Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
Through the Google lens: Search trends February 20-26
February 27, 2015
If you’re the kind of person who loves the Internet when it’s at its most Internet-y, you had a good week. From llamas to retro cartoons to that darn dress, here’s a look at the past week in search:
Is it white and gold? Or blue and black? That’s the question that had everyone searching, tweeting and generally freaking out Thursday after a Tumblr user posted a photo of a dress that seemed to appear different colors to different people. Debate over the true color of the dress raged for hours, while others tried to
solve the mystery
of its divisiveness. All we know is, there were more than two million searches for [
white and gold dress
] yesterday—more than for [blue and black dress]—proving once and for all that it’s white and gold… right?
Before #thedress, though, there were the
. In Phoenix, Ariz., yesterday, two llamas got loose from their handlers and took off on a trot through neighborhood streets, yards and sidewalks. Searchers were captivated by the “llama drama,” which ended when police (l)lassoed the animals after a low-speed chase.
Obama says (K)nope
and a lot of tissues, we said farewell to NBC’s
Parks and Recreation
on Tuesday after a seven-year run. Searchers turned to the web to revisit favorite characters, quotes and episodes from the show that brought us “
Treat Yo’ Self
” and the
Cones of Dunshire
, while (wackily) celebrating the value of hard work, friendship and public service.
Moving from the small-town politics of Pawnee to the big-time in D.C., this week President Obama issued his third-ever Presidential veto, rejecting a bill that would have approved the Keystone XL Pipeline project. People turned to the web to learn more about Presidential veto power throughout history and the
itself. What would Leslie and Ron make of all this, we wonder?
Woo-oo! Nineties kids are rejoicing following news that the Disney cartoon
is getting a reboot. Searches for the show spiked 8x the day after the announcement. Sounds like a lot of you are ready for some tales of derring-do in 2017.
had a bit of a shaky week, after she fell backwards down a flight of stairs during her first performance at the Brit Awards in 20 years. But the Queen of Pop recovered quickly to finish her song “Living for Love.” She’s still an icon for a reason.
Tip of the week
This will be illuminating: if you have an Android device running Lollipop, you can flip the on/off switch on your phone’s flashlight just by saying “Ok Google, turn on my flashlight.” You can do the same trick to turn on or off WiFi or Bluetooth.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched for [lil sebastian] and [duck tales real ducks]
Rethinking office space
February 27, 2015
Not the sexiest title for a blog post, I know. But as we’ve inhabited a variety of workplaces—including a garage in Menlo Park, a farmhouse in Denmark and an entire New York city block—we’ve learned something about what makes an office space great. And we’re excited to put that into practice, starting here at our home in Mountain View.
Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites—places where we already have offices but hope to significantly increase our square footage—to the Mountain View City Council. It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at
at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working.
A rendering of our proposed new campus.
See more images on Google+
The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.
Of course, this project is about much more than just office space; it’s about doing more with the local community as well. So we’re adding lots of bike paths and retail opportunities, like restaurants, for local businesses. We also hope to bring new life to the unique local environment, from enhancing burrowing owl habitats to widening creek beds. And we’re committed to do everything we can to save energy—our recent agreement to
offset our energy consumption in North Bayshore with renewable energy
includes the development of this proposal.
We chose Mountain View for our headquarters 15 years ago because we love the beauty of the bay, the close proximity to great universities, the family-friendly environment and the chance to work in a city at the heart of Silicon Valley. Today, we want to create office spaces that don’t just provide a great home for Google, but which also work for the city that has given us so much.
We look forward to working with our neighbors at the City Council on this proposal—and the future of Mountain View’s North Bayshore.
Posted by David Radcliffe, Vice President, Real Estate
Get away with Google Flights
February 25, 2015
While winds howl, frost bites and snow falls, people dream of getting away from it all. Every year around this time, we see an uptick in searches for spring and summer travel from people who have had it up to here with winter. And in the middle of one of the coldest, snowiest, iciest winters on record in the U.S., you better believe people are gearing up to grab their suntan lotion and their carry-ons, and hop on a plane. Enter
, which makes it easy to plan the trip that’s right for you. Here are a few tips to help you book this year’s dream vacation.
