Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 global award winners RISE to the top

Our business at Google is rooted in STEM and CS, so we’re passionate about supporting organizations that are expanding access to these fields, especially for students who might not have the opportunity otherwise. The annual Google Roots in Science and Engineering (RISE) program supports organizations running innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and CS (computer science) enrichment programs for K-12 and university students around the world.


This year, the Google in Education group received a record number of inspiring applications for RISE. We expanded the awards to include Sub-Saharan Africa, and in total, we’re awarding more than $340,000 in funding to 13 U.S., eight European and five African organizations.

Our recipients are diverse, ranging from girls robotics teams building high-tech machinery in Nairobi to after-school programs that have students configuring cluster computers in Salt Lake City. Below are just a few of the outstanding organizations receiving RISE awards this year for their efforts in advancing CS and STEM education:

United States
  • Santa Clara Valley Society of Women Engineers, San Jose, California. GetSET is a program created for underrepresented ethnic minority girls in the San Francisco Bay Area to expose them to engineering while building self confidence through leadership workshops, tours of technology companies and participation in team-building exercises.
  • Saturday Academy, Portland, Oregon. Saturday Academy serves 2nd-12th grade students from Oregon and SW Washington with high quality and creative learning opportunities taught by STEM experts, including hands-on, real world activities that create meaningful connections between academic content and practical application.
Europe
  • Frauennetzwerk Informatik at Universität Passau, Passau, Germany. University students from Passau act as ambassadors for computer science, engineering and math by reaching out to juniors and seniors at their former high schools and running workshops on topics like robotics and mobile app development. Ambassadors go on to serve as mentors to the students throughout their high school and college careers.
  • The Centre for Academic Achievement, Dublin, Ireland. This center runs free after school educational classes in a university setting for bright primary school students from disadvantaged areas. Each term, students from 32 local primary schools have the opportunity to study science, math and engineering subjects and are encouraged to pursue college degrees in the future.
Sub Saharan Africa
  • Savana Signatures, Tamale, Ghana. Savana Signatures educates youth and women, building their capacity to access information for the benefit of Ghana’s social and economic development.
  • Fundi Bots, Kampala, Uganda. Fundi Bots is a technology outreach program for students in high school and university that uses robotics to introduce young children to the endless possibilities of technology in both their day-to-day lives and potential careers.

Organizations interested in applying for 2013 funding can sign up for more information here. We look forward to hearing about all the great work being done in CS and STEM education.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Resources to support a new and open world for learning

Googlers are the types who never really leave the classroom. Guest speakers come to campus to give talks on subjects ranging from fiction to physics. Diverse groups of people work together to understand and solve big problems while groups of Googlers engage in passionate debate in our cafeterias. Given this environment, it’s no surprise how highly we value our external work in education. We have a growing number of successful education programs from primary school through to university, as well as a suite of free and open tools that reach families and classrooms around the world.

Recently, we decided to gather our resources and lessons learned into one place for educators everywhere. “Google in Education: A New and Open World for Learning” highlights how people are using Google resources to enhance teaching and learning. This booklet isn’t your typical annual report; it’s a living document for educators to use year-round. We’ve also revamped our website, google.com/edu, to be a one-stop shop for teachers, students, parents and organizations to explore all of our offerings. We’ve launched a Google+ page, where everyone can stay updated on our educational tools, products and programs, and join the conversation.


To develop all of these new materials, we went straight to the source, relying on dozens of educators to provide stories and feedback. We hope these resources will inspire and enable teachers, while affirming our commitment to increasing access to an excellent education for all.

Thanks to educators, students and supporters everywhere for helping to extend our spirit of lifelong learning into classrooms around the globe.

For more information about Google in Education, visit www.google.com/edu/about, and to stay updated on the world of education at Google and connect with fellow educators, follow us on Google+.

Google Earth 6.2: It’s a beautiful world

We're taking bird's eye view to a whole new level with the latest version of Google Earth, released today. With Google Earth 6.2, we’re bringing you the most beautiful Google Earth yet, with more seamless imagery and a new search interface. Additionally, we’ve introduced a feature that enables you to share an image from within Google Earth, so you can now simply and easily share your virtual adventures with family and friends on Google+.

A seamless globe


The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy.

