Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2001: A search odyssey

Now that we're a decade old, we figured we're long overdue for some spring cleaning. We started digging around our basement and found all kinds of junk: old Swedish fish, pigeon poop, Klingon translation books. Amazingly enough, hidden in a corner beneath Larry's and Sergey's original lab coats, we found a vintage search index in mint condition. We dusted it off and took it for a spin, gobsmacked to see how different the web was in early 2001. "iPod" did not refer to a music player, "youtube" was nonsense, and if you were looking for "Michael Phelps," chances are you meant the scientist, not the swimmer. "Wikipedia" was brand new. Remember "hanging chads"? (And speaking of that election-specific reference -- if you're a U.S. citizen, it's not too late: please register to vote.)

We had so much fun searching that we wanted to put this old index online for everyone to play with. We thought it'd be even cooler if we could actually see the full versions of the old web pages, so we worked with the Internet Archive to link to their cache of these pages from 2001. Step into the time machine and try a 2001 Google search.

For more information on this search, please read our FAQ.

Your YouTube video: Hot or Not?

YouTube Insight has helped millions of you learn more about your YouTube videos and figure out when, where, and why your videos are popular. But what if you could learn not just which of your videos are hot on the site, but which specific parts of those videos are hotter than others? What if you could know exactly when viewers tend to leave your videos, or which scenes within a video they watch again and again?

This information is now available to all YouTube video uploaders with an innovative new feature for Insight called "Hot Spots." The Hot Spots tab in Insight plays your video alongside a graph that shows the ups-and-downs of viewership at different moments within the video. We determine "hot" and "cold" spots by comparing your video's abandonment rate at that moment to other videos on YouTube of the same length, and incorporating data about rewinds and fast-forwards. So what does that mean? Well, when the graph goes up, your video is hot: few viewers are leaving, and many are even rewinding on the control bar to see that sequence again. When the graph goes down, your content's gone cold: many viewers are moving to another part of the video or leaving the video entirely.

Here's an example of Hot Spots in action:


You can see that many viewers are not impressed with the dance moves of Michael Rucker, Associate Product Marketing Manager at YouTube; they're leaving the video at a faster than average rate almost immediately after the video begins. But the longer the video goes on, the more people tend to stay, generating a hot spot at the end of the video. Better late than never -- kudos, Rucker!

We think you'll find Hot Spots useful in several ways. For example, users can figure out which scenes in their videos are the "hottest" and edit those videos, or include well-timed annotations, to keep their audience more engaged. Partners might similarly create better content -- like more exciting promotional trailers -- for use on and off YouTube, and advertisers and agencies can study the effectiveness of their creative, to make sure they keep viewers' attention throughout an ad. Now that Insight shows what parts of videos viewers are watching and skipping, creators no longer have to play guessing games. YouTube, the world's largest focus group, provides them with answers. You can find this new feature under the "Hot Spots" tab within the Insight Dashboard.

As with all of Insight's features, we learn about the most creative examples from you. We can't wait to see what you come up with next.

The ONE News YouTube Election Debate in New Zealand

Over the course of the long U.S. Presidential election campaign, millions of people have checked out the candidates' YouTube Channels on our You Choose '08 platform, and communicated directly with all those running for President. Thousands more submitted questions for candidates in the CNN/YouTube debates, participated in our You Choose '08 Spotlight, or made videos for the Democratic and Republican conventions. Outside the U.S., YouTube has also become an important part of leveling the political playing field. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, the 2008 New Zealand general elections were called, with Kiwis going to the polls in early November.

Now, we're thrilled to announce the ONE News YouTube Election Debate between Helen Clark and John Key, a history-making initiative with New Zealand's public broadcaster, TVNZ. This marks the first time the head of a national government and a challenger will face YouTube video questions in an official live TV debate. The debate will be broadcast live on TV ONE on October 14.



If you're a Kiwi, head on over to the YouTube New Zealand blog for details on how to submit your own questions.

Posted by Steve Grove, YouTube News & Politics

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ten years and counting

The Google doodle tradition started a long time ago (in summer 1999, in fact) when Larry and Sergey put a stick figure on the homepage to signify that they were out of the office at Burning Man. Nothing against stick figures, but our logo designs have become rather more varied since then. Today you'll see a special design that commemorates our 10th birthday. We've incorporated a little bit of history by using the original Google logo from 1998. And since everyone keeps asking what we'd like for our birthday (besides cake and party hats) -- the first thing we thought of was a nice new server rack.



Update: Added image.

What would you ask Senators McCain and Obama?

Millions of Americans will be tuning in tonight for the first Presidential debate between Senator Obama and Senator McCain. Historically, the debates are led by a moderator from a prestigious news organization, asking questions to each candidate and leaving time for a rebuttal from the other. Tonight is no different, with the well-respected Jim Lehrer from PBS serving as the debate moderator.

While tonight's event will be exciting, many have argued that we should consider new ways for the candidates to debate. Technology has enabled a historic number of voters to learn from and participate in the election process -- something that was well illustrated by the CNN/YouTube debates.

While we're not officially part of the Commission of Presidential Debates, a few days ago we launched Google Moderator. It's a free tool which enables communities to submit and vote on questions for debates, presentations and events. This way, the best and most representative questions rise to the top.

One of the featured series on Google Moderator is U.S. Presidential Debates 2008 which, at the time of this writing, has 730 people already contributing 230 questions that have over 11,000 votes. Top questions submitted so far include:
  • Many Americans feel it's unfair to saddle taxpayers with the bailout of irresponsible Wall Street firms. What caused this mess and what is a fair solution which benefits the average American, not the executives who got us here in the first place? - Suggested by Doug H, Los Angeles, CA
  • What will be your single, top priority for your first 100 days in office? - Suggested by Shira, Pensacola, FL
  • What will you do to reduce the size or increase the efficiency of the US government? - Suggested by Dave M, Philadelphia, PA
Do these questions represent your concerns? What would you ask the Presidential candidates? Who knows, maybe NBC legend Tom Brokaw will have a look at what you're asking before he moderates the next Presidential debate on October 7th in Nashville!

