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Today is the web’s 25th birthday. On March 12, 1989, I distributed a proposal to improve information flows: “a ‘web’ of notes with links between them.”
Though CERN, as a physics lab, couldn’t justify such a general software project, my boss Mike Sendall allowed me to work on it on the side. In 1990, I wrote the first browser and editor. In 1993, after much urging, CERN declared that WWW technology would be available to all, without paying royalties, forever.
The first web server, used by Tim Berners-Lee. Photo via Wikipedia
This decision enabled tens of thousands to start working together to build the web. Now, about 40 percent of us are connected and creating online. The web has generated trillions of dollars of economic value, transformed education and healthcare and activated many new movements for democracy around the world. And we’re just getting started.
How has this happened? By design, the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.
So today is a day to celebrate. But it’s also an occasion to think, discuss—and do. Key decisions on the governance and future of the Internet are looming, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future. How can we ensure that the other 60 percent around the world who are not connected get online fast? How can we make sure that the web supports all languages and cultures, not just the dominant ones? How do we build consensus around open standards to link the coming Internet of Things? Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the magic of the open web and the power it gives us to say, discover, and create anything? How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public? These are some of my questions—what are yours?
On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more at webat25.org and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.
Posted by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor of the World Wide Web
|Tue, 11 Mar 2014 21:00:00 +0000|
Tobi was a GSoC student in 2007 for GNOME, a free software desktop environment. He’s been a regular contributor to the GNOME community ever since—and in 2012, Tobi was elected to the GNOME Foundation board of directors.
Tobi is one of more than 7,500 students who have participated in Google Summer of Code program over the past nine years. Every summer, GSoC participants work with various organizations in the open source community, building important technical skills and gaining workplace experience. Students aren’t the only ones who benefit; their projects also give back to the open source community. Karen Sandler, GNOME’s executive director, told us how Google Summer of Code “encourages and empowers” new contributors and helps “invigorate projects.”
So if you’re a university student looking to earn real-world experience this summer, we hope you’ll consider coding for a cool open source project with Google Summer of Code. We’re celebrating the 10th year of the program in 2014, and we’d love to see more student applicants than ever before. In 2013 we accepted almost 1,200 students and we’re planning to accept 10 percent more this year.
You can submit proposals on our website starting now through Friday, March 21 at 12:00pm PDT. Get started by reviewing the ideas pages of the 190 open source projects in this year’s program, and decide which projects you’re interested in. There are a limited number of spots, and writing a great project proposal is essential to being selected to the program—so be sure to check out the Student Manual for advice. For ongoing information throughout the application period and beyond, see the Google Open Source blog.
Good luck to all the open source coders out there, and remember to submit your proposals early—you only have until March 21 to apply!
Posted by Carol Smith, Google Open Source team
|Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:00:00 +0000|
|Mon, 10 Mar 2014 00:41:59 +0000|
Celebrating technical women on stage at global Women Techmakers events
To help increase visibility, community and resources for technical women, we’re launching a series of 100+ Women Techmakers events in 52 countries to celebrate and support passionate techmakers around the world. Starting today and throughout March, the event series will feature panel discussions with talented female technology leaders, hands-on career planning workshops, networking opportunities and more. To learn more about the program and find an event near you, visit g.co/womentechmakers.
Shining a light on women in history and their collective impact
The Google Cultural Institute is launching Women in Culture, a new channel featuring exhibits that tell stories of women—some familiar and some lesser-known—and their impact on the world. Starting today, you can browse 18 new exhibits, from both new and existing Cultural Institute partners, including:
Showcasing Great Women by The National Women’s Hall of FameMakers by WETA (Makers.com: the largest video collection of women’s stories ever)Frida Kahlo: ¡Viva la vida! by Museo Dolores OlmedoPioneering Musicians: Women Superstars of the Early Gramophone Era by Archive of Indian MusicPathways to Equality by the National Women’s History MuseumThe Struggle for Suffrage by English HeritageProfiles for Peace by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and SecurityThis Mad, Wicked Folly: Victorian American Women by the Meserve-Kunhardt FoundationWorld Changing Women by Vital VoicesThe painting Black Mesa Landscape, New Mexico / Out Back of Marie’s II contributed by the Georgia O’Keeffe MuseumSince history has so often been biased, leaving out or sidelining contributions from women, the channel is also integrated with the rest of the Cultural Institute collections, making it easier for people to discover even more amazing stories about women throughout history.
