Posted by Andre Tauladan on Sunday, November 23, 2014
It used to be that heading out to stores on Black Friday -- one of the biggest holiday shopping days of the season -- was the best way to find great deals. Now, we may be carrying the best tool for finding deals in our pockets.
This coming weekend, expect to see many of your fellow shoppers checking for deals on their smartphones while braving the lines and crowds at the mall. Nearly 50% of 25-34 year-olds use their phone to shop online while standing in line at a store. And because we want to help you research products more easily this holiday weekend, we’re rolling out new mobile features to Google Shopping.
Starting this week, when you search for a specific product on your smartphone or tablet you’ll see more detailed information about the product and where to buy it, like which stores have it available and product reviews from customers. You’ll also be able to rotate selected products on Google Shopping in 360 degrees to see them in more detail.
Getting a head start on Black Friday
Shoppers are already prepping for Black Friday shopping by researching purchases and deals online. We found that 27% of shoppers have already begun hunting for Black Friday deals online. Here are the top questions people are asking about Black Friday on Google Search. For more trends, visit our Shopping blog.
- what time do stores open on black friday
- what time does black friday start
- when does black friday end
- what to buy on black friday
Let Google Shopping and your smartphone help you check off what’s on that shopping list of yours and go enjoy everything else about the “most wonderful time of the year.”
Posted by Jennifer Liu, Product Manager, Google Shopping
Devastating snowstorms, bizarre interviews and addictive podcasts? It was an unusual week on the search charts this time around.
A frosty reception
If you looked on Maps for Buffalo, you wouldn’t find it. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the city is buried underneath six feet of snow… literally. While people across the country are just getting ready for Turkey Day, Buffalonians are dealing with a snowstorm that’s set to break several records and may keep them trapped in their houses for a while–white Thanksgiving, anyone?
In the court of public opinion
People were searching for more information about famed comedian Bill Cosby this week after sexual abuse allegations made headlines.
And in the political world, Democrats in the Senate blocked the Keystone XL proposal, a hotly contested initiative to build an oil pipeline from Canada to Nebraska. While searchers were wondering how this bill would affect gas prices, the door is closed on the issue at the moment.
A toymaker with a mission decided it was makeover time for Barbie, the doll everyone loves to hate. Nickolay Lamm created “normal Barbie,” a doll that everyone could relate to -- less “material girl” and more “girl next door”—non-size zero waist included. Reflecting the body of the average 19-year old woman, both parents and kids have taken a liking to the fact that toy actually...looks like a real person (she looks like my sister!) Complete with freckles and acne sticker expansion packs, we think Lamm’s got the awkward teenage years down pat.
Speaking of teenagers: 16-year-old and 14-year-old celebrity siblings Jaden and Willow Smith, heirs to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s throne, were in the spotlight this week after giving what some might describe as a pretty spacey interview to the New York Times’ T Magazine. The wide-ranging piece covered their thoughts on topics like Prana energy (what?), the duality of the mind (how??) and goals of imprinting yourself on everything (why???) — and baffled social media and searchers alike. Time Magazine got in on the fun and released a poem generator made from the interview’s most interesting quotes. Here’s our Jaden and Willow Smith haiku (spoiler: it doesn’t make any sense).
Driver’s ed? What’s up?
Colonel Mustard in the library
There’s always time for a tale of murder and mystery. This week the Internet played the role of detective as people were curious to learn more about NPR’s new serial Podcast which explores a 15-year-old real life homicide case. The series is insanely popular, hitting the 5 million downloads and streams mark more quickly than any other podcast before it, but not without its fair share of controversy. The victim’s family members have expressed concern about the sensationalization of the case.
Tip of the week
Bored on the bus or subway? Just say “OK Google, flip a coin.” What do yo have to lose?
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [the opposite of apple] and [cellulite stickers].
Posted by Andre Tauladan in maps and earth on Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Thanksgiving means gearing up for a turkey feast, Thanksgiving Day parades, local Turkey Trots and annual football showdowns. It also means braving some of the worst holiday traffic conditions of the year.