Our position on California's No on 8 campaign

As an Internet company, Google is an active participant in policy debates surrounding information access, technology and energy. Because our company has a great diversity of people and opinions -- Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, all religions and no religion, straight and gay -- we do not generally take a position on issues outside of our field, especially not social issues. So when Proposition 8 appeared on the California ballot, it was an unlikely question for Google to take an official company position on.

However, while there are many objections to this proposition -- further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text -- it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 -- we should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.

Google Toolbar 5 now available in Firefox

A few months ago we launched several new features for Google Toolbar in Internet Explorer. Since then, we've received many emails asking us when we plan to support all our new features in Firefox.

Guess what: Starting today, you can download the latest version of Google Toolbar for Firefox, available in 29 languages. This new version is the first Toolbar launched out of our St. Petersburg, Russia office. It includes all the Toolbar features you know and love, such as Search, Bookmarks and Translate. When you install it, you can try out some of our newest features.

We don't like to play favorites among Toolbar's features, but it's hard not be wowed by Autofill. You can create several profiles with personal or business information including different addresses, email addresses and credit card details. So anytime you want to fill an online form, just click on Autofill and the right information will appear in the form automatically. All your information is safely stored only in your own computer, with your credit card numbers encrypted and protected by a password.


We also love Google Gadgets in Toolbar. Gadgets bring information from your favorite websites closer to you. For example, you can add the YouTube gadget to your Toolbar. When you want to have a quick break from work, click on the YouTube icon and search or view videos in a box that pops down from the Toolbar, without leaving the web page you are on. Close that box when you're done with it (or when your manager starts walking towards your cube). You can find the YouTube gadget and thousands of others in our gallery.


We look forward to get your feedback, or to hear your stories about the exciting ways you are using Toolbar's features. We hope that you enjoy the new Google Toolbar as much as our team enjoyed building it!

If you're interested in learning more about Google Toolbar, visit us at http://tools.google.com/firefox/toolbar/FT5 or check out our video:



Posted by Vladislav Kaznacheev, Head, St. Petersburg Engineering Office, and Igor Bazarny, Software Engineer, Toolbar team

Submitting your content to Google

We've talked a lot about our mission to organize the world's information and make it readily available to all, but we haven't spent as much time as we could helping others understand how they can participate in this endeavor. Last week we took two steps to address this: we updated the Submit Your Content site and we launched our Content Central blog. The goal of both of these resources is to inform and help the many organizations that distribute various types of content via Google Web Search, Maps, Product Search, Book Search, YouTube, iGoogle and more.

So whether you're a plumber, a map data provider, a local government, a major media company or a museum, we have a wealth of information available to help you reach your audience through Google. Comments are open on the blog -- we look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The next Internet

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

Historically, the Internet has been all about connectivity between computers and among people. The World Wide Web opened enormous opportunities and motivations for the injection of content into the Internet, and search engines, such as Google's, provided a way for people to find the right content for their interests. Of course, the Internet continues to develop: new devices will find their way onto the net and new ways to access it will evolve.

In the next decade, around 70% of the human population will have fixed or mobile access to the Internet at increasingly high speeds, up to gigabits per second. We can reliably expect that mobile devices will become a major component of the Internet, as will appliances and sensors of all kinds. Many of the things on the Internet, whether mobile or fixed, will know where they are, both geographically and logically. As you enter a hotel room, your mobile will be told its precise location including room number. When you turn your laptop on, it will learn this information as well--either from the mobile or from the room itself. It will be normal for devices, when activated, to discover what other devices are in the neighborhood, so your mobile will discover that it has a high resolution display available in what was once called a television set. If you wish, your mobile will remember where you have been and will keep track of RFID-labeled objects such as your briefcase, car keys and glasses. "Where are my glasses?" you will ask. "You were last within RFID reach of them while in the living room," your mobile or laptop will say.

The Internet will transform the video medium as well. From its largely programmed, scheduled and streamed delivery today, video will become an interactive medium in which the choice of content and advertising will be under consumer control. Product placement will become an opportunity for viewers to click on items of interest in the field of view to learn more about them including but not limited to commercial information. Hyperlinks will associate the racing scene in Star Wars I with the chariot race in Ben Hur. Conventional videoconferencing will be augmented by remotely controlled robots with an ability to move around, focus cameras and microphones, and perhaps even directly interact with the local environment under user control.

The Internet will also become more closely integrated with other parts of our daily lives, and it will change them accordingly. Power distribution grids, for example, will become a part of the Internet's information universe. We will be able to track and manage electrical power demand and our automobiles will participate in the generation as well as the consumption of electricity. By sharing information through the Internet about energy-consuming and energy-producing devices and systems, we will be able to make them more efficient.

A box of washing machine soap will become part of a service as Internet-enabled washing machines are managed by Web-based services that can configure and activate your washing machine. Scientific measurements and experimental results will be blogged and automatically entered into common data archives to facilitate the distribution, sharing and reproduction of experimental results. One might even imagine that scientific instruments could generate their own data blogs.

These are but a few examples of the way in which the Internet will continue to surround and serve us in the future. The flexibility we have seen in the Internet is a consequence of one simple observation: the Internet is essentially a software artifact. As we have learned in the past several decades, software is an endless frontier. There is no limit to what can be programmed. If we can imagine it, there's a good chance it can be programmed. The Internet of the future will be suffused with software, information, data archives, and populated with devices, appliances, and people who are interacting with and through this rich fabric.

And Google will be there, helping to make sense of it all, helping to organize and make everything accessible and useful.

Facts about our deal with Yahoo!

Some people have questions about our advertising agreement with Yahoo! and there are some misconceptions about it. So today we are putting facts about the deal on a new website to provide more information on the agreement and why it is good for consumers, advertisers and publishers. We'll be updating the site regularly, so check back when you have additional questions.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Adobe users get help with Google Site Search

"No man is an island," the old saying goes. The same could be said of software: in an always-online world, even traditional desktop applications can become richer, faster, and easier to use by connecting people to information and to each other, right within the apps themselves.

That's one of the things we thought about this week when we launched the Adobe Creative Suite 4, and why it seemed natural to work with Google to help customers search and find the information online they need to fully take advantage of the rich features Creative Suite offers.