A homepage homage
Women have been underrepresented in the history-telling of almost all fields: science, school curricula, business, politics—and, sadly, doodles. In addition to our continued effort for doodle diversity and inclusion, today’s truly International Women’s Day doodle features a host of more than 100 inspiring women from around the world, including the President of Lithuania, a brave Pakistani education activist, the most recorded artist in music history, an ever-curious explorer and dozens more.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Posted by Kyle Ewing, People Operations
|Sat, 08 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000|
Though to me she's one-of-a-kind, it turns out there are other women like my mom out there. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, women make up 30 percent of U.S. business owners and employ nearly 7.8 million workers. Even though women-owned enterprises operate with far less capital, in the venture-backed tech industry, they produce 12 percent higher returns. That means that not only is supporting women in business the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do.
In an effort to find new ways to advance female entrepreneurs, this week Google for Entrepreneurs is committing $1 million in aggregate to 40 startup-focused organizations, challenging them to increase the representation of women in their respective tech communities. From simply changing the times of events to accommodate busy moms to teaching young girls to see themselves as entrepreneurs, 40 of our partner communities will soon launch new programs and outreach initiatives to encourage women founders. We’re calling this collective effort #40Forward. Here are a few highlights from our global community:
1871 in Chicago is launching a new accelerator program for women founded or co-founded companies that’s more flexible and family-friendly, with a customized plan for each startup.Gaza Sky Geeks in Gaza is providing rewards for women attending startup events to demonstrate the economic value of them getting involved in tech to their families.Startup Grind chapters all over the world are hosting Women Take the Stage fireside chats featuring successful women business leaders in their communities.Outbox in Uganda is launching a year-long training to teach young women programming and entrepreneurial skills.Astia is increasing female entrepreneurs’ access to capital by creating monthly opportunities for women-led companies to pitch to world-class investors.
Along with our 40 partners, we hope to create more inclusive networks and to move the needle for entrepreneurs like my mom—and young women like me who aspire to be like her. Follow and participate in the conversation throughout the month of March using #40Forward on Google+ and Twitter.
Posted by Bridgette Sexton Beam, Global Entrepreneurship Manager
|Wed, 05 Mar 2014 09:00:00 +0000|
|Mon, 03 Mar 2014 00:00:56 +0000|
In Inuit poetry, the polar bear is known as Pihoqahiak, the ever-wandering one. Some of the most majestic and elusive creatures in the world, polar bears travel hundreds of miles every year, wandering the tundra and Arctic sea ice in search of food and mates. Today, with the help of Street View, we’re celebrating International Polar Bear Day by sharing an intimate look at polar bears in their natural habitat.
The Street View Trekker, mounted on a Tundra Buggy, captures images of Churchill’s polar bears
We’ve joined forces with Google Maps to collect Street View imagery from a remote corner of Canada’s tundra: Churchill, Manitoba, home to one of the largest polar bear populations on the planet. With the help of outfitters Frontiers North, the Google Maps team mounted the Street View Trekker onto a specially designed “Tundra Buggy,” allowing us to travel across this fragile landscape without interfering with the polar bears or other native species. Through October and November we collected Street View imagery from the shores of Hudson’s Bay as the polar bears waited for the sea ice to freeze over.
View Larger MapOne of Churchill, Manitoba’s Polar Bears on Street View
Modern cartography and polar bear conservation
There’s more to this effort than images of cuddly bears, though. PBI has been working in this region for more than 20 years, and we’ve witnessed firsthand the profound impact of warmer temperatures and melting sea ice on the polar bear’s environment. Understanding global warming, and its impact on polar bear populations, requires both global and regional benchmarks. Bringing Street View to Canada's tundra establishes a baseline record of imagery associated with specific geospatial data—information that’s critical if we’re to understand and communicate the impact of climate change on their sensitive ecosystem. As we work to safeguard their habitat, PBI can add Street View imagery to the essential tools we use to assess and respond to the biggest threat facing polar bears today.
Polar Bear International’s Bear Tracker
We also use the Google Maps API to support our Bear Tracker, which illustrates the frozen odyssey these bears embark on every year. As winter approaches and the sea ice freezes over, polar bears head out onto Hudson Bay to hunt for seals. Bear Tracker uses of satellite monitors and an interactive Google Map to display their migration for a global audience.
Mapping the communities of Canada’s Arctic
Google’s trip north builds on work they’ve done in the Arctic communities of Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit. In the town of Churchill, the Google Maps team conducted a community MapUp, which let participants use Map Maker to edit and add to the Google Map. From the Town Centre Complex, which includes the local school, rink and movie theatre, to the bear holding facility used to keep polar bears who have wandered into town until their release can be planned, the citizens of the Churchill made sure Google Maps reflects the community that they know.