You’ve got enough on your plate this Thanksgiving without having to worry about traffic, too. So, Google Maps looked at Thanksgiving traffic conditions over the last two years for 21 cities across the U.S.1 to find the most useful information to make your holiday trip a little easier.
Whether you’re traveling near or far, Google Maps’ traffic tips will help you navigate the roads like a pro, so you’ll be feasting on Turkey Day delights with friends and family in no time. Here are seven tips in pictures to guide you through the holiday:
1. Avoid traveling on Wednesday:
2. But if you must leave on Wednesday:
3. Good news for local travelers—Thanksgiving Day traffic is a breeze:
4. Travel back home on Sunday, not Saturday:
5. Expect to spend more time in traffic than average if you live in these three cities: Philadelphia, Austin and Washington, D.C. saw the three biggest increases in traffic during Thanksgiving week.
6. Get these three items ahead of time: Last-minute runs to the corner store can be unavoidable as you prep for the big day, but not all last minute trips are created equal.
7. Leave extra time for Christmas shopping:
real-time traffic info provided by Google Maps on Android or iOS, you’ll be spending less time in traffic and more time with the people you care about this Thanksgiving. Now that’s something to be thankful for!
Posted by Aaron Nelson, Google Maps Product Manager
1 Google Maps looked at 21 cities across the U.S. from the Monday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Thanksgiving for both 2012 & 2013: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, D.C.
By Ann Briggs
They’re big, beautiful and majestic, but when they wander onto high-speed highways the results can be deadly; we’re talking about elk. Weighing in at more than 500 to 700 pounds, elk pose a serious safety risk for drivers and passengers in vehicle-wildlife collisions.
As part of an ongoing project, we’ve been studying wildlife crossings under Interstate 90 since 2010 in the North Bend area, where the number of elk-vehicle collisions has been increasing. On average, 16 elk-vehicle collisions have been recorded in this area each year over the past five years. In addition to tracking a growing urban elk herd, during this research we learned that one of two wildlife crossings in this area had the highest black bear use documented for any highway crossing structure in North America.
We’re developing plans to install an 8-foot-high fence along I-90 in the North Bend area. While a fence is an effective way to prevent collisions, it also blocks normal wildlife migration and may interfere with their access to habitats and food needed for survival. We use motion-triggered cameras at bridges and culverts to learn what species use these safe passages to cross under the interstate and how frequently. The information is vital to developing an effective project design that allows for safe wildlife crossings and addresses fencing needs.
All was well until Nov. 10, when we discovered that nine cameras in three locations had been stolen. The value of the stolen cameras, along with their protective steel boxes, media cards, rechargeable batteries and shielded padlocks, is estimated at $7,000. This is one of the biggest losses the program has experienced. Unfortunately, it’s brought our monitoring of structures in the North Bend area to an end; we’ve taken down all remaining cameras to prevent further loss to taxpayers.
|A person of interest|
In the meanwhile, we’ll use the data we’ve gathered so far to move this important safety project forward. The fencing project is currently unfunded.
Taylor, Kim, Kobe—this trio of familiar faces was all over search this week.
Oh my God, look at that face
She may not have broken the Internet, but Kim Kardashian certainly got our collective attention this week with her saucy Paper magazine cover shoot showing off her famous derriere. Millions of searches, memes and (unsuccessful) imitators were not far, um, behind. Even Kim, however, had some company in the trending ranks from Taylor Swift, who has come close to breaking the Internet a few times herself. This week, Swift released a new video (and app) for her song “Blank Space,” putting a new spin on the “boy-crazy” meme and garnering more than 25 million YouTube views—that’s more than 10 times as many as last week’s viral video sensation “Too Many Cooks.”