Now for the first time, Creative Suite applications tap directly into the new Adobe Community Help powered by Google Site Search. Site Search enables us to selectively index only the most relevant information from the highest-quality community sites online. Our Google Site Search index includes content such as product help, TechNotes, Developer Connection articles, and Design Center tutorials, as well as the best online content from the Adobe
community.

What's the upshot? We've plugged the whole community brain trust right into the Suite and used the power of Google Site Search to do it. Creative Suite 4 customers can find fast, relevant information from our online communities, without ever having to leave their desktop work environments, making design faster and more fun. And because we've built the Adobe Flash Platform into the whole Suite, other developers can take these concepts even farther. This is just the start of great online integration to come.

Find out more about how Adobe is connecting customers to Adobe Community Help online from within Creative Suite 4.

Online safety tips from Google and AARP

Now more than ever before, older Americans are logging on and surfing the web to stay in touch with family and friends, read websites and blogs, share photos, watch videos, and run online businesses. Like all Internet users, they're sometimes faced with unsafe activity online, such as viruses and malware, and they're looking for resources to learn how to keep their information on the web safe, private, and under their control.

So we teamed up with AARP to launch a new video series that provides AARP members with helpful, easy-to-understand tips on how to stay safe online. It includes pointers on how to set privacy controls in online photo-sharing sites, configure firewalls to protect your computer, select safe and secure passwords for your online accounts, shop safely online, and avoid phishing scams. You can find the videos on AARP's online safety page, as well as on our Privacy Channel on YouTube.

Here's a look at the first video, Safe Starts:



Our team gave a sneak peek of the videos from our booth at the annual AARP member event, Life@50+, earlier this month. We received lots of great feedback from AARP members. Even the most computer-savvy members found the videos helpful, and most folks who stopped by were eager to share them with friends and family members who are just getting started online.

Check out the rest of the online safety video series. We hope the tips in these videos raise awareness among Internet users of all ages about how to stay safe online.

Update (12:06 p.m.): Nancy LeaMonde, AARP's Executive VP of Social Impact, just posted tips from the video series on AARP's blog.

Project 10^100

If you could suggest a unique idea that would help as many people as possible, what would it be?

It's a question worth considering. Never in history have so many people had so much information, so many tools at their disposal, so many ways of making good ideas come to life. Yet at the same time so many people (in all walks of life) could use some help, in small ways and big. In the midst of this, new studies are reinforcing the timeless wisdom that beyond a basic level of material wealth, the only thing that seems to increase individual happiness is... helping other people. In other words, help helps everybody.

But what would help, and what would be most helpful? We don't believe we have the answers, but we do believe the answers are out there. Maybe in a lab, or a company, or a university -- or maybe not. Maybe the answer that helps somebody is in your head, in something you've observed, some notion that you've been fiddling with, some small connection you've noticed, some old way of doing something that you've seen with new eyes.

To mark our 10th birthday and celebrate the spirit of our users and the web, we're launching Project 10^100 (that's "ten to the hundredth") a call for ideas that could help as many people as possible, and a program to bring the best of those ideas to life. CNN will be covering this project, including profiles of ideas and the people who submit them from around the world. For a deeper look, follow along at Impact Your World.

Ideas are due by October 20, 2008. Get started submitting your own ideas, and come back on January 27th to vote on ideas from others. We hope you feel inspired enough to try. Good luck, and may the ones who help the most win.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This year's Faculty Summit

Recently we hosted more than 90 distinguished faculty members from roughly 60 North American universities to the Googleplex for the 4th Annual North American Faculty Summit.

This annual event is both an opportunity for us to showcase our latest research and products, and a chance to deepen our relationship with the academic community. Faculty have the chance to network with colleagues and students-turned-Googlers, and to learn about opportunities for collaboration with Google.

Some of this year's highlights:
  • Roundtables - small group discussions with senior engineers
  • API demos - introducing applications of our most popular APIs: Google Data, Open Social, Geo, and Android
  • A technical panel I hosted, "Computing at Scale: Challenges and Opportunities" - comprised of Googlers Rob Pike and Urs Hoelzle as well as Jeanette Wing, Assistant Director for Computer & Information Science and Engineering (CISE) at the National Science Foundation, and Ed Lazowska, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Washington
  • Visits from our CEO, Eric Schmidt, who dropped by the opening cocktail reception, plus founders Larry & Sergey, who mingled at the reception and conducted the closing Q&A
You can watch videos of the talks on our University Relations website.

Wiping out the next smallpox

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

It took more than a village: it took the entire world -- people of all races, countries and religions -- to eradicate smallpox. The final naturally occurring cases of "Variola major" in Bangladesh in 1978 and "Variola minor" in Somalia in 1977 marked the end to a chain of suffering and early death dating back to the Biblical plagues, and to Pharoah Ramses, who died from the very same disease. Since then we have continued to face countless pandemics -- the Black Death, cholera, and now bird flu, SARS, HIV/AIDS and a new generation of zoonotic diseases -- diseases that, often because of changes in population or climate, jump from animals to humans. We can't be sure where the next smallpox will emerge, but we can be sure that it will take an effort larger than any single person or organization to defeat it.

Today there are some real heroes working to check off two more diseases from the list. The World Health Organization has led the charge against the highly infectious disease of polio. Along with UNICEF and dozens of NGOs, and millions of national and local health workers, members of Rotary International and volunteers from moms to Mullahs have stepped up to the plate and contained polio so that hundreds, not millions, of kids are paralyzed annually, but we cannot consider the case closed until we erase the last case, in the last country. The Carter Center has also accomplished a tremendous feat by leading the effort to shrink the cases of Guinea worm to the tens of thousands from the millions. Just as it took 150,000 health workers -- the world's unsung heroes -- to make one billion house calls in India searching for hidden cases of smallpox, it will take collaboration on a global scale to track and eliminate the next pandemic.

There is no Nobel Prize for "Preventing a Pandemic," and the hardest part about working in this field is imagining the unimaginable. What will be the next SARS, the next ebola, the next H5N1 bird flu? Epidemiologists try to "out think" the massive numbers of permutations and combinations that may give rise to the newest threat to our lives. Chances are a microbe capable of sweeping the globe will emerge in the next decade or two, and chances are it will cross to humans from an animal host (as did SARS, the Spanish flu, and HIV/AIDS). We need new ways to find these emerging threats earlier in the process, before thousands are infected and the epidemic spirals out of control.