But building an accurate and comprehensive map of Canada’s north also means heading out of town to explore this country’s expansive tundra. And thanks to this collaboration with Google Maps, people around the world now have the opportunity to virtually experience Canada’s spectacular landscape—and maybe take a few moments to wander in the footsteps of the polar bear.
Posted by Krista Wright, Executive Director of Polar Bears International
|Thu, 27 Feb 2014 03:00:00 +0000|
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|Fri, 21 Feb 2014 14:29:23 +0000|
It’s now even easier to plan your next trip, check live traffic conditions, discover what’s happening around town, and learn about a new area—with Pegman’s help if needed. Here’s a quick refresher on what to expect in the new Google Maps:
Make smarter decisions. Simply search for “coffee” in your neighborhood, and you’ll be able to see results and snippets right on the map. When you click on a cafe, the map will suggest related results that you may not have known about.
Get where you're going, faster. Car? Bike? Train? Find the most efficient route for you, with your best options laid out on the map, including the time and distance for each route. And with the new real-time traffic reports and Street View previews, you’ll become a commuting ninja.
See the world from every angle. Rich imagery takes you to notable landmarks, sends you flying above mountains in 3D, and gives you a sneak peek of businesses you plan to visit. The new “carousel” at the bottom of the map makes all this imagery easy to access, so you can explore the world with a click.
With any product redesign, there may be bumps along the road. We're hoping that you're as excited as we are to navigate uncharted territory in pursuit of the perfect map. As always, we want to hear what you think as we work to improve the new Maps over time.
Here’s to many more years of mapping together!
Posted by Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps
|Wed, 19 Feb 2014 11:00:00 +0000|
We've long believed that the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so it’s fantastic to see this momentum. And now that we’ve learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks. So we’ve invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S.—34 cities altogether—to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.
We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, we’ll work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents.
We’re going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.
While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone. But cities who go through this process with us will be more prepared for us or any provider who wants to build a fiber network. In fact, we want to give everyone a boost in their thinking about how to bring fiber to their communities; we plan to share what we learn in these 34 cities, and in the meantime you can check out some tips in a recent guest post on the Google Fiber blog by industry expert Joanne Hovis. Stay tuned for updates, and we hope this news inspires more communities across America to take steps to get to a gig.
Posted by Milo Medin, VP, Google Access Services
|Wed, 19 Feb 2014 10:02:00 +0000|
Like our colleagues at Google Ventures, our goal is to invest in the most promising companies of tomorrow, with one important difference. While Google Ventures focuses mainly on early-stage investments, we’ll be looking to invest in companies solely as they hit their growth phase. That means finding companies that have already built a solid foundation and are really ready to expand their business in big ways. We’ll look across a range of industries for companies with new technologies and proven track records in their fields. Our investments to date include SurveyMonkey, Lending Club and Renaissance Learning—with many more to come.
But it’s not just a monetary investment for us. The most important—and distinctive—feature of Google Capital is how we work with our portfolio companies. Over the past 15 years, Google has built a strong business, and that’s mostly thanks to the great people who work here. Our portfolio companies have abundant access to the talent, passion and strategic expertise of some of Google’s technology and product leaders. While many investors may contribute money and advice to the companies they support, Google Capital is going beyond that and tapping into our greatest assets: our people. They help us succeed, and we believe they can help our portfolio companies do the same.
It’s still very early, and investing is a long road. We’re excited about what we’re doing today—but even more excited to see what happens in the years to come.
Posted by David Lawee, Partner, Google Capital
|Wed, 19 Feb 2014 04:00:00 +0000|
|Fri, 14 Feb 2014 03:57:27 +0000|
Now it’s time to do it again: we're calling for students ages 13-18 to submit their brilliant ideas for the fourth annual Google Science Fair, in partnership with Virgin Galactic, Scientific American, LEGO Education and National Geographic. All you need to participate is curiosity and an Internet connection. Project submissions are due May 12, and the winners will be announced at the finalist event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., on September 22.
In addition to satisfying your curious mind, your project can also win you some pretty cool prizes. This year’s grand prize winner will have the chance to join the Virgin Galactic team at Spaceport America in New Mexico as they prepare for space flight and will be among the first to welcome the astronauts back to Earth, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour and a full year’s digital access to Scientific American magazine for their school. Age category winners will have a choice between going behind the scenes at the LEGO factory in Billund, Denmark or an amazing experience at either a Google office or National Geographic.
For the 2014 competition, we’ll also give two new awards to celebrate even more talented young scientists:
The Computer Science Award will be given to a project that champions innovation and excellence in the field of computer science.Local Award Winners—students whose projects have attempted to address an issue relevant to their community—will be honored in select locations globally.And the Scientific American Science In Action award will once again honor a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge. The winner will receive a year’s mentoring from Scientific American and a $50,000 grant toward their project.