Ten years after leaving Earth, on Wednesday the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission achieved history. It successfully landed its Philae probe on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and began sending pictures of the surface back to scientists. People turned to search to learn more, including “what is next for the probe?” It’s a good question, since the probe bounced twice before settling into a position about 1km off its target, and may not be able to get enough battery life from its solar panels to continue operating as intended.
And all eyes were on the New York skyline this week—or at least on 1 World Trade Center, where a pair of window washers were trapped 69 stories high on the side of the building for over an hour on Wednesday before being rescued. The 1,776-foot tall skyscraper had just opened for business last week, more than a decade after the September 11 attacks.
Kobe Bryant set a new record on Tuesday night, but he might wish he hadn’t. The shooting guard missed his 13,418th career field goal in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, earning him the dubious honor of the most missed field goals in the NBA. Of course, Bryant also has the fourth-most points in league history—and five championship rings. So, he’s probably doing OK.
Tip of the week
For those times you’ve gotten an email about something (say, “dinner with Shari” or “brunch with Aaron”) but forgotten to follow up, Google can help. Keep an eye on your Google app, which can now catch buried plans in your Gmail, prompt you to add them to your calendar, and remind you to stay in touch.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [two eagles flying together/being friends] and [birdman tracking shot]
by Mike Allende,
The recent run of extra-challenging slow morning commutes – especially southbound out of Everett – has made travel times a big point of discussion. With several commutes topping the 100-minute mark – topped by a 140-minute time in late September – our travel times page has been getting a workout.
|Travel times posted on our website let people know what their|
commute looks like before they leave their home.
They update every five minutes.
Instead, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at just how we compute those travel times. We know people rely on them to plan their trips, and we use technology and data to make them as accurate as we can. It’s important for us to provide useful data to the public. So how does it work? Glad you asked.
|Travel times listed on highway message boards give commuters|
an idea of how good (or bad) their commute ahead is.
But we don’t just rely on our loops. From time to time, we also have people drive the various routes at different times of the day to calculate travel times. We’ve found that the results are usually close to what our posted travel times are, which gives people a good idea of about how long it will take them.
Each month, we look at data from the previous three months to come up with the average travel time. If you watch our travel time page closely, you’ll notice that the average travel time changes throughout the day. That’s because we come up with averages based on time and day of the week, so the average time for the drive from Everett to Seattle at 8:15 a.m. on a Tuesday may be different than the average time for the same route at 7:35 a.m. on a Thursday.
|Loop sensors embedded in the pavement of highways measure|
the speed of each vehicle going over them, which are then
converted to travel times.
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Tuesday, November 11, 2014
My father was a Tuskegee Airman, one of the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. military. He got his wings in 1944 and stayed in the Army for 30 years. When I think of him—and all the other veterans I grew up knowing—I’m reminded of the unique characteristics they shared: their innate courage, sense of purpose, and their ability to lead under pressure. Most remarkable to me, though, is their belief in the power of sacrificing and fighting for something bigger than yourself.
For everyone who has served our country, I join 1,000+ members of the Google Veterans Network in celebrating Veterans Day today. And I am incredibly proud of what Google has done to honor veterans, including two initiatives new this year.
Veterans make great Googlers
We hire leaders, team builders and problem solvers and many veterans are already doing amazing things at the company. But we also know that not all veterans have the same skills and interests; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and it can be hard to understand how you might fit into a corporate environment. So we’ve created a new Veterans Careers website to help servicemembers and veterans find the right role to apply for at Google. The site breaks down some of the ways our own veterans are succeeding in both technical and general roles. In their own words, they explain how their skills translated and how they are continuing to serve through their work at Google.
And for those who have other career goals in mind, we’ve included a few resources—like mentoring programs and virtual classes—to help veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.
Sharing veterans’ stories
In addition to making Google a great place to work for veterans, we want to use our technology to build greater awareness and understanding of their achievements and sacrifices. Last Friday, the 9/11 Memorial opened a new exhibit that explores the immediate and heroic actions of U.S. servicemembers, alongside those of the emergency workers who responded on and after September 11, 2001. “The Call to Serve,” an interactive installation powered by Google Tour Builder, follows the stories of nine veterans and military personnel to honor their service and that of all who followed in their footsteps. You can visit the exhibit in person at the 9/11 Museum during Veterans Week or online at 911memorial.org/calltoserve.