Flexibility is key when finding great deals
There’s a travel myth that you can always find the best deals on Tuesday. But actually, you can find good deals any day of the week—especially if you’re flexible with your travel dates. Though it’s sometimes hard to pull the trigger because you’re afraid the price will drop tomorrow (or next Tuesday, maybe?), our experience shows it’s usually best to book right away.
Regardless of which day you sit down to plan your trip, you can use the
in Google Flights to scroll through months and see the lowest fare highlighted for each day. If you’re planning even further out, use the lowest fares graph beneath the calendar to see how prices may fluctuate based on the season, holidays or other events. You can also set preferences (such as direct flights only) and our calendar will adjust to show you just those flights and fares that fit the bill. Finally, if you can save more by using a nearby airport or flying on a different day, we’ll show you a tip at the top of your results.
Not sure about your destination? No problem
Sometimes, you know exactly where your destination needs to be—say, when you’re taking a business trip, or headed to a wedding or family reunion. But there are times when all you know is that you want to go somewhere. Maybe you want to go somewhere with a beach, but don’t care if it’s in Greece or the Caribbean. Or you want to visit Southeast Asia, but aren’t sure which countries to visit.
Our research shows
more than half of searchers
don’t know where they’re going to travel when they sit down to plan. With Google Flights, you can search for regions or whole countries, like “
Flights to Europe
” and “
Flights to Mexico
." Or, expand the map to scan the entire world and see accurate prices for all the different cities you can fly to, along with filters for your flight preferences. If you’re in a particularly adventurous—or lazy—mood, select the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on the map and we’ll suggest ideas for where to go based on popular destinations and your past search history.
But… cheaper isn’t always better
We all love a good deal, but when it comes to choosing flights, cheaper doesn’t always win—and no wonder, when sometimes that means two connections instead of none. On Google Flights, the vast majority of people choose one of the
—considered to be flights that are the best combination of price and convenience. Try it out next time you’re looking for something that fits your schedule, not just your budget.
So once you’ve warmed your hands on that cup of hot cocoa, put them to work on your keyboard or phone. Google Flights is ready to find the best destinations, dates, fares and flights for you to get away from it all.
Posted by Eric Zimmerman, Product Manager, Google Flights (dreaming of warmth from my Boston ice prison)
Expanding opportunities through computer science education
February 23, 2015
One student celebrated
Martin Luther King Day
. Another created a
with a nod to a
princess. A third invited a
cold polar bear
in for holiday cheer. All these students are participants in
Google CS First
, a program that teaches 9- to 14-year-olds how to use computer science (CS) to express themselves and their interests. In the process, they get a window into the world of coding and learn skills that may be useful to them in the future.
We launched CS First back in 2013, and since then more than 19,000 students have participated at one of 1,300+ CS First clubs around the country, most run by teachers, parents and volunteers. All our
CS First materials
are free and available online, and the curriculum is designed for everyone to work at their own pace, meaning it’s accessible even to people who are new to technology. It’s also designed to tap into students’ existing interests, showing them how CS can integrate with the rest of their lives. Inspired by fashion, art, music, politics and more, students have used code to build videos, games and stories on topics big and small, from how they met their best friends to solving global hunger.
CS First participants at Sedgefield Middle School in Goose Creek, SC look over a friend’s shoulder at her project
Now, we’re partnering with
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Corporation for National and Community Service
to bring CS First to even more students across the country. A new group of 20 AmeriCorps VISTA members will spend a year helping local Boys & Girls Clubs incorporate CS First and other educational programs into their slate of activities, giving more young people, especially those who might not otherwise be exposed to coding, greater access to computer science education.
Computer science is increasingly important to building a successful career, in fields varying from medicine to architecture to music. But today, there aren’t enough computer scientists to fill the available jobs—and on top of that, many populations aren’t equally represented in the field. According to code.org, only 8 percent of people who take the Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam are students of color, and only 15 percent are women. And while women earn 57 percent of all bachelor's degrees, only 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women. We want to expand the pool of technologists, and make sure that all young people, regardless of background or resources, have access to high-quality CS education from an early age.
That’s what this new effort is all about. Our partners have long been committed to supporting young people and communities.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
gives young people access to opportunities to help them become productive and responsible citizens during out of school time. And
taps the skills and passion of more than 7,000 Americans annually to support community efforts to overcome poverty. Working together, we can empower more young people with the technical know-how they need to succeed in today’s society and economy.