Stay updated throughout the competition on our Google+ page, get inspired by participating in virtual field trips and ask esteemed scientists questions in our Hangout on Air series. If you need help jump-starting your project, try out the Idea Springboard for inspiration.
What do you love? What are you good at? What problem have you always dreamed of solving? Get started with your project today—it’s your turn to change the world.
Posted by Clare Conway, Google Science Fair team
|Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:00:00 +0000|
|Tue, 11 Feb 2014 15:24:51 +0000|
Solve for X attendee Sara Menker shares ideas and critique from her group’s brainstorming session.
Ira Glass opened the summit with a talk on climate change entitled “Ira Glass tries to boss you into a moonshot.” Ira mixed data, devastating personal experiences, potential technical solutions and insightful ways to think about the issue and made an excellent case that generalists should consider shifting focus to climate change.
Following Ira’s talk, we heard proposals on a wide variety of topics, including: Leslie Dewan’s proposal for generating power from nuclear waste building on technology ideas abandoned in the 1950s; Lonnie Johnson’s JTEC invention, which would allow us to convert heat directly into electricity; Howard Shapiro’s global collaboration that uses some of the newest and oldest technologies in agriculture to end stunting for rural poor; Julia Greer’s exploration of the relationship between a material's strength and its weight through 3D architected nanomaterials; Yael Hanein’s artificial solar retina, which has the potential to cure blindness; Erez Livneh’s virus decoys, which could slow and eliminate disease; and Asel Sartbeava’s proposal for thermally stable vaccines that remove the need for refrigeration cold chain during transport.
Ido Bachelet explains how certain surgical interventions could be accomplished through nanorobots.
During a “show and tell” session, participants from previous Solve for X events shared updates on their moonshots. Omri Amirav-Drory showed us plants that glow when activated; Dr. Keith Black brought delicious Dr. Black’s Brain Bars; Karen Gleason brought solar cells printed on paper; Andras Forgacs brought the first “steak chips” that Modern Meadow is beta-“tasting.”
Suchitra Sebastian’s demonstration during her proposal on a new generation of superconductors.
In an effort to include more people in the Solve for X experience, this year we ran 10 experiments to bring our exploration session format into other organizations’ events, including TEDx Beacon Street, SXSW and Tribeca Film Festival; we even held an event on Capitol Hill. FabLab, ReWork and AAAS recently became collaborators, joining Singularity University, XPrize, TED and others. We hope we’ll run into you at an event in your area.
To learn more, watch our video “On Taking Moonshots” in which several moonshot pioneers talk about the mindset needed to do this kind of breakthrough work. You can find all 18 of the proposals from the 2014 Summit, as well as 200+ moonshots posted by other pioneers, at SolveforX.com. You can also submit moonshots—your own or others that fit the tech moonshot proposal format. Join our #TechMoonshots conversations on Google+ and Twitter.
Posted by Megan Smith and Astro Teller, co-hosts/creators of Solve for X
|Mon, 10 Feb 2014 15:07:00 +0000|
|Mon, 10 Feb 2014 03:59:28 +0000|
Chromebox for meetings brings together Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps in an easy-to-manage Chromebox, making it simpler for any company to have high-definition video meetings. Here are a few highlights:
Instant meeting room. Chromebox for meetings comes with a blazing-fast Intel Core i7-based Chromebox, a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit and a remote control. Set up your entire room in minutes and easily manage all meeting rooms from a web-based management console. All you need is the display in your room, and you’re good to go.Simpler and faster meetings. Walk into the room, click the remote once and you’re instantly in the meeting. No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs. Share your laptop screen wirelessly, no need for any cords and adaptors. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar.Meetings with anyone, anywhere. Up to 15 participants can join the video meeting from other conference rooms, their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Need to meet with a customer who doesn’t use Chromebox for meetings? That’s easy too—all they need is a Gmail account. You can also connect to rooms that have traditional video conferencing systems using a new tool from Vidyo, and participants who prefer phones can join your meeting with a conference call number from UberConference.Chromebox for meetings is available in the U.S. today starting at $999, which includes the ASUS Chromebox and everything you need to get going. That means for the same price that companies have typically paid for one meeting room, they'll be able to outfit 10 rooms—or more. CDW and SYNNEX will help bring Chromebox for meetings to customers and resellers, and Chromeboxes from HP and Dell will be available for meetings in the coming months. Later this year, we plan to launch in Australia, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Spain and the U.K.
