Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
Through the Google lens: Search Trends August 28–September 3
September 4, 2015
With the long Labor Day weekend beckoning, we’ll spare you the introduction and dive right into the past week of search trends.
Party at the VMAs
It’s been nearly a week since it all went down, but given the number of trending topics related to the Sunday evening spectacle known as the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, we feel almost obligated to recap how it played out on Search. So, here are the highlights: bizarre but wonderful host Miley Cyrus pulled in a cool
5 million searches
, while her
with Nicki Minaj (which may or may not have been planned) got another
. Kanye West accepted the show’s highest honor—
the Michael Jackson Vanguard Award
—in a rambling 13-minute speech (during which he may or may not have committed to running for president in 2020), racking up more than
Justin Bieber cried while
his new single, “What Do You Mean,” inspiring 500,000+ searches for the performance and another 500,000+ for the song; and finally, Taylor Swift—no stranger
to VMA drama
featuring Kanye West and acceptance speeches, as well as
public spats with Nicki Minaj
—premiered her video for “Wildest Dreams,” (
wanted to know more). For more trends from the show (and to find out which of these artists claimed the “Most Searched” title), check out the
Kentucky courthouse drama
A Kentucky county clerk found new notoriety this week, appearing in Hot Trends not just
. Kim Davis has repeatedly refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claiming it would infringe on her religious beliefs. Multiple couples sued her, and Judge David L. Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses. Finally, after her request for a stay from the Supreme Court was
, yesterday Davis was held in contempt of court. With Davis in jail, her deputies
began issuing licenses
to couples today. As the saga played out in Rowan County, people turned to the web with
ranging from “What religion is Kim Davis?” and “What law did Kim Davis break?” to
more broad questions
like “Why do we need marriage licenses?” and “How long have there been marriage licenses in the U.S.?”
The days are getting shorter (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) and the long Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. In the U.S., people have turned to the web to learn more about the origins of Labor Day and to ask an important fashion question: “Why can’t you wear white after Labor Day?” Our advice:
don’t let anyone tell you you can’t
Autumn may make some melancholy, but for football fans it’s a time to rejoice. Tomorrow marks the first college football Saturday of the season, and searchers are gearing up in anticipation. Yesterday’s Michigan game against Utah drew
as people looked to find more about the game. As the debut game for new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, expectations were high, but deflated (see below) when Utah won 24-17. But it’s Michigan rival—and defending national champs—Ohio State that lit up the scoreboard as the most searched team over the past month:
Finally, though the NFL season doesn’t officially start until next Thursday, the league is in the news after Patriots QB Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for “Deflategate” was overturned. Brady was the
top trend Thursday
, with 1 million searches, as people asked
like “Is Tom Brady suspended?” and “What does ‘nullified’ mean?”
Posted by Emily Wood, who searched this week for [elena ferrante vanity fair]
Google Docs and Classroom: your school year sidekicks
September 2, 2015
School’s in! As you settle into your classes and start to juggle soccer practice, club meetings and homework, we’re here to help. We’ve been spending the summer “break” creating new tools to help you save time, collaborate with classmates and create your best work—all for free.
Schoolwork, minus the work
Writing papers is now a lot easier with the
Docs for Android
. You can search Google without leaving Docs, and once you find the quotes, facts or images you’re looking for, you can add them to your document with just a couple taps. That means less time switching between apps, and more time perfecting your thesis statement.
, you can record ideas or even compose an entire essay without touching your keyboard. To get started, activate Voice typing in the Tools menu when you're using
in Chrome. Then, when you’re on the go, just tap the microphone button on your phone’s keyboard and speak your mind. Voice typing is available in more than 40 languages, so we can help with your French homework, too. Voilà!
Do more, together
We’ve made it easier for you to tell what was added or deleted in
—and who made the changes. Now when you’ve left a document and you come back to it later, you can just click “
See new changes
” to pick up right where your classmates left off.