This effort also builds on other historical preservation projects we announced earlier this year, including bringing Arlington National Cemetery, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and The Eternal Flame, to Street View; and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the landings at Normandy in partnership with museums and archives in the U.S., U.K. and France.
We’re proud to pay tribute to veterans’ service and and to support them in their careers. Veterans have unique skills and experience, and arrive with a devotion to teamwork that goes a long way around here. They’re among our greatest assets, both as a company and as a nation. And after all they’ve given us, we need to give them every opportunity to succeed.
Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer; Founding Executive Sponsor, Google Veterans Network
Cross-posted on the Google for Education blog
Students and schools have done some amazing things with Chromebooks since we first launched in 2011. At the Urban Promise Academy in Oakland, Calif., students are using the Scratch program to create their own video games on Chromebooks. In Chesterfield County, Virginia, students get access to feedback and support from teachers after school hours using their Chromebooks. And in Fairfield County, South Carolina, schools saw double-digit gains on their state performance tests after they started to offer Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education and other technologies to their students, who often don’t have Internet access at home.
Schools tell us that Chromebooks fill three big needs: they’re easy for students and teachers to use, they’re easy to share, and they’re easy to manage. That’s critical for schools that often want to give their students the best technology, but don’t have a large IT department to support it. And it’s part of what has made Chromebooks such a hit in schools. In fact, according to IDC’s latest report on tablets and laptops in K-12 education, Chromebooks are the best-selling device in the U.S. this year. And they’re continuing to grow in popularity—in districts like Montgomery County, MD (more than 50,000 devices), Charlotte-Mecklenberg, NC (32,000 devices) and Cherry Creek, CO (26,000 devices), who have all begun using Chromebooks in 2014.
Beyond the U.S., countries are looking at how they can use technology in the classroom on a large scale—like in Malaysia, where the entire national school system is using Chromebooks. This week, we’re hosting the Global Education Symposium, a gathering of education ministers from 18 countries working to implement technology that will help them meet their country’s educational agenda. We’ll hear from education leaders who are exploring new educational models, and look at how innovative local schools are using technology to help teachers and students excel.
It’s been thrilling to see how Chromebooks—alongside Android tablets, Google Play for Education, Classroom and Google Apps for Education, which is now used by 40 million students and teachers around the world—can help students meet their learning goals. We can’t wait to see what’s ahead as more students around the world gain access to new learning opportunities through technology.
Posted by Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Chromebooks for Education
Posted by Andre Tauladan
Today, Google is launching a public giving campaign to fight Ebola. For every dollar you give, Google will donate two dollars. In addition, we’re donating $10 million right away to support nonprofits such as InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and U.S. Fund for UNICEF. These organizations are doing remarkable work in very difficult circumstances to help contain this outbreak, and we hope our contribution will help them have an even greater impact.
Separately, our family foundation will also be giving $15 million. Our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been touched by this tragedy.
Posted by Andre Tauladan in doodles on Saturday, November 8, 2014
I was seven years old when thousands of East German signature cars arrived in my hometown of Hamburg and filled the air with odd-smelling blue smoke. I saw strangers hugging each other, tears in their eyes, their voices tired from singing. I was too young to understand it all, but I had a very strong sense that life was different now--and that different was better.
A quarter-century later, it is our obligation to tell this story to all those who couldn't be there, who could not feel the spark of the peaceful revolution and, more importantly, who are fortunate enough not to know the feeling of an incarcerated, divided existence, trapped behind concrete walls. It is a story that demands to be told today, and for generations to come.
I’m excited to have been part of making this doodle commemorating such a pivotal moment in history — to learn more about the making-of, check out the doodle team’s post here. We should all take the time to celebrate 25 years of unity.