Join us in making CS more accessible to more kids, and
apply on the AmeriCorps website
by March 1. If accepted, you’ll come to the Google headquarters in Mountain View for training before spending a year in one of six cities. Best of all, your year of service will make a real difference in the lives of young people.
Posted by Kate Berrio, Google CS First Program Manager
Our first building block in tech for tykes: YouTube Kids
February 23, 2015
When we were kids, if we wanted to learn more about gorillas or how to make friendship bracelets, our parents pointed us to an encyclopedia, or took us to the library. When we wanted to watch cartoons, we eagerly awaited Saturday morning. Today’s kids have it even better—they have all of these options, plus a world of knowledge and information at their fingertips via the Internet. That opens up wonderful opportunities, but also can cause some worry for those of us who are parents.
over the past year
, teams across Google—including many passionate parents—have been looking at how families are using our products, and how we can make it easier for children and parents to explore and play together. We decided to start with YouTube.
For years, families have come to YouTube, watching countless hours of videos on a variety of topics. And today, we’re launching YouTube Kids, a new family-friendly app that makes it easy for kids to explore a vast selection of videos on any topic.
In the new YouTube Kids app, available on Android and iOS in the U.S., videos are narrowed to focus on content that is appropriate for the whole family. You might explore DIY arts and crafts, learn how to find the circumference of a circle, or watch favorites from Mother Goose Club to Minecraft, as well as new series from National Geographic Kids and Reading Rainbow. And there are more train videos than even you can count.
We’ve designed the app to be easier for kids to use, with a brighter and bigger interface that’s perfect for small thumbs and pudgy fingers. For parents, we’ve built in options that let you decide how your family uses the app, including the ability to set viewing limits with a timer.
Head over to
to learn more. This is just our first step—we’ll keep tinkering and hope to have more great products for your family soon.
Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP of Engineering, and Shimrit Ben-Yair, Product Manager, both moms of two
Through the Google lens: Search trends February 13-19
February 20, 2015
What we learned this week on search: New England’s stuck in a winter wonderland, Cindy Crawford doesn’t need makeup to look better than the rest of us and Lady Gaga’s caught in a good romance. Read on to learn the details.
Baby, it’s (still) cold outside
What better way to start your morning than with seven feet of snow? That’s what the lucky people of New England are saying (or not saying) as they endure the wrath of the aptly named
. This type of storm occurs when a thunderstorm features snow instead of rain, and is just the latest storm in a record-breaking month of winter weather. The phenomena led to 20,000+ searches, which might have at least a little to do with The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore’s on-air
when the storm hit. Whatever makes you happy, Jim.
A date with destiny
All eyes will be on the Academy Awards this Sunday, and people are prepping for their Oscar parties turning to the Internet to find out who’s up for
. But the highlight of the event is the Best Picture Category, which many consider to be a tight race this year. The favorites are
, but if searches this past month determined the winner, it would be Wes Anderson's
The Grand Budapest Hotel
And if we’re talking about a night out with the stars, does anyone know where
is? This past week,
photos of the American supermodel appeared online and, well—she still looked stunning. The photo went viral and drummed up a
on the media’s portrayal of female beauty.
Last call is in...
The party didn’t stop at midnight this past Tuesday as people started their Mardi Gras/
celebrations. Searches for the holiday
on February 17, and there was an increase in searches for New Orleans delicacies
and King Cake. On the other side of the world, many people in Asia welcomed the Year of the Goat (or
...whichever you prefer) as they rang in the
Lunar New Year
, not to mention topping the charts with more than 2 million searches.
Sparks are flying
Lady Gaga electrified search this week when she announced that she’s switching her Poker Face for a wedding veil to marry boyfriend
. Fans of the pop queen took to the web to find photos of her
engagement ring and new fiancé, causing searches for Kinney to hit an
high. Doesn’t sound like a bad romance to us.
Speaking of electricity, this past Wednesday our doodle marked the 270th birthday of the godfather of all Energizer Bunnies,
, the inventor of the first electrical battery. Searches for “
Who is Alessandro Volta
” and the “
” hit highs, ensuring that the great inventor will be remembered for years to come.