Forms helps you get a lot of information easily and in one place—so when you want to vote on your class field trip or collect T-shirt sizes for your team, you don’t have to sort through dozens of emails. With the new
, you can survey with style—choose one of the colorful new themes or customize your form with your own photo or logo, and we’ll choose the right color palette to match. Easily insert images, GIFs or videos and pick from a
selection of question formats
. Then send out your survey and watch as the responses roll in!
Your best work, your best you
Creating presentations, crafting newsletters and managing your team’s budget is hard enough without having to worry about making everything look good. With the new collection of
templates in Docs
, you can focus on your content while we make sure it gets the expert polish it deserves. Choose from a wide variety of reports, portfolios, resumes and other pre-made
designed to make your work that much better, and your life that much easier.
Explore in Sheets
, you can now spend less time trying to decipher your data, and more time making a point.
creates charts and insights automatically, so you can visualize trends and understand your data in seconds on the web or on your
. It’s like having an expert analyst right by your side.
Mission control, for teachers and students
A year ago, we launched
to save teachers and students time and make it easier to keep classwork organized. Today we’re launching a
Share to Classroom Chrome extension
to make it easy for teachers to share a website with the entire class at the same time—no matter what kind of laptop students have. Now the whole class can head to a web page together, without losing precious minutes and focus to typos.
Rock this school year with Google Docs and Classroom. Your first assignment? Try these new features, which are rolling out today.
Posted by Ritcha Ranjan, Product Manager
Google’s look, evolved
September 1, 2015
Google has changed a lot over the past 17 years—from the range of our products to the evolution of their look and feel. And today we’re changing things up once again:
So why are we doing this now? Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC. These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices—sometimes all in a single day. You expect Google to help you whenever and wherever you need it, whether it’s on your mobile phone, TV, watch, the dashboard in your car, and yes, even a desktop!
Today we’re introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you’ll see, we’ve taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).
It doesn’t simply tell you that you’re using Google, but also shows you how Google is working for you. For example, new elements like a colorful Google mic help you identify and interact with Google whether you’re talking, tapping or typing. Meanwhile, we’re bidding adieu to the little blue “g” icon and replacing it with a four-color “G” that matches the logo.
This isn’t the first time we’ve changed our look and it probably won’t be the last, but we think today’s update is a great reflection of all the ways Google works for you across Search, Maps, Gmail, Chrome and many others. We think we’ve taken the best of Google (simple, uncluttered, colorful, friendly), and recast it not just for the Google of today, but for the Google of the future.
You’ll see the new design roll out across our products soon. Hope you enjoy it!
Posted by Tamar Yehoshua, VP, Product Management & Bobby Nath, Director of User Experience
Google has changed a lot over the past 17 years—from the range of our products to the evolution of their look and feel. And today we’re changing things up once again.
Android Wear now works with iPhones
August 31, 2015
Editor's note: As of September 2, you can check out
from Huawei, ASUS, and Motorola that all work with iPhones.
When you wear something every day, you want to be sure it really works for you. That’s why
offers countless design choices, so you can find the watch that fits your style. Want a round watch with a more classic look? Feel like a new watch band? How about changing things up every day with watch faces from artists and designers? With Android Wear you can do all of that. And now, Android Wear watches work with iPhones.
Android Wear for iOS
is rolling out today. Just pair your iPhone (iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6, or 6 Plus running iOS 8.2+) with an Android Wear watch to bring simple and helpful information right to your wrist:
Get your info at a glance:
Check important info like phone calls, messages, and notifications from your favorite apps. Android Wear features always-on displays, so you’ll never have to move your wrist to wake up your watch.
Follow your fitness:
Set fitness goals, and get daily and weekly views of your progress. Your watch automatically tracks walking and running, and even measures your heart rate.
Save time with smart help:
Receive timely tips like when to leave for appointments, current traffic info, and flight status. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions like “Is it going to rain in London tomorrow?” or create to-dos with “Remind me to pack an umbrella.”