Companies like Eventbrite, Gilt, oDesk and Woolworths have been testing Chromebox for meetings, and have told us that they love the simple setup, the ease of use, and being able to see their colleagues in other offices. More importantly, the low price will enable them to extend these benefits to even more employees, rooms and offices. Find out how Chromebox for meetings can help you and your coworkers see eye-to-eye. Happy meetings, everyone!
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management
|Thu, 06 Feb 2014 11:01:00 +0000|
As part of this exhibition, we’re looking for the next up-and-coming developer artist. This is your opportunity to express your creativity, and to have your work featured in the Barbican and seen by millions of people around the world. To throw your hat in the ring, build a project on the DevArt site and show us what you would create. From there, we’ll pick one creator whose work will sit alongside three of the world’s finest interactive artists who are also creating installations for DevArt: Karsten Schmidt, Zach Lieberman, and the duo Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet.
The exhibition will open at the Barbican this summer. Until then, visit g.co/devart, where you can submit your own project. If you’re not the creative coding type, visit the site to see some incredible art and follow the artists’ creative process—from concept and early sketches to the finished piece—on their respective Project Pages. You'll get a rare look into artists’ ways of working with modern technologies (including some Google products), and maybe even get inspired to create something yourself.
If you had the chance to make your mark in today’s art world with technology as your canvas, what would you create? We’d like you to show us.
Posted by Steve Vranakis, Executive Creative Director, Google Creative Lab
|Wed, 05 Feb 2014 06:00:00 +0000|
|Tue, 04 Feb 2014 20:14:52 +0000|
Doodle 4 Google is the chance for young artists to think and dream big. Our theme this year, "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place…” is all about curiosity, possibility and imagination.
Creating the best doodle comes with major perks: this year—for the first time ever—the winner of the competition will become an honorary Google Doodler for a day and animate his or her Doodle for the homepage with the Doodle team. The winning Doodle will then be featured on the Google homepage for a day for millions to see. If that’s not cool enough, the winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for his or her school.
If you feel like your young artist may need a little nudge to get their creative juices flowing, we’re partnering with Discovery Education to offer videos and activities for teachers and parents as well as a virtual field trip to Google’s headquarters. We’re also offering interactive “Meet the Doodler” Connected Classrooms sessions where kids can meet Google Doodlers, learn about their process from idea to a Doodle, and ask questions along the way.
Mark your calendar to send in your kids’ submissions by March 20. Judging starts with Googlers and a panel of guest judges, including astronaut Ron Garan, author of the Percy Jackson Series Rick Riordan, Google[x] Captain of Moonshoot Astro Teller, directors of The LEGO Movie Chris and Phil, President of RISD school Rosanne Somerson, robotics designer Lee Magpili, and authors Lemony Snicket and Mary Pope Osborne.
On April 29, we’ll announce the 50 state finalists and open up a public vote to select the national winner. These 50 kids will all get to visit Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. on May 21 for a day full of creative workshops and other fun activities—and the winning (animated!) doodle will be revealed on google.com in June.
Participating is easier than ever. Teachers and parents can download entry forms on our Doodle 4 Google site. Doodles can be uploaded digitally to our site or mailed in. We encourage full classrooms to participate too! There’s no limit to the number of doodles from any one school or family... Just remember, only one doodle per student.
That’s all I’ve got. Now get to doodling!
Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead
|Tue, 04 Feb 2014 03:00:00 +0000|
This year, the RISE Awards are providing $1.5 million to 42 organizations in 19 countries that provide students with the resources they need to succeed in the field. For example, Generating Genius in the U.K. provides after-school computer science programs and mentoring to prepare high-achieving students from disadvantaged communities for admission into top universities. Another awardee, North Carolina-based STARS Computer Corps, helps schools in low-income communities gain access to computing resources for their students to use. Visit our site for a full list of our RISE Award recipients.
Created in 2007, the Children’s University Foundation has been carrying out educational programs for more than 20,000 children aged 6-13. Click on the photo to learn more about this and other RISE Awardees.
This year we’re also expanding the program with the RISE Partnership Awards. These awards aim to encourage collaboration across organizations in pursuit of a shared goal of increasing global participation in computer science. For example, more than 5,000 girls in sub-Saharan Africa will learn computer science as a result of a partnership between the Harlem based program ELITE and the WAAW Foundation in Nigeria.
We’re proud to help these organizations inspire the next generation of computer scientists.