Tip of the week
Don’t have time to watch the three-hour-long Academy Awards this weekend? Just search for the Oscars in the Google App and you’ll find the latest info on what just happened, from acceptance speeches to behind-the-scenes moments.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [mother monster] and [doogie howser takes the oscars]
Google Science Fair 2015: what will you try?
February 18, 2015
Science is about observing and experimenting. It’s about exploring unanswered questions, solving problems through curiosity, learning as you go and always trying again.
That’s the spirit behind the fifth annual
Google Science Fair
, kicking off today. Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, we’re calling on all young researchers, explorers, builders, technologists and inventors to try something ambitious. Something imaginative, or maybe even unimaginable. Something that might just change the world around us.
From now through May 18, students around the world ages 13-18 can
submit projects online
across all scientific fields, from biology to computer science to anthropology and everything in between.
include $100,000 in scholarships and classroom grants from Scientific American and Google, a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos, an opportunity to visit LEGO designers at their Denmark headquarters, and the chance to tour Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship at their Mojave Air and Spaceport. This year we’re also introducing an award to recognize an Inspiring Educator, as well as a Community Impact Award honoring a project that addresses an environmental or health challenge.
It’s only through trying something that we can get somewhere. Flashlights required batteries, then
tried the heat of her hand. His grandfather would wander out of bed at night, until
tried a wearable sensor. The power supply was constantly unstable in her Indian village, so
tried to build a different kind of regulator. Previous Science Fair winners have blown us away with their ideas. Now it’s your turn.
Big ideas that have the potential to make a big impact often start from something small. Something that makes you curious.
Something you love, you’re good at, and want to try
So, what will you try?
Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google for Education team
(Cross-posted on the
Google for Education Blog
Through the Google lens: Search trends February 6-12
February 13, 2015
Happy Valentine’s Day (and long weekend!) to all you searchers out there. Here’s a look at the past week in Google Search:
Artists in the spotlight
Around The Grammy’s last week, two artists were at the front of the search pack:
, who took home the Album of the Year award, and
. Kanye almost pulled a Kanye (of 2009 VMA’s fame) when he appeared on the verge of interrupting Beck’s acceptance speech; West was upset that Beck won the award over Beyonce, who (according to West) had the best album of all time.
Other top artists in search include
, who appeared in
Sia’s Grammy performance
, although Sia’s face did not—and
, who’s still got it. Finally, searchers were struck by a sober moment during the ceremony: after domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell shared her personal story on stage,
search interest in [domestic violence] spiked 93x
News in the news
Shock followed shock for news hounds this week. First, a week after
admitted that he had wrongly claimed to have been on a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq in 2003, he was suspended for six months by NBC’s
. Now he’s at an
all-time high in search
. Meanwhile, Jon Stewart announced he will leave
The Daily Show
after 16 years, devastating loyal fans everywhere and inspiring speculation over who will replace him. And finally, we said goodbye to two legends of journalism:
, CBS News reporter and
correspondent for decades, and
The New York Times
’ media columnist
are being mourned by colleagues and readers.
Some lucky viewers got a sneak peek at the third season of Netflix drama
House of Cards
when new episodes were accidentally posted online. More than 50,000 searches followed as people tried to get a glimpse before they were taken down. And speaking of lucky, this week’s $500+ million Powerball jackpot had people searching like crazy in hopes of winning the big bucks. There were 2 million searches for [
] on Wednesday, and more for [
] and [
]. So far, one person has come forward to claim one of the three winning tickets, so maybe you should check your pockets...
Searching for love
Valentine’s Day has people scrambling and searching for flowers and gift ideas. Interestingly, there are three times as many searches for [gifts for a boyfriend], than [gifts for a girlfriend], but when it comes to married couples
things are reversed
: there are more searches for [gifts for wife] than for [gifts for husband]. (We’ll just leave that there.) People turn to search for planning all kinds of Valentine’s Day activities, from
“What should I wear on a first date?”
choosing a romantic movie
Tip of the week
Go on, tell that special someone how you feel this weekend. The
can help—when your own words just aren’t good enough, say “Ok Google, show me a love quote.” Pro tip: give credit where credit is due. No one likes a plagiarist.
Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [cut onion without crying] and [why is it called shrove tuesday]
From Altamont Pass to Mountain View: Getting more renewable energy on the grid
February 11, 2015
Technology can help us do more with less. For example, making use of
has helped us make our data centers 50% more efficient than the industry average, and green building technology has helped us limit energy consumption in our offices around the world. Now, we’re doing more with less to power Google’s North Bayshore campus in Mountain View.
We’ve recently signed a long-term agreement to purchase enough local wind energy to offset the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters on an annual basis. While we’ve been committed to being a carbon-neutral company
, and we purchase clean energy for our
, this agreement is the first of its kind when it comes to our offices.
The agreement with
NextEra Energy Resources
will help to repower an iconic Bay Area wind farm at California’s Altamont Pass with new turbines that will pour 43 MW of electricity onto the grid starting in 2016. This new technology is twice as efficient, and also safer—especially for
The new turbines will generate energy that feeds into the grid that powers our North Bayshore buildings in Mountain View. While these electrons can’t be traced once they enter the grid, we can measure how many of them leave the turbines, as well as how many we use on campus on an annual basis (tracked through a system of
renewable energy credits
, or RECs). So even though the electrons follow an untraceable path through the California electricity grid, we can be sure that we're offsetting the electrical consumption of our North Bayshore headquarters with the renewable energy from the new turbines.
Since our first wind investment
, we’ve developed close relationships with renewable energy providers, helping us secure renewable energy agreements like this one for our campus and data centers—
more than 1.1 gigawatt’s worth
to date—and it’s also made it possible for us to make equity investments in
17 utility-scale renewable energy projects
. And over the years we’ve been thrilled to see other California leaders, from
, also working to bring more renewable energy online.
Finally, if we can geek out for a minute: We think this project is especially cool because back in the 1980’s, the golden hills of Altamont Pass were an early test bed for the first large-scale wind power technology in the U.S. We’ve been blown away (pun intended :)) by how far turbine technology has come since then. Once the installation is complete, and the 370 legacy turbines are replaced, it will take just 24 new ones to generate as much power as our campus uses in a year. Talk about doing more with less.
Posted by David Radcliffe, VP, Real Estate and Workplace Services
Take a Security Checkup on Safer Internet Day
February 10, 2015
Online security is on everyone’s mind these days. According to a recent
, more people are worried about their online accounts being hacked than having their home broken into.
Security has always been a top priority for Google. Our
technology identifies unsafe websites and warns people before they visit them, protecting more than one billion Chrome, Firefox, and Safari users everyday.
adds an extra layer of security, beyond your password, to your Google account; it’s like a second padlock on your account’s door. And our research teams regularly release new findings about nefarious online activity, like
Gmail account hijacking attempts
, so people can stay informed.
We have many protections in place to keep people, and their information, secure, but there's also a lot that you can do to protect yourself. Today, on
Safer Internet Day
, take a quick
, an easy way to review and manage your Google Account’s security settings.
Here are some of the important items you can review during your Security Checkup:
: Adding a phone number can help us get in touch if you’re locked out of your account. We’ll only use your phone number to
protect your account
, unless you say otherwise.
: This is a quick overview of your recent sign-ins to Google. If you see any activity from a location or device you don’t recognize, change your password immediately.
: These are the apps, websites and devices connected to your Google account. Take a look and make sure you trust—and actually use—all of them. You might want to remove an old phone, or that dusty app you never use.
It takes just a few minutes to make sure your information is accurate and up to date. And as an extra thank you, we’ll
add 2GB to your Drive storage plan
if you complete the Security Checkup by February 17. Visit your
and take your Security Checkup today.
Posted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager
security and safety tips
A remedy for your health-related questions: health info in the Knowledge Graph
February 10, 2015
Think of the last time you searched on Google for health information. Maybe you heard a news story about gluten-free diets and pulled up
the Google app
to ask, "What is celiac disease?" Maybe a co-worker shook your hand and later found out she had pink eye, so you looked up “pink eye” to see whether it’s contagious. Or maybe you were worried about a loved one—like I was, recently, when my infant son Veer fell off a bed in a hotel in rural Vermont, and I was concerned that he might have a concussion. I wasn’t able to search and quickly find the information I urgently needed (and I work at Google!).
Thankfully my son was OK, but the point is this stuff really matters: one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information. And you should find the health information you need more quickly and easily.
So starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the
. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.
We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.
That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice. We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions. What we present is intended for informational purposes only—and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.
But we hope this can empower you in your health decisions by helping you learn more about common conditions. We’re rolling it out over the next few days, in the U.S. in English to start. In the long run, not only do we plan to cover many more medical conditions, but we also want to extend this to other parts of the world. So the next time you need info on frostbite symptoms, or treatments for tennis elbow, or the basics on measles, the Google app will be a better place to start.
Posted by Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager
Through the Google lens: Search trends January 30 - February 5
February 6, 2015
From a shark with two left feet to a sequel that has everyone buzzing, here’s what trended on search this week.
Haven’t we been here before?
This past Monday, the U.S. turned to its dirt-dwelling psychic, the groundhog, to determine if it was finally time to put our snow boots back in the closet. Searches for “
Did the groundhog see his shadow?
” hit 100,000+ while other questions like “
What is a groundhog
?” also peaked on February 2. So did little Punxsutawney Phil see his shadow and curse us with another six weeks of winter? In fact, he did. Can we get a do-over?
Sports news 101
Now that the dust has settled from this past Sunday’s
, there are several things we can take away from the game. First, Tom Brady might be the
in football history after winning his fourth championship—he was also the
Superbowl quarterback. Second, either Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll made the worst call ever or New England’s victory is all part of a
(you decide). Last but not least,
put on the best half-time performance of all time… with help from Katy Perry. The Internet fell hook, line and sinker for the
shark. Searchers were also curious about
after her appearance in the show.
also made a splash this week. Don’t know her? You will soon enough. Graham is set to appear
Sport Illustrated’s famous swimsuit issue
, making her the first plus-size model to be featured in an ad in the magazine.
Back in the headlines
The spotlight is back on Lance Armstrong and it’s not helping the cyclist’s already damaged reputation. Back in December, Armstrong and his girlfriend Anna Hansen were involved in a hit-and-run accident involving parked cars. At the time, Hansen said she was driving the car during the incident—but it turns out Armstrong was actually the
one behind the wheel
, leading to two misdemeanor charges,
on trends and more embarrassment for the star.
Iconic and reclusive writer
when news emerged that she will be releasing a new book, a sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, in July. The book comes 55 years after Lee’s first novel and the writer has a long history of avoiding the spotlight: She hasn’t granted any interviews or public appearances since Mockingbird came out. While many fans are rejoicing, the surprising announcement is leaving others
. Lee turns 89 this April and is
in ill health, leading some people to feel that the author might be being taken advantage of. We’ll have to wait and see how this story—as well as the one in Go Set A Watchman—unfolds.
Tip of the week
Ready for the long Presidents Day weekend? Look up flights for a last-minute escape. Just say, “Ok Google, show me flights from San Francisco,” to find where you can go to enjoy the day off.
Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched this week for [whistle pig] and [a girl named scout]
Google RISE Awards support girls and minorities in tech—from Australia to Mexico
February 2, 2015
(Cross-posted on the
Google for EDU Blog
When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need support, they turn to their daughters. In a culture whose history goes back 50,000 years, 70 young girls are using technology to give their families a new way to call for help in emergencies. Last year, Engineers Without Borders Australia taught a group of students to build an emergency response beacon using basic hardware and some code to transmit a user’s location and distress message via radio.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up less than 3 percent of Australia’s population, and they’ve historically faced discrimination in society, including in education. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dropout rates exceed 60 percent in certain regions and Aboriginal students are, on average, 2.5 years behind their peers in scientific and mathematical literacy. The problem is often compounded for girls, who tend to be left out of educational opportunities.
Engineers Without Borders Australia
(EWBA) set out to close the educational and digital divide, developing a program which brings together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal girls to create emergency beacons from scratch by coding a Raspberry Pi to work with an LED, GPS module and FM transmitter. It will also work through issues of stereotyping and discrimination, and help the girls to better understand each other’s worlds.
This is just one example of an organization doing extraordinary work to make computer science (CS) education available to women and other underrepresented minorities. Computer science has tremendous potential to make a real difference in the world—but only when more people can access and harness it.