Today, Android Wear for iOS works with the
LG Watch Urbane
. All future Android Wear watches, including those from Huawei (pictured above), ASUS, and Motorola will also support iOS, so stay tuned for more.
Dr. Seuss once said: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” We agree. So whoever You are, and whatever You like—Android Wear lets you wear what you want.
Posted by David Singleton, Director of Engineering, Android Wear
Through the Google lens: Search Trends August 21-27
August 28, 2015
The terrible images from the WDBJ shooting in Virginia dominated Google searches over the last few days. Here's a look back at the week in search.
A small TV station in Roanoke, Va., is reeling after two of its journalists were shot and killed live on air Wednesday morning. Police identified the gunman as a
for the station, and if his horrible crime was designed for maximum shock and attention, it worked. Searches for Bryce Williams—the on-air name former employee Vester Flanagan went by—ran into the
tens of millions
as people looked for information and video of what had happened.
Searches in the path of the storm
Thursday marked 10 years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, but searchers in the U.S. over the last 48 hours have been looking ahead to another storm. Today, news outlets are
that Tropical Storm Erika has already been responsible for deaths in the Caribbean island of Dominica. As
declared a state of emergency ahead of Erika’s predicted U.S. landfall Monday, the city of Hialeah in South Florida is the top of the list of cities searching for information on the storm. But whether the storm searches are coming from the U.S. or the Caribbean, “
” and related terms are up more than 1000 percent this week.
Reading the search tea leaves on Swift, Minaj and Styles
Get out the popcorn. MTV’s annual Video Music Awards is coming up this Sunday, and all eyes will be on Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj following their
Twitter spat over nominations for Music Video of the Year. We turned to search to see if trends could show us whether people are leaning Team Swift or Team Minaj headed into the weekend. Tay-Tay’s music video “Blank Space” is in the lead in the Best Female Video category, followed by Minaj’s “Anaconda.” Though “Anaconda” was not nominated for Music Video of the Year—a category that Swift also leads for “Bad Blood,” according to Google searches—Minaj is top of the search pile in the Best Hip Hop Video category.
In other music news, a report that One Direction will be parting ways up brought a
200,000 search spike
earlier in the week. “Are One Direction splitting up?” (perhaps we should make that “ARE ONE DIRECTION SPLITTING UP??!?! :(:(:(”) was the top search question, before the band clarified they are actually just taking a break. As former band member Zayn Malik has already decided to go solo, we read the search tea leaves to see what kind of popularity the current members have should the band, well, disband. Most likely to launch a successful solo career based on search buzz? Harry Styles is the resounding winner, taking a whopping 60 percent of the 1D searches. Our advice for Liam Payne: at 1 percent, don’t give up your day job.
Posted by Abbi Tatton, who searched this week for [roanoke va]
Improving Public Alerts for hurricane season
August 27, 2015
Ten years ago,
ravaged the Gulf Coast of the United States, flooding cities, displacing thousands of people, and causing billions of dollars worth of damage. It is the costliest natural disaster, and one of the deadliest hurricanes, in U.S. history.
After rescue efforts began in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, some Googlers wondered how they could connect people with useful information and resources related to the storm. With the help of many third-party organizations, small groups of our employees worked to display
of affected areas in Google Earth and helped build
so people could check on the safety of friends and loved ones. These early efforts later became some of the standard actions taken today by the
Google Crisis Response Team
following natural disasters, from hurricanes to earthquakes to tsunamis.
As the U.S. enters hurricane season again, Katrina remains a stark reminder of the devastation a storm like that can cause. We want to be as prepared and as helpful as possible for the next one—no matter where it hits, or how big it is. So we’re always working to improve our
efforts to help people stay safe and informed during these events.