Posted by Hai Hong, RISE Program Manager
|Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:01:00 +0000|
Until now, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) opposed our efforts to publish statistics specifically about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests. Under FISA, the government may apply for orders from a special FISA Court to require U.S. companies to hand over users’ personal information and the content of their communications. Although FISA was passed by elected representatives and is available for anyone to read, the way the law is used is typically kept secret. Last summer’s revelations about government surveillance remind us of the challenges that secrecy can present to a democracy that relies on public debate.
Last year we filed a lawsuit asking the FISA Court to let us disclose the number of FISA requests we may receive and how many users/accounts they include. We’d previously secured permission to publish information about National Security Letters, and FISA requests were the only remaining type of demands excluded from our report.
Today, for the first time, our report on government requests for user information encompasses all of the requests we receive, subject only to delays imposed by the DoJ regarding how quickly we can include certain requests in our statistics.
Publishing these numbers is a step in the right direction, and speaks to the principles for reform that we announced with other companies last December. But we still believe more transparency is needed so everyone can better understand how surveillance laws work and decide whether or not they serve the public interest. Specifically, we want to disclose the precise numbers and types of requests we receive, as well as the number of users they affect in a timely way. That’s why we need Congress to go another step further and pass legislation (PDF) that will enable us to say more.
You have the right to know how laws affect the security of your information online. We’ll keep fighting for your ability to exercise that right by pushing for greater transparency around the world.
Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security
|Mon, 03 Feb 2014 10:01:00 +0000|
|Sat, 01 Feb 2014 22:15:50 +0000|
|Thu, 30 Jan 2014 15:00:33 +0000|
We acquired Motorola in 2012 to help supercharge the Android ecosystem by creating a stronger patent portfolio for Google and great smartphones for users. Over the past 19 months, Dennis Woodside and the Motorola team have done a tremendous job reinventing the company. They’ve focused on building a smaller number of great (and great value) smartphones that consumers love. Both the Moto G and the Moto X are doing really well, and I’m very excited about the smartphone lineup for 2014. And on the intellectual property side, Motorola’s patents have helped create a level playing field, which is good news for all Android’s users and partners.
But the smartphone market is super competitive, and to thrive it helps to be all-in when it comes to making mobile devices. It’s why we believe that Motorola will be better served by Lenovo—which has a rapidly growing smartphone business and is the largest (and fastest-growing) PC manufacturer in the world. This move will enable Google to devote our energy to driving innovation across the Android ecosystem, for the benefit of smartphone users everywhere. As a side note, this does not signal a larger shift for our other hardware efforts. The dynamics and maturity of the wearable and home markets, for example, are very different from that of the mobile industry. We’re excited by the opportunities to build amazing new products for users within these emerging ecosystems.
Lenovo has the expertise and track record to scale Motorola into a major player within the Android ecosystem. They have a lot of experience in hardware, and they have global reach. In addition, Lenovo intends to keep Motorola’s distinct brand identity—just as they did when they acquired ThinkPad from IBM in 2005. Google will retain the vast majority of Motorola’s patents, which we will continue to use to defend the entire Android ecosystem.
The deal has yet to be approved in the U.S. or China, and this usually takes time. So until then, it’s business as usual. I’m phenomenally impressed with everything the Motorola team has achieved and confident that with Lenovo as a partner, Motorola will build more and more great products for people everywhere.
Posted by Larry Page, CEO
|Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:00:00 +0000|
Well, we think the creative freedom of LEGO bricks shouldn’t be limited to plastic bins—which is the idea behind Build with Chrome, a collaboration between Chrome and the LEGO Group that brought these colorful bricks to the web using WebGL, a 3D graphics technology. It was originally built by a team in Australia as an experiment, and now we’re opening it up to everybody. So now you can publish your wacky creations to any plot of land in the world.
We’ve added a few new features to make it easier to build and explore this digital world of LEGO creations. To start, you can now sign in with a Google+ account to help find stuff that people in your circles have created. A new categorization system for completed Builds will help you sort and filter for specific types of structures.
To hone your engineering skills and prepare for the upcoming “THE LEGOR MOVIETM,” you can explore the Build Academy, a series of short tutorials and challenges featuring characters and structures from the film.
If it feels more natural to use your hands—rather than a mouse—you can build your creations using a touchscreen on your phone or tablet with Chrome for Android support for WebGL on devices with high-end graphics capabilities.
As big fans of LEGO, we’re excited to see what you come up with to fill this new world. Share your creations on Google+ and we’ll reshare the most inventive ones.
Posted by Adrian Soghoian, Product Marketing Manager and Beginning Builder
|Tue, 28 Jan 2014 08:17:00 +0000|
The issue has been resolved, and we’re now focused on correcting the bug that caused the outage, as well as putting more checks and monitors in place to ensure that this kind of problem doesn’t happen again. If you’re interested in the technical explanation for what occurred and how it was fixed, read on.