Google.org's Predict and Prevent initiative is working with partners to use digital, genomic and IT technology to identify "hot spots" of emerging threats and provide early warning before they become global crises. When you're fighting a pandemic, early detection and early response can be the difference between dozens and hundreds of millions infected. What better birthday present could we offer the world after our 20th year, than to say we joined hands with a global movement and helped prevent the next smallpox?

The first Android-powered phone

Today, T-Mobile announced the world's first Android-powered phone. This marks an important milestone in the young history of Android. It was less than a year ago, on November 5, that the Open Handset Alliance, a group of more than 30 technology and mobile companies, announced plans to create a complete mobile platform that would facilitate the development of advanced mobile applications and give users the best the web has to offer on a mobile device.

Software developers are key to driving innovation on the web, and also for mobile. That's why, over the past year, we've released several early versions of the Software Developer Kit (SDK) and worked with developers from around the world to make it better and more complete. This has culminated in today's release of the Android 1.0 SDK R1. Through the SDK, developers have unprecedented access to the hardware and software capabilities of the device, enabling them to innovate freely. More than 1,700 applications were developed as part of the Android Developer Challenge. Google engineers have also been busy developing Android applications. Many of our products (Search, Gmail, and Maps, among others) are available on a wide range of phones such as the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile devices, and many more. Today, they're also available on Android, and you can check out the Google Mobile blog for more details.

But there's more to the Android story. Not only does it allow all applications open access to the phone's functionality; the platform itself will also be open. The Open Handset Alliance has announced its intention to open source the entire Android platform by the end of the year. Along with the other members of the Alliance, we hope that Android can provide a meaningful contribution to all players in the mobile ecosystem: the developers, the wireless carriers, the handset manufacturers, etc. Everyone will be free to adopt and adapt the technology as they see fit. By doing so, we hope that users will get better, more capable phones with powerful web browsers and access to a rich catalogue of innovative mobile applications.

Developers will soon be able to distribute their applications to real handsets through the beta version of Android Market. Handset manufacturers and wireless carriers will be able to incorporate Android innovations into their own new handsets and service offerings. And users will get better handsets and more choice. We think it's another step towards realizing the full potential of the mobile phone.

NYC transit directions have arrived

Today I'm happy to report we've taken a giant step in bringing public transit information to Google Maps. We've just added comprehensive transit info for the entire New York metro region, encompassing subway, commuter rail, bus and ferry services from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New Jersey Transit and the City of New York. That means this information is now at the fingertips of the more than 20 million people who live in and around New York (not to mention the millions of people who visit the region every year). The MTA is the largest transportation agency in the U.S., serving one in every three users of mass transit in the country.

Transit is a vital part of the infrastructure that makes cities run efficiently, and can help mitigate congestion, environmental concerns, and increasing energy costs. But until recently, access to that information has been more difficult than it needs to be. Even very prominent train and subway stations were often omitted entirely from maps in many cases. And as for bus lines, well, forget about it! This lead us to the fundamental goal of the Google Transit project: make public transit information as easy to find as any other geographic information.

We can only achieve this goal if we work closely with transit agencies around the globe to bring accurate and comprehensive transit information to everyone. Our role in this partnership is to bring all of this information together and make it easy to search and browse in interfaces that are simple, consistent and readily available.

Thinking about the magnitude of today's launch, I can't help but think about how far we've come towards reaching our goal. It's been nearly two years to the day since I posted about the expansion of the Google Transit trip planner (we added five more cities to our initial single-city launch in Portland, Oregon). And in that post I included some statistics about how many people lived in a city covered by our product. At the time, our coverage was 6 U.S. cities. Now we cover more than 170 cities and countries across the globe, including about 70 cities in North America and 81 in China, plus cities in Europe and Australia and national coverage of Japan, Switzerland and Austria. And the number of people served annually by agencies was at about 6 million. Now it's hard to count precisely, but the number is at least at several hundred million (wow!).

I would like to personally thank everyone at the agencies for their incredible level of enthusiasm for and commitment to the best interests of their riders.

And to the riders: have fun! I hope you like the product as much as I do, and that it helps you get out and explore the world. To learn more about transit info in New York, head to maps.google.com/nyc.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Book Search spreads its wings with new partnerships and tools

You probably know that you can use Google Book Search to search the full text of books -- and that, thanks to universal search, you can find many of these books doing a regular Google search as well.

Today, we're announcing a new set of partnerships and tools to bring even more books to the people who are looking for them. We've partnered with booksellers like Books-a-Million, Buy.com, and Borders.com to allow their customers to browse previews of books right on the retailer's website. We've also extended this functionality to libraries, publishers, and social book sites like GoodReads. And, to make sure we didn't miss anyone, we're releasing a powerful set of APIs, which make it easier for web developers and site owners to enable this functionality on their own sites, as well.

To read more, head on over to the Google Book Search blog.

Building a future that's clean and green

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

At Grist.org they have a saying about climate change: "A frog in water doesn't feel it boil in time. Dude, we are that frog."

It isn't very Googley to stand on the sidelines – whether the challenge involves search, apps, or clean energy. So we're working to be part of the solution. Specifically, we have embraced the challenge of developing a gigawatt of renewable electricity that is cheaper than electricity from coal – in years, not decades.(We call it RE<C. Not only is it a cool, nerdy name for the project, it breaks HTML pages everywhere.)

In ten years, we envision a cleaner, greener world -- running on wind, solar, and steam - with clean cars plugged into a clean grid. But for that vision to become real, the technologies to power it will have to be economically competitive -- otherwise they won't scale. So we are focusing much of our effort on technology innovation to drive down the costs of key renewable technologies. We are fundamentally optimists -- we believe that when innovative people focus on the right problems, they can find solutions. And when renewable energy is cheaper than fossil-based alternatives, and when plug-in hybrids are as cheap as traditional cars, they will take off in the marketplace.