That’s the idea behind Google’s
, through which we support organizations in their work to inspire students around the world with CS. Since 2010, more than 200 organizations have received an award, and this year,
are receiving a cumulative $1.5 million to keep this vital effort humming along. Our partners facilitate programs and activities including teaching girls about the
intersection of coding and music production in California
, promoting computational thinking through
game-design in Mexico
inspiring children in Brazil to program alongside their parents
This year, three nonprofits will receive a new “RISE Partnership Award”—a grant to work with one or two partner organizations to help grow their CS outreach to a wider scale. One of the three is Engineers Without Borders Australia, which plans to work with MEET—an organization with expertise on how coding skills can build relationships and break down stereotypes—to integrate their curriculum to reach up to 2,000 girls across Australia, including in Aboriginal communities.
With access to hands-on CS education, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls are preparing themselves for the digital economy, contributing to the diversity of our future’s technology, and taking concrete steps to rise above the inequities their community has faced for decades. They’re not alone. We hope that through the RISE Awards and
our other efforts
to support diversity in technology, these girls and others like them can have an even greater impact. We can’t wait to see it.
Posted by Roxana Shirkhoda, K12/Pre-University Education Outreach
Shooting stars and puppy ads: How the world watched the big game
February 2, 2015
From a “
” to a giant lion, yesterday’s big game was filled with many notable moments. That’s true on YouTube and Google too—people watched more game-day ads and teaser videos on YouTube than ever before, YouTube hosted its first-ever halftime show, and a throwback PSA became a top trending search term. Here’s a look at the top trending searches, videos and more across Google and YouTube:
Battle of the brands
As the battle for football supremacy was taking place on the field, a very different one was raging across the country: Which ad would reign supreme? Whether via smartphone, tablet or laptop, people spent nearly 4 million hours watching game-day ads and teaser videos on YouTube—up from 2.2 million hours from this time last year.
This year’s most popular ads came from a wide range of advertisers—newcomers and veterans alike. But one thing’s for certain—
continue to “break the Internet.” Here are some of the ads that scored big on YouTube so far:
Tom Brady and Missy Elliott dominate on search
While people turned to YouTube to watch the ads, people turned to Google to search for everything from “how old is Tom Brady” to “buffalo chicken dip recipes” to “Katy Perry Halftime performance.” Before kickoff, people asked Google “Why did John Travolta call Idina ‘Adele'?”—a throwback to John Travolta’s infamous mispronunciation of National Anthem performer Idina Menzel's name at the 2014 Oscars. Searchers were also interested in Menzel’s performance, asking “How long will it take Idina to sing the National Anthem?”
Tom Brady, Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson were the top three searched players before, during and after the game. Thanks to some standout in-game performances, by the end they were sharing the spotlight with Rob Gronkowski and Chris Matthews (replacing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor). And MVP Tom Brady wasn’t just a winner on the field—he captured the title of “Most Searched Quarterback” in every state except for the Seahawks’ home Washington.
Of course, for many people the halftime show is the highlight of the night, and Katy Perry’s performance delivered. She came in on a lion, danced with sharks and went out on a star—one that was, for some, reminiscent of NBC’s old “The More You Know” PSAs. The phrase "the more you know" spiked 190x in search for the 10 minutes after Katy’s starry flight. And although Missy Elliott was a late addition to the halftime lineup, she was a popular topic in search. Top questions related to Missy Elliott included “When was Missy Elliott popular?” and “How does Katy Perry know Missy Elliott?”
A very YouTube halftime show
For the first time ever, this year YouTube hosted a halftime show produced by Collective Digital Studio, with the help of more than 25 YouTube creators including
Epic Meal Time
's Harley Morenstein as host,
Rhett & Link
Kurt Hugo Schneider
’s "Epic Patty Cake Song" to the “Elephant’s Toothpaste” science experiment with
, the show delivered a one-of-a-kind experience for YouTube fans.
With the last touchdown scored, we’re taking votes for your favorite ad, so visit our
to cast your ballot before voting ends on February 9 at 11:59pm ET.
Whether you’re a loyal 12th man or a Boston fan for life, chances are you turned to YouTube and Google to watch your favorite ads, answer your questions or witness a new generation of halftime entertainment. We’re happy we could be a part of your game.
Posted by Riki Nakasuji, Sports & Gaming Sponsorships Manager, YouTube
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