At 10:55 a.m. PST this morning, an internal system that generates configurations—essentially, information that tells other systems how to behave—encountered a software bug and generated an incorrect configuration. The incorrect configuration was sent to live services over the next 15 minutes, caused users’ requests for their data to be ignored, and those services, in turn, generated errors. Users began seeing these errors on affected services at 11:02 a.m., and at that time our internal monitoring alerted Google’s Site Reliability Team. Engineers were still debugging 12 minutes later when the same system, having automatically cleared the original error, generated a new correct configuration at 11:14 a.m. and began sending it; errors subsided rapidly starting at this time. By 11:30 a.m. the correct configuration was live everywhere and almost all users’ service was restored.
With services once again working normally, our work is now focused on (a) removing the source of failure that caused today’s outage, and (b) speeding up recovery when a problem does occur. We'll be taking the following steps in the next few days:
1. Correcting the bug in the configuration generator to prevent recurrence, and auditing all other critical configuration generation systems to ensure they do not contain a similar bug.
2. Adding additional input validation checks for configurations, so that a bad configuration generated in the future will not result in service disruption.
3. Adding additional targeted monitoring to more quickly detect and diagnose the cause of service failure.
Posted by Ben Treynor, VP Engineering
|Fri, 24 Jan 2014 16:46:00 +0000|
On Friday, January 31, President Obama will “travel” the country in a virtual whistlestop tour. He’ll hop into Google+ Hangouts with people from across the United States to answer their questions and hear their thoughts about the topics he addressed in his speech.
If you have a question for the President and would like the opportunity to participate in the Hangout Road Trip, just record a 60-second video with your name, location, a bit about yourself and the question you’d like to ask. Then post it on YouTube or Google+ and share it publicly with the hashtag #AskObama2014.
Next Tuesday, tune in to watch the State of the Union address, as well as the Republican response, live on YouTube. Then join us and President Obama on Friday for a one-of-a-kind road trip.
Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Head of Google+ Politics and Causes
|Thu, 23 Jan 2014 06:00:00 +0000|
Many people I’ve talked to say managing their diabetes is like having a part-time job. Glucose levels change frequently with normal activity like exercising or eating or even sweating. Sudden spikes or precipitous drops are dangerous and not uncommon, requiring round-the-clock monitoring. Although some people wear glucose monitors with a glucose sensor embedded under their skin, all people with diabetes must still prick their finger and test drops of blood throughout the day. It’s disruptive, and it’s painful. And, as a result, many people with diabetes check their blood glucose less often than they should.
Over the years, many scientists have investigated various body fluids—such as tears—in the hopes of finding an easier way for people to track their glucose levels. But as you can imagine, tears are hard to collect and study. At Google[x], we wondered if miniaturized electronics—think: chips and sensors so small they look like bits of glitter, and an antenna thinner than a human hair—might be a way to crack the mystery of tear glucose and measure it with greater accuracy.
We’re now testing a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second. We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds. It’s still early days for this technology, but we’ve completed multiple clinical research studies which are helping to refine our prototype. We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease.
We’re in discussions with the FDA, but there’s still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use. We’re not going to do this alone: we plan to look for partners who are experts in bringing products like this to market. These partners will use our technology for a smart contact lens and develop apps that would make the measurements available to the wearer and their doctor. We’ve always said that we’d seek out projects that seem a bit speculative or strange, and at a time when the International Diabetes Federation (PDF) is declaring that the world is “losing the battle” against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot.
Posted by Brian Otis and Babak Parviz, project co-founders
|Thu, 16 Jan 2014 16:00:00 +0000|
|Thu, 16 Jan 2014 05:29:02 +0000|
|Wed, 15 Jan 2014 23:09:55 +0000|
|Tue, 14 Jan 2014 16:20:40 +0000|
The future site of Pattern’s Panhandle 2 wind farm
Panhandle 2 is our 15th renewable energy investment overall, and our second in Texas—last year around this time we announced an approximately $200 million investment in the Spinning Spur wind farm. In addition to these two projects, we’re also buying Texas wind from the Happy Hereford wind farm as part of our goal of operating on 100 percent renewable energy. These efforts reflect our long-standing commitment to renewable energy as both an investor and a consumer.
Sunset at another Pattern facility, Gulf Wind
Let that Texas wind blow!
Posted by Nick Coons, Principal, Renewable Energy
|Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:00:00 +0000|
The elves are now reporting that the sleigh is ready for takeoff!