Our company founders, Larry and Sergey, are engineers and when they encouraged our team to tackle this issue we knew they would prefer a technological approach. This summer, we welcomed at our Mountain View headquarters the first Google engineers dedicated exclusively to exploring the development of utility-scale clean energy at a price cheaper than coal.

But we need a thousand groups of engineers focused on developing renewable energy - not just the team we're building at Google. That means we need government to set the right incentives and regulatory environment to foster clean energy innovation and R&D. Our team is also working to advance a policy agenda that stimulates clean energy projects.

We're getting the word out about tax credits, government research funding, renewable portfolio standards, and the limitations of our current transmission grid. Our philanthropic arm is doing its part too. The climate team at Google.org is working to complement the work of our engineering team with grants and investments in clean energy projects. To date, we've invested over $45 million in breakthrough technologies like solar thermal, advanced wind, and enhanced geothermal systems.

It will take the concerted efforts of many -- but dude, we don't need to be that frog.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Now, read us in gadget form

Our corporate blog network is more than four years old now. We offer blogs about Google products and initiatives, local blogs (for 11 countries), blogs for advertisers and publishers, and a stable of blogs for developers. We hope you find the contents to be informative, timely, and, on occasion, fun.

To help you keep track of our news and updates more easily, we've created a new Blog Directory (which links from the main page on this blog) and an iGoogle gadget so you can stay current right from your dashboard. If you'd prefer to read recent posts by category, install our iGoogle blog tab (the customizable tab will load upon clicking), which will always show you the most recent blog updates by categories such as 'Open Source,' 'Mobile' or 'Publishers.' There are 16 categories, so you can pick and choose which ones to keep on your page after adding.

Software engineer Derek Collison built the gadget using the AJAX APIs. The current version is in beta; we plan to use the Language API to roll out translations for the blogs in 13 languages other than English and add new interface and navigation options. Developer Ben Lisbakken built the tab, and webmaster extraordinaire Champika Fernando built the directory with help from graphic designer Ryan Germick. A heartfelt thanks for all of their contributions in making our blog family more 'universally accessible and useful.'

The democratization of data

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

Information technology has enabled the "democratization of data:" information that once was available to only a select few is now available to everyone. This is particularly true for small businesses.

Fifteen years ago, only the big retailers could afford intelligent cash registers that tracked inventory and produced detailed daily reports. Nowadays cash registers are just PCs with a different user interface, and the smallest mom and pop retailer can track sales and inventory on a daily basis.

A decade ago, only the big multinational corporations could afford systems to allow for international calling, videoconferencing, and document sharing. Now startups with a handful of people can use voice over IP, video, wikis and Google Docs to share information. These technological advances have led to the rise of "micro multinationals" which can leverage creativity and talent across the globe. Even tiny companies can now have a worldwide reach.

These changes will have a profound effect on the global economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, "small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all firms, they create more than half of the private nonfarm gross domestic product, and they create 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs." Information technology has already had a huge effect on the productivity of large businesses, but the benefits from "trickle down productivity" may be even more significant.

We think that Google can play a significant role in helping small businesses utilize the power of information technology. Our search technology provides answers to questions that only companies with large research libraries could answer decades ago. Our advertising programs allow small business to sell their wares to consumers around the world, as well as providing revenue opportunities for small publishers. Google Docs provides productivity tools for remote collaboration.

Google also provides data for business intelligence that only large companies were able to afford a few years ago. For example, Google Trends can help businesses track the popularity of specific queries, enabling them to identify new business opportunities. Website Optimizer allows businesses to test different versions of a website to see which one works best. Rather than waiting a month for a sales report, businesses can instantly learn of spikes in traffic to their website using Trends for Websites. All these services are available for free, allowing even the smallest businesses to make use of these tools.

Technology available to large firms has traditionally trickled down to smaller enterprises, making it relatively easy to forecast the sorts of capabilities will become available to small businesses in the future. We just have to ask: what can big companies do now that small companies can't currently afford?
  • Today, only the largest companies can afford to hire consultants and experts. In the future, even small companies will be able to purchase on-demand expertise and other services via the Internet.
  • Today, marketing intelligence are costly reports describing data many months or years old. In the future, small businesses will have access to real-time data on market conditions.
  • Today, only the largest companies can run expensive experiments with their advertising campaigns. In the future, even small business will be able to run carefully controlled marketing experiments that will enable them to better reach their potential customers.
  • Today, only large companies can sell products in many countries. Tomorrow, businesses of any size can use online services and outsourced logistics to buy and sell in every corner of the globe.
Google will be a part of this global economy, helping both large and small companies to grow their markets and manage their information. Exciting times are ahead!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The future of mobile

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

There are currently about 3.2 billion mobile subscribers in the world, and that number is expected to grow by at least a billion in the next few years. Today, mobile phones are more prevalent than cars (about 800 million registered vehicles in the world) and credit cards (only 1.4 billion of those). While it took 100 years for landline phones to spread to more than 80% of the countries in the world, their wireless descendants did it in 16. And fewer teens are wearing watches now because they use their phones to tell time instead (somewhere Chester Gould is wondering how he got it backwards). So it's safe to say that the mobile phone may be the most prolific consumer product ever invented.

However, have you ever considered just exactly how powerful these ubiquitous devices are? The phone that you have in your pocket, pack, or handbag is probably ten times more powerful than the PC you had on your desk only 8 or 9 years ago (assuming you even had a PC; most mobile users never have). It has a range of sensors that would do a martian lander proud: a clock, power sensor (how low is that battery?), thermometer (because batteries charge poorly at low temperatures), and light meter (to determine screen backlighting) on the more basic phones; a location sensor, accelerometer (detects vector and velocity of motion), and maybe even a compass on more advanced ones. And most importantly, it is by its very nature always connected.

Project out these trends another ten years. You will be carrying with you, 24x7 (a recent study of Chinese mobile customers showed that the majority of them sleep within a meter of their phones), a very powerful, always connected, sensor-rich device. And the cool thing is, so will everyone else. So what are you going to do with it that you aren't doing now? Here are some possibilities:

Smart alerts: Your phone will be smart about your situation and alert you when something needs your attention. This is already happening today -- eBay can text you when you've been outbid, and alert services (such as Google News) can deliver news, sports, or stock updates to you. In the future these applications will get smarter, patiently monitoring your personalized preferences (which will be stored in the network cloud) and delivering only the information you desire. One very useful scenario: your phone knows that you are heading downtown for dinner, and alerts you of transit conditions or the best places to park.