With that in mind, we've launched some improvements to weather forecasts and
in Google Search to track storms during this year's U.S. hurricane season. Now, when you search the web for information about particular
or tornadoes, you may see:
A map showing your location in relation to the oncoming storm
Visualizations of its forecasted track, wind severity and arrival time, courtesy of
Concise instructions for preparing and staying safe, customized for the estimated intensity of the storm and its arrival time relative to your location, from
The safety recommendations you receive will be tailored to reflect the current status of the event and your context. For example, if you search for a specific storm when it’s still several days away, you may see a map of the developing weather event and a recommendation to start preparing an emergency kit. If the storm is only hours away from your location, you might receive a reminder to start charging your phone in case power goes out. And if you search when the storm is nearby, you'll get the most urgent information, like how to avoid injury from fast-moving water or flying debris.
Tropical storm alert with precise location, wind details and customized safety checklist. Improved tropical storm alerts like this will appear in Search on mobile and desktop.
Not every storm is as devastating as Katrina was, but they all have the potential to cause damage, disrupt lives, and uproot communities. By providing useful, accurate, early-warning information, we want to do our part to help people prepare. More information won’t stop natural disasters from occurring, but it can go a long way to keeping people safe, and in some cases, could even save lives.
Posted by Pete Giencke, GIS Data Engineer
New (School) Year resolutions with #GoogleEdu
August 25, 2015
The tradition of ringing in each New Year with resolutions (whether we stick to them or not) is always an opportunity to reflect and start the year ahead on the right foot. As students and teachers around the world return to campuses and classrooms this fall, we’re embarking on a different kind of fresh start: a New (School) Year. And we want to help you make the most of it. So we’ve put together a few resolution ideas, plus tips to help you stick to them. We’ve also made a resolution of our own: to bring the best of Google technology to education.
The best of Google, for education
Like many resolutions, ours might sound familiar—and that’s because the
Google for Education
team has been working on it for a while. Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time with teachers and students, witnessing firsthand how technology is helping in the classroom and learning about challenges that are yet unsolved. With feedback from schools, we’ve improved products like Google Apps for Education and Docs, building in new features specifically useful for education. We’ve also created new learning experiences like
—a sort of mission control for teachers and students, offering a single place to keep track of all class materials, eliminating paperwork and making it easy for teachers to collaborate with students, and students to collaborate with each other.
So as part of our resolution this school year, we’re launching some
new features in Google Classroom
. Teachers can now easily ask students questions in Classroom, alongside all the other class materials in the stream. Teachers also told us that they want more ways for students to engage with each other, and flex their critical thinking muscles. So now students can comment on each other’s answers in Classroom and have open-ended discussions. In the next month, we'll also make it possible for teachers to add assignments, due dates and field trips to a shared calendar.
So what’s your resolution?
We’re sure you’ve already set some big goals for the year ahead—from acing AP Bio to landing that killer internship. Whatever your plans, it can be tough to stick with those goals once assignments and social commitments start to pile up. So we’ve collected
from more than 15 Google products to help you follow through with your resolutions. Here are some ideas:
Resolution 1. Get (and stay) organized
When you’re bogged down by clutter, it can be tough to get stuff done. Make this your year to be more organized. Never miss another study group with help from
to keep all your classmates' info in one place, and better manage your inbox by emailing everyone at once with a
Resolution 2. Get (mentally) fit
Push yourself to take your studies to the next level. Teach yourself how to code with
Made with Code
. Make the most of language class by saving your most used words and phrases with
magically translating webpages
with Google Chrome.
Resolution 3. Get some worldly perspective
Not studying abroad this year? No problem. You can still unleash your inner explorer with
Google Maps Treks
and visit the Pyramids of Giza or the Great Barrier Reef without leaving your room. Or bring your art history class to life by seeing those masterpieces up close and in perfect detail with
We hope these give you new ideas for how you can make this school year your best yet. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing more tips and other updates—so follow along with
. We’ll be doing our homework to stick to our resolution, so we can hopefully give you what you need to do the same. Now go hit those books!
Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google for Education
Over the last few years, we’ve spent a lot of time with teachers and students, witnessing firsthand how technology is helping in the classroom and learning about challenges that are yet unsolved.
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