Join Santa as he delivers presents around the globe. Whether you’re in Sydney or South Dakota, hop in the driver’s seat by checking out Santa’s Dash(er) Board. See where Santa’s been, where he’s going, and his real-time jolly status ("mmm, those cookies were delicious!”). Don’t forget to check out the photos and local info for places he visits on the route.
For the next 24 hours, tune in on your desktop, tablet, or phone to the Santa Tracker website. Still worried you’ll miss a minute of Santa’s big day? The developer elves have been hard at work so you can:
Stay updated on Santa’s real-time location with the Santa Tracker app for AndroidLight up your TV by casting from the Android appKeep tabs on Santa across the web with the Santa Tracker Chrome extensionView the journey in 3D in the Tour Guide feature of Google Earth and Google Earth mobileAnd follow Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter to get up-to-the-minute details on Santa’s journey around the world.
With more than 300,000 kilometers to go, Santa’s got a lot of the map to cover. So set out those cookies and a glass of milk and get ready to #tracksanta!
Posted by Brian McClendon, Vice President, Google Maps
|Tue, 24 Dec 2013 02:00:00 +0000|
Over the past four years, one worrying trend has remained consistent: governments continue to ask us to remove political content. Judges have asked us to remove information that’s critical of them, police departments want us to take down videos or blogs that shine a light on their conduct, and local institutions like town councils don’t want people to be able to find information about their decision-making processes. These officials often cite defamation, privacy and even copyright laws in attempts to remove political speech from our services. In this particular reporting period, we received 93 requests to take down government criticism and removed content in response to less than one third of them. Four of the requests were submitted as copyright claims.
You can read more about these requests in the Notes section of the Transparency Report. In addition, we saw a significant increase in the number of requests we received from two countries in the first half of 2013:
There was a sharp increase in requests from Turkey. We received 1,673 requests from Turkish authorities to remove content from our platforms, nearly a tenfold increase over the second half of last year. About two-thirds of the total requests—1,126 to be exact—called for the removal of 1,345 pieces of content related to alleged violations of law 5651.Another place where we saw an increase was Russia, where there has been an uptick in requests since a blacklist law took effect last fall. We received 257 removal requests during this reporting period, which is more than double the number of requests we received throughout 2012.While the information we present in our Transparency Report is certainly not a comprehensive view of censorship online, it does demonstrate a worrying upward trend in the number of government requests, and underscores the importance of transparency around the processes governing such requests. As we continue to add data, we hope it will become increasingly useful and informative in policy debates and decisions around the world.
Posted by Susan Infantino, Legal Director
|Thu, 19 Dec 2013 08:00:00 +0000|
In our annual Year-End Zeitgeist (“spirit of the times”), we reflect on the people, places, and moments that captured the world’s attention throughout the year. This year marks our most global Zeitgeist to date—with 1,000+ top 10 lists across categories like Trending People, Most-Searched Events and Top Trending Searches from 72 countries.
As we get ready to turn the page to 2014, we invite you to take a global journey through the biggest moments from the past 12 months in our Year in Review video:
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy.
Tragedies like the Boston Marathon, the 6th trending term globally, and Typhoon Haiyan, #2 on our global events list, also captured the world’s attention. And our human desire to help came through, with [donate to the Philippines] ranking highly around the world.
2013 also had moments that made us move. People uploaded more than 1.7 million video versions of the Harlem Shake to YouTube, propelling it to the #5 spot on our global list; it was also the second most trending video on YouTube. And unashamedly, we all wanted to learn about twerking, which topped this year’s "what is…" list of search terms (although I’m still not sure I understand that one!).
Here’s a full look at our top 10 global trending searches of 2013:
Nelson MandelaPaul WalkeriPhone 5sCory MonteithHarlem ShakeBoston MarathonRoyal BabySamsung Galaxy s4PlayStation 4North Korea
You can also explore more global trends this year—directly from our Zeitgeist homepage. Check out the top 100 trending searches of 2013, and simply click one to dig deeper on Google Trends. Or if you’d rather be nostalgic, you can take a look back at each year's Zeitgeist from 2001 on.
Finally, we've made an interactive 3D global map showcasing the top search trends of 2013 by day in cities around the world. You can easily spin the globe, select a city and explore the topics that brought people to search on any day of the year—from local sports games to international news stories.
As I reflect on the year behind us, I’m excited about what’s to come in the year ahead. What will you be searching for?
Posted by +Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President and Google Fellow
|Tue, 17 Dec 2013 05:00:00 +0000|
Join them tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST. The conversation will be hosted by PeaceJam and The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, and moderated by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Share your questions for the participants with #MandelaTribute. Tune in to celebrate the life of an individual who changed the world.
Posted by the Google Blog Team
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