Augmented reality: Your phone uses its arsenal of sensors to understand your situation and provide you information that might be useful. For example, do you really want to know how much is that doggy in the window? Your phone, with its GPS and compass, knows what you are looking at, so it can tell you before you even ask. Plus, what breed it is and the best way to train him.

Crowd sourcing goes mainstream: Your phone is your omnipresent microphone to the world, a way to publish pictures, emails, texts, Twitters, and blog entries. When everyone else is doing the same, you have a world where people from every corner of the planet are covering their experiences in real-time. That massive amount of content gets archived, sorted, and re-deployed to other people in new and interesting ways. Ask the web for the most interesting sites in your vicinity, and your phone shows you reviews and pictures that people have uploaded of nearby attractions. Like what you see? It will send you directions on how to get there.

Sensors everywhere: Your phone knows a lot about the world around you. If you take that intelligence and combine it in the cloud with that of every other phone, we have an incredible snapshot of what is going on in the world right now. Weather updates can be based on not hundreds of sensors, but hundreds of millions. Traffic reports can be based not on helicopters and road sensors, but on the density, speed, and direction of the phones (and people) stuck in the traffic jams.

Tool for development: Your phone may be more than just a convenience, it may be your livelihood. Already, this is true for people in many parts of the world: in southern India, fishermen use text messaging to find the best markets for their daily catch, in South Africa, sugar farmers can receive text messages advising them on how much to irrigate their crops, and throughout sub-Saharan Africa entrepreneurs with mobile phones become phone operators, bringing communications to their villages. These innovations will only increase in the future, as mobile phones become the linchpin for greater economic development.

The future-proof device: Your phone will open up, as the Internet already has, so it will be easy for developers to create or improve applications and content. The ones that you care about get automatically installed on your phone. Let's say you have a piece of software on your phone to improve power management (and therefore battery life). Let's say a developer makes an improvement to the software. The update gets automatically installed on your phone, without you lifting a finger. Your phone actually gets better over time.

Safer software through trust and verification: Your phone will provide tools and information to empower you to decide what to download, what to see, and what to share. Trust is the most important currency in the always connected world, and your phone will help you stay in control of your information. You may choose to share nothing at all (the default mode), or just share certain things with certain people -- your circle of trusted friends and family. You'll make these decisions based on information you get from the service and software providers, and the collective ratings of the community as well. Your phone is like your trusted valet: it knows a lot about you, and won't disclose an iota of it without your OK.

Now, if we can just train it to do your laundry ...

Changes in Phoenix

At Google, engineering is everything - no great engineers, no life enhancing products, no happy users. So we've spent a lot of time structuring our engineering operations to make the most of the exceptional talent that's available across America - developing local centers that give engineers the autonomy and opportunity to be truly innovative. These principles have served us well as we've grown, so when the model fails, it's doubly disappointing.

We opened our Phoenix office in 2006 and hoped that it would develop to support many of our internal engineering projects, the systems that make Google, well, Google. But we've found that despite everyone's best efforts, the projects our engineers have been working on in Arizona have been, and remain, highly fragmented. So after a lot of soul searching we have decided to incorporate work on these projects into teams elsewhere at Google. We will therefore be closing our Arizona office on November 21, 2008.

We'd like to thank everyone involved in this project for their energy and enthusiasm: our engineers; the engineering community in Arizona; Arizona State University; the city of Tempe; and the greater Phoenix area. We are now working with the Phoenix Googlers to transition them to other locations, or to identify other opportunities for them at Google.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Google in one more language

As we've written before, one of our goals is to enable everyone using Google to find the information they want easily, no matter what language they speak.

It recently came to our attention that Google was not accessible to a large, influential, and notoriously quick-tempered community: Pirates. As of today we are proud and rather relieved to announce that Google Search is available in Pirate.

As you can see from this graph of the popularity of related searches from past years, we have reason to believe that this might be a timely addition:


If ye're a gentleman or lady o' fortune yerself — or just want t' talk like one — ye c'n set Pirate as yer preferred lingo usin' th' Likes an' Dislikes page, or cast yer deadlights on an example.

The intelligent cloud

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors

In coming years, computer processing, storage, and networking capabilities will continue up the steeply exponential curve they have followed for the past few decades. By 2019, parallel-processing computer clusters will be 50 to 100 times more powerful in most respects. Computer programs, more of them web-based, will evolve to take advantage of this newfound power, and Internet usage will also grow: more people online, doing more things, using more advanced and responsive applications. By any metric, the "cloud" of computational resources and online data and content will grow very rapidly for a long time.

As we're already seeing, people will interact with the cloud using a plethora of devices: PCs, mobile phones and PDAs, and games. But we'll also see a rush of new devices customized to particular applications, and more environmental sensors and actuators, all sending and receiving data via the cloud. The increasing number and diversity of interactions will not only direct more information to the cloud, they will also provide valuable information on how people and systems think and react.

Thus, computer systems will have greater opportunity to learn from the collective behavior of billions of humans. They will get smarter, gleaning relationships between objects, nuances, intentions, meanings, and other deep conceptual information. Today's Google search uses an early form of this approach, but in the future many more systems will be able to benefit from it.

What does this mean to Google? For starters, even better search. We could train our systems to discern not only the characters or place names in a YouTube video or a book, for example, but also to recognize the plot or the symbolism. The potential result would be a kind of conceptual search: "Find me a story with an exciting chase scene and a happy ending." As systems are allowed to learn from interactions at an individual level, they can provide results customized to an individual's situational needs: where they are located, what time of day it is, what they are doing. And translation and multi-modal systems will also be feasible, so people speaking one language can seamlessly interact with people and information in other languages.