Posted by Nils Frahm, composer
Posted by Andre Tauladan on Friday, November 7, 2014
“Who won Pennsylvania?” “Who’s that guy?” “He’s getting married?” These are just a few of the questions that wracked people’s brains on search this week. Read on to find out what everybody wanted to know.
The call of duty
As Americans went to the polls this past Tuesday, the Internet was abuzz with politics—left and right. Searchers turned to the web for the election night play-by-play, trying to get the latest figures on who won hotly contested states like Florida and Colorado. The results? A nearly full sweep by Republicans as they won control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House.
Even though Americans remain politically divided, they can still rally together to support our troops. As Veteran’s Day approaches, peopled searched for ways they could celebrate the holiday and show support for those who served in the armed forces. (Hint: our homepage loves soldiers too!)
I'm a little bit country
The Country Music Awards had everyone talking this week. Nashville power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert took home five awards between them, and Lambert scored her first trophy for “Single of the Year” for her song "Automatic." And first-time winner Luke Bryan landed the night’s top honor for “Entertainer of the Year”—not a bad way to start.
One night, a boy named Alex went to sleep. The next morning he woke up famous...and we’re talking screaming-tween-girls, One Direction-famous. Was this a dream come true or a scene from a bizarre Kafka novel? Well, with more than a million tweets, #AlexfromTarget has this photo and the Internet to thank for his newly acquired stardom. As the story goes, an admirer watched Alex bag her groceries, fell under the spell of his boyish good looks and just had to share a photo with her 14,000 followers. The photo spread like a wildfire and next thing you know our red- and khaki-clad Alex is trading jokes with Ellen Degeneres on her show. We’re eagerly awaiting Alex’s entrance to the teeny bopper hall of fame.
And the fangirl news just keeps coming. People this week went bananas as actor and heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement to little-known theater director Sophie Hunter. Searchers were asking questions like “Who is this girl?” and “Why not me?” Sorry, friends, but this mystery has been solved.
This one’s for the bold
It was a week for the bold and the brave as the Internet reacted to inspiring news stories. Brittany Maynard, a young woman diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, ended her life on November 1. After doctors told her she only had six months to live, Maynard and her family moved to Oregon in order to have access to the state’s Death with Dignity Act. Her decision garnered national media attention and stirred the debate over the “right to die.”
And American acrobat and tight-rope specialist Nik Wallenda made headlines as he performed a high-wire walk across the Chicago skyline. Wallenda walked between three skyscrapers without a harness or safety net and conducted one of the walks blindfolded—and it was all broadcast live. His stunt left viewers in shock and minted Wallenda two new world records.
Tip of the week
Feeling a bit homesick? Whenever you’re in need for a little motherly love, just tell the Google app to “Call Mom” (you set who that is). Except for mom’s home cooking, it’s almost like you’re there.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [where is the nearest target] and [rock the vote].
Earlier this week, dozens of Vancouver-area high school students built and tested model bridges at the Balsa Wood Bridge Competition— but down the road, they just might be working on the real deal.
We played host to the second annual event at the Southwest Region headquarters building Thursday, Nov. 6. Students came equipped with model bridges they crafted out of only two items – wood and glue! In all, 14, two-person teams from Evergreen, Heritage, Union and Mountain View high schools participated in the event. Each team did research on the type of bridge they wanted to build and then documented their findings in workbooks.
Both the bridge and workbook were judged as part of the competition. Bridge models in the competition were judged on structural integrity. Each model was tested by adding sand to buckets attached to the bridge to determine how much weight it could support before breaking. Some of the bridges practically exploded, while others simply broke at the joint supporting the weight. Engineers and our staff judged the competition.
So, who won? Teams from Union High School swept the structural bridge-design competition, winning the top three spots. A team from Evergreen High School won top prize for the workbook competition, followed by Union and Heritage in second and third, respectively.
We are working with the Evergreen School District to host the event at our regional headquarters again next year.
