for PD® initiative to help people with Parkinson’s disease remember and trigger body movements in their daily lives.

Finally, Glass will head across the U.S. by bicycle to help raise money and increase awareness for brain cancer research. For the first time, supporters of participants in the 3000 Miles to a Cure Race Across America will be able to see and experience it through a racer’s eyes and the racer will be alerted to every message of encouragement and donation supporters send.

Developers are already working with these inspiring groups, and next week these five nonprofits will descend on Google Glass' Base Camp in San Francisco for training, and to connect with their Google mentors. Stay tuned for updates on how the projects unfold!