The impact of such systems will go well beyond Google. Researchers across medical and scientific fields can access massive data sets and run analysis and pattern detection algorithms that aren't possible today. The proposed Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), for example, may generate over 15 terabytes of new data per day! Virtually any research field will benefit from systems with the ability to gather, manipulate, and learn from datasets at that scale.

Traditionally, systems that solve complicated problems and queries have been called "intelligent", but compared to earlier approaches in the field of 'artificial intelligence', the path that we foresee has important new elements. First of all, this system will operate on an enormous scale with an unprecedented computational power of millions of computers. It will be used by billions of people and learn from an aggregate of potentially trillions of meaningful interactions per day. It will be engineered iteratively, based on a feedback loop of quick changes, evaluation, and adjustments. And it will be built based on the needs of solving and improving concrete and useful tasks such as finding information, answering questions, performing spoken dialogue, translating text and speech, understanding images and videos, and other tasks as yet undefined. When combined with the creativity, knowledge, and drive inherent in people, this "intelligent cloud" will generate many surprising and significant benefits to mankind.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shelter from the storm

Following last week's landfall of Hurricane Ike, thousands of Gulf Coast residents remain without shelter, and millions more are without electricity. As the Gulf slowly recovers from the powerful Category 2 storm, organizations such as the American Red Cross have stepped up efforts to provide relief for those most affected by the storm. For these individuals, the Red Cross has set up a number of shelters, providing food, safety, shelter, and above all, hope. Working with the Red Cross, we've mapped the open American Red Cross Shelters in the states of Texas and Louisiana. These locations, updated every ten minutes, are available to view in Google Earth, or via Google Maps:



View Larger Map

Previous Google Lat Long Blog posts:

Google Maps for mobile now with Street View and walking directions

Today we added new features to Google Maps for Mobile that will help you see a location, find out what people are saying about it, and learn how to get there on foot -- all from the convenience of your phone. Street View imagery, walking directions and business reviews are now available for BlackBerry and many Java-enabled phones. Read more on the Google Mobile Blog, and check out this video.



Partnering with GE on clean energy

Today we announced that we're joining forces (PDF file) with GE to use technology, information and corporate resources to drive the changes necessary to empower consumers with better energy choices. We will focus on improving power generation, transmission and distribution – a combination of technologies that could be known as the "smart grid." (It would be fair to refer to electricity technologies in common use today as a "grid of only average intelligence.")

The existing U.S. infrastructure has not kept pace with the digital economy and the hundreds of technology opportunities that are ready for market. In fact, the way we generate and distribute electricity today is essentially the same as when Thomas Edison built the first power plant well over one hundred years ago. Americans should have the choice to drive more fuel efficient cars – or even electric cars - and manage their home energy use to reduce costs, and buy power from cleaner sources, or even generate their own power for sale to the grid.

We all receive an electricity bill once a month that encourages little except prompt payment. What if, instead, we had access to real-time information about home energy use? What if our flat screen TVs, electronic equipment, lights and appliances were programmed to automatically adjust to save money and cut energy use? What if we could push a button and switch the source of our homes' electricity from fossil fuels to renewable energy? What if the car sitting in our garage ran on electricity – the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline – and was programmed to charge at night when electricity is cheapest?

This vision is what unites Google and GE. We’ll start by working together in Washington, D.C. to mount a major policy effort to enable large-scale deployment of renewable energy generation in the United States. We’ll also work on development and deployment of the “smart” electricity grid that will empower consumers, utilities, and technology innovators to manage electricity more efficiently and lower their carbon footprint. Finally, we'll collaborate on advanced energy technologies, including technologies to enable the large-scale integration of plug-in vehicles into the grid and new geothermal energy technologies known as enhanced geothermal systems (EGS).


Eric Schmidt with GE's CEO Jeff Immelt at Google's Zeitgeist conference

Update: Here's the video of Eric Schmidt and Jeff Immelt's talk at Zeitgeist '08. Also, clarified the last sentence in the second paragraph.

What to do if you can't access your webmail

This post is the latest in an ongoing series on how to stay safe online. - Ed.

We know how important webmail is to the people who use it regularly, since (of course) we use it ourselves at Google. So we know that not being able to access a webmail account -- no matter what the reason, or how long it lasts -- can be frustrating at the very least. Sometimes interruptions are caused by technical issues with your mail program or your Internet connection. More often, they're account-related.

When it comes to Gmail specifically, there are a couple of things that might cause account-related interruptions in access: a lost or forgotten password, unusual activity that triggers the safety measures designed to keep accounts from being compromised, or, in the worst case, someone has stolen your login info and changed it.

Most of the questions we get about account interruptions are the result of lost or forgotten passwords and as such are relatively easy to fix (more below). But no matter what their origin, we take these issues very seriously. Of course, there are certain cases where our options are limited -- we don't ask for much personal information when you sign up for Gmail, which can sometimes make it difficult to prove ownership of an account and trigger the recovery process.

Still, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your account stays in your hands, and to greatly improve the chances of regaining access if you have any problems:
  • Don't share your Gmail password with anyone. Not friends, not family, not anyone. And if you need to write down your password, be sure to keep it in a safe place, away from your computer. (For info on how to choose a good password and keep it safe, check out this post.)
  • Don't respond to messages asking for your login info. As you may already know, there are people out there who will try to steal your login info. Google will never send you an email, IM, or any other communication asking for your Gmail login info, so don't respond to any messages asking for it.
  • Always keep the verification number you get when you sign up for Gmail. When you sign up for Gmail, we'll ask you for a secondary email address and then email a verification number to that account. This number is the best way to prove ownership of your account, so be sure to hang on to it.
  • If you aren't able to access your account, try resetting your password. As mentioned above, most of the support requests we get turn out to be lost or forgotten passwords, rather than something more serious. Resetting your password usually gets the job done.
  • If resetting your password doesn't work, try our account-recovery process. We recently launched an account-recovery form in our help center that can drastically reduce the amount of time it takes to verify ownership of an account and restore access. If you have the information necessary to prove ownership -- such as the verification code for the account -- this new process can help our support team restore access within a matter of hours.
Again, we're always working on ways to help you keep your account secure and to stay safe online. Some of that work is educational, and some of it is technical, like the feature we recently launched for Gmail that lets you see when your account was last logged into and whether your account is currently open on another computer. Head over to our Gmail blog for more info.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Let's hear it for Google scholarship winners

Across the world, the participation of women and minorities in computer science is at an all-time low. According to studies conducted by the National Science Foundation, the annual graduation rate for women in computer science is just 22%, just 6.5% for Hispanic students, 4.8% for African American students, and under 1% for American Indian students. As part of our global effort to increase diversity in our industry, we have created scholarship programs with the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic College Fund and the American Indian Science & Engineering Society. Each of these programs is meant to encourage students to excel in their studies and become active role models and leaders. It's our hope that these programs also help dismantle barriers that keep women and minorities from entering computing and technology fields. (Read more about Google's scholarship programs.)