Posted by Andre Tauladan in "winter driving" "Winter Driving Supply Checklist" snow ice "winter weather" winter on Wednesday, November 5, 2014
By Barbara LaBoe
Have you ever dug your car out of 4-foot-tall snowbank? Watched the world whirl by as you spun out of control down an icy freeway? Or prayed your car would stop skidding before it slammed into that moose up ahead?
I have experienced all of the above – as both a driver and a passenger. They make for interesting stories now, but only because I had the right supplies to keep me safe and warm until help arrived.
After years in Alaska and Montana, my car is packed with blankets, food, a first aid kit and other winter supplies. But many of my friends – and even some coworkers who will remain nameless – can’t say the same. I’m always amazed when someone tells me they don’t have jumper cables or an ice scraper in their trunk. It seems as risky as starting out on a long trip without enough gas to get there.
I know it’s easy to procrastinate stocking your vehicle for winter weather. We’re all busy, and no one wants to think a crash or weather delay will happen to them. But even if you’re the safest driver in the world, the driver next to you can still cause a chain reaction crash and the road ahead can still be blocked by snow.
I can’t inspect each of your cars, as I’ve done with some friends, but I can share this Winter Driving Supply Checklist to make winter driving prep easier. Take it with you shopping to ensure you get everything you need. Then use it as a packing guide for your vehicle. (Storing winter items in a plastic bin helps control clutter and also makes them easy to find in an emergency).
Printable version of Winter Driving Supply Checklist (pdf 176 kb)
Posted by Andre Tauladan in politics on Monday, November 3, 2014
Tomorrow is Election Day in the U.S.—are you ready to vote?
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, more and more voters turn to Google to get the information they need in order to have a say on the issues they care about. And in the days before Election Day 2012, we saw a huge spike in search traffic around terms related to voting and how to vote. To make it easier for citizens to access information to make a well-informed decision and cast their ballots on Election Day, we’ve built a number of tools to help. From Governor and Senate to City Council and local referenda, and from what materials you need to bring to vote to making sure you know who is on your ballot, Google has you covered.
Make sure you know how and where to vote—and who’s on your ballot!
For the first time ever, simple searches for [how do i vote], [where to vote], [what identification do i need to vote] and [who is on my ballot] will give you all the information you need—tailored by state—to find your polling location, confirm what identification you need to bring, and see who and what is going to be on your ballot on November 4. If you use Google Now, you can also get reminders on where to vote on Election Day.
Keep your fingers on the political pulse—and find out who won
People turn to search to find last-minute information not only about where to vote, but also about the candidates. To find out what your fellow voters are interested in, visit Google.com/+GooglePolitics to see data from Google Trends on what Americans are searching in the final hours of the election.
YouTube.com/Elections. While you’re there, check out this special video from some of YouTube’s top creators on the importance of heading to the polls.
Be informed, be prepared, and be ready to vote tomorrow!
Posted by Kate Sokolov, Program Manager, Google Politics & Elections
[Guest Post] Standardizing Service Chaining Models for Next-generation Service Provider Architectures
By Nicolas Bouthors*, Distinguished Technologist, Qosmos
With intense competition in the communications industry, service providers are looking for ways to offer new services faster and more cost-effectively. Dynamic service chaining allows you to do just that. With application-aware service chaining, you can quickly and efficiently create and deliver new, composite services by routing network
Do you remember this move by AT&T, back in 2011 - "AT&T to Throttle Top 5% of Unlimited Subscribers" - here?
Here comes the consumer response.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it has "..filed a federal court complaint against AT&T Mobility, LLC, charging that the company has misled millions of its smartphone customers by charging them for “unlimited” data plans while
After years of failing to established a consumer oriented Net Neutrality, the FCC has a new scheme, recognizing that an Internet connection has two, non-equal, sides - the consumer and the content provider.
Edward Wtatt reports to the New York Times that "The proposal is part of a hybrid solution that has gained favor among theF.C.C. staff over the last two months. Like other possible