Now comes the really fun part: announcing the 2008 winners. Please join us in congratulating the 42 students who have been recognized for their outstanding academic and leadership accomplishments in the computer science field. Each of these students will receive a $10,000 academic scholarship from Google, as well as an invitation to attend the all-expenses-paid Annual Google Scholars' Retreat held each Spring at the Googleplex in Mountain View.

Earlier this year, we also had the great pleasure of announcing the winners of the 2008 Google Anita Borg Scholarship in the U.S. and Canada as well as in Europe. (This scholarship is also offered to women in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East.)

Congrats to all!

2008 Google United Negro College Fund Scholars
  • Brian Beecham - Alabama A&M University
  • Clinton Buie - Stanford University
  • Dorian Perkins - University of California, Riverside
  • John Mosby - Clark Atlanta University
  • Katherine Trushkowsky - University of California, Berkeley
  • Lateef Yusuf - Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Mamadou Diallo - University of California, Irvine
  • Mcdavis Fasugba - University of Miami
  • Pascal Carole - University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Rashida Davis - University of Delaware
  • Remy Carole - University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Sheronda Nash - Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Souma Badombena-Wanta - George Mason University
  • Yolanda McMillian - Auburn University
2008 Google Hispanic College Fund Scholars
  • Miguel Rios - University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
  • Milton Villeda - University of Texas, Austin
  • Ricardo Rodríguez - University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
  • Marco Medina - Eastern Washington University
  • Abel Licon - University of Deleware
  • Maximiliano Ramirez Luna - University of California, Berkeley
  • Juan Herrera - University of Oklahoma
  • Kenneth Faller Ii - Florida International University
  • Heriberto Reynoso - University of Texas, Brownsville
  • Jose Martinez - California State Polytechnic University
  • Otoniel Ortega - University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Antonio Rodríguez-soto - Universidad Del Turabo
  • Tina Ziemek - University of Utah
  • Diana Flores - University of Florida
  • Matthew Martinez - University of New Mexico
  • Frank Blandon - University of Florida
  • Felipe Carmona - Roosevelt University
  • Pamela Gutierrez - Oklahoma Panhandle State University
  • Daniel Hernandez - Tennessee Technological University
2008 Google American Indian Science & Engineering Society Scholars
  • Erik Bennett - New Mexico Tech
  • Kaylei Burke - University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Cory Cornelius - Dartmouth College
  • Daniel Jachowski - Stanford University
  • Denise Martin - Capella University
  • Mitchell Martin - University of Texas, San Antonio
  • Melanie Prevett - Oklahoma State University
  • Thomas Reed - University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Delbert Willie - Colorado State University

Google Audio Indexing now on Google Labs

Nearly two months ago, we introduced the Google Elections Video Search gadget on iGoogle, a tool that transcribes and indexes the spoken content on YouTube's Politicians channels. It didn't take long for folks to find some creative ways to use it! Now it's possible to enjoy this technology in a bigger way: We just launched Google Audio Indexing (aka GAudi) in Google Labs. The dedicated site offers more features, such as "search within video" and "sharing," and a more robust user interface.

As with all things in Labs, we will continue to experiment with new features. So whether you care about flip-flopping, the glass ceiling, change or taxes, we'll keep working to provide the most relevant results for you.

The future of online video

The Internet has had an enormous impact on people's lives around the world in the ten years since Google's founding. It has changed politics, entertainment, culture, business, health care, the environment and just about every other topic you can think of. Which got us to thinking, what's going to happen in the next ten years? How will this phenomenal technology evolve, how will we adapt, and (more importantly) how will it adapt to us? We asked ten of our top experts this very question, and during September (our 10th anniversary month) we are presenting their responses. As computer scientist Alan Kay has famously observed, the best way to predict the future is to invent it, so we will be doing our best to make good on our experts' words every day. - Karen Wickre and Alan Eagle, series editors


Ten years ago the world of online video was little more than an idea. It was used mostly by professionals like doctors or lawyers in limited and closed settings. Connections were slow, bandwidth was limited, and video gear was expensive and bulky. There were many false starts and outlandish promises over the years about the emergence of online video. It was really the dynamic growth of the Internet (in terms of adoption, speed and ubiquity) that helped to spur the idea that online video - millions of people around the world shooting it, uploading it, viewing it via broadband - was even possible.

Today, there are thousands of different video sites and services. In fact it's getting to be unusual not to find a video component on a news, entertainment or information website. And in less than three years, YouTube has united hundreds of millions of people who create, share, and watch video online. What used to be a gap between "professional" entertainment companies and home movie buffs has disappeared. Everyone from major broadcasters and networks to vloggers and grandmas are taking to video to capture events, memories, stories, and much more in real time.

Today, 13 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and we believe the volume will continue to grow exponentially. Our goal is to allow every person on the planet to participate by making the upload process as simple as placing a phone call. This new video content will be available on any screen - in your living room, or on your device in your pocket. YouTube and other sites will bring together all the diverse media which matters to you, from videos of family and friends to news, music, sports, cooking and much, much more.

In ten years, we believe that online video broadcasting will be the most ubiquitous and accessible form of communication. The tools for video recording will continue to become smaller and more affordable. Personal media devices will be universal and interconnected. Even more people will have the opportunity to record and share even more video with a small group of friends or everyone around the world.

Over the next decade, people will be at the center of their video and media experience. More and more consumers will become creators. We will continue to help give people unlimited options and access to information, and the world will be a smaller place.