Today, we’re introducing a new way of rendering imagery that smoothes out this quilt of images. The end result is a beautiful new Earth-viewing experience that preserves the unique textures of the world’s most defining geographic landscapes—without the quilt effect. This change is being made on both mobile and desktop versions of Google Earth. While this change will appear on all versions of Google Earth, the 6.2 release provides the best viewing experience for this new data.

Grand Canyon before and after

Sri Lanka before and after

Share your explorations with Google+
Google Earth is a great way to virtually explore the globe, whether revisiting old haunts or checking out a future vacation spot. With the Google Earth 6.2 update, we’ve added the option to share a screenshot of your current view in Google Earth through Google+. If you’ve already upgraded to Google+, you can share images of the places you’ve virtually traveled to with your Circles, such as family, friends or your local hiking club. To try this new feature, simply sign in to your Google Account in the upper right hand corner of Google Earth and click “Share.” Images of mountains, oceans, deserts, 3D cities, your favorite pizza shop on Street View—you can now experience all these amazing places around the world with people on Google+.


Search improvements
We’ve also made some updates to the search feature in Google Earth. Aside from streamlining the visual design of the search panel, we’ve enabled the same Autocomplete feature that’s available on Google Maps. We’ve also introduced search layers, which will show all the relevant search results (not just the top ten), so now, when looking for gelato in Milano, you can see all the tasty possibilities. Finally, we’ve added biking, transit and walking directions, so if you’re itching for a change of scenery or looking for a new route for your regular commute, you can now use Google Earth to generate and visualize all your options.


Biking directions in Google Earth


Download Google Earth 6.2 and start exploring and sharing today!



(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Updating our privacy policies and terms of service

In just over a month we will make some changes to our privacy policies and Google Terms of Service. This stuff matters, so we wanted to explain what’s changing, why and what these changes mean for users.

First, our privacy policies. Despite trimming our policies in 2010, we still have more than 70 (yes, you read right … 70) privacy documents covering all of our different products. This approach is somewhat complicated. It’s also at odds with our efforts to integrate our different products more closely so that we can create a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google.

So we’re rolling out a new main privacy policy that covers the majority of our products and explains what information we collect, and how we use it, in a much more readable way. While we’ve had to keep a handful of separate privacy notices for legal and other reasons, we’re consolidating more than 60 into our main Privacy Policy.

Regulators globally have been calling for shorter, simpler privacy policies—and having one policy covering many different products is now fairly standard across the web.

These changes will take effect on March 1, and we’re starting to notify users today, including via email and a notice on our homepage.



What does this mean in practice? The main change is for users with Google Accounts. Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you’re signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we’ll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

Our recently launched personal search feature is a good example of the cool things Google can do when we combine information across products. Our search box now gives you great answers not just from the web, but your personal stuff too. So if I search for restaurants in Munich, I might see Google+ posts or photos that people have shared with me, or that are in my albums. Today we can also do things like make it easy for you to read a memo from Google Docs right in your Gmail, or add someone from your Gmail contacts to a meeting in Google Calendar.

But there’s so much more that Google can do to help you by sharing more of your information with … well, you. We can make search better—figuring out what you really mean when you type in Apple, Jaguar or Pink. We can provide more relevant ads too. For example, it’s January, but maybe you’re not a gym person, so fitness ads aren’t that useful to you. We can provide reminders that you’re going to be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar and an understanding of what the traffic is like that day. Or ensure that our spelling suggestions, even for your friends’ names, are accurate because you’ve typed them before. People still have to do way too much heavy lifting, and we want to do a better job of helping them out.

Second, the Google Terms of Service—terms you agree to when you use our products. As with our privacy policies, we’ve rewritten them so they’re easier to read. We’ve also cut down the total number, so many of our products are now covered by our new main Google Terms of Service. Visit the Google Terms of Service page to find the revised terms.

Finally, what we’re not changing. We remain committed to data liberation, so if you want to take your information elsewhere you can. We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order. We try hard to be transparent about the information we collect, and to give you meaningful choices about how it is used—for example our Ads Preferences Manager enables you to edit the interest categories we advertise against or turn off certain Google ads altogether. And we continue to design privacy controls, like Google+’s circles, into our products from the ground up.

We believe this new, simpler policy will make it easier for people to understand our privacy practices as well as enable Google to improve the services we offer. Whether you’re a new Google user or an old hand, please do take the time to read our new privacy policy and terms, learn more about the changes we’re making and understand the controls we offer.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Your Interview with President Obama

If you could hang out with President Obama, what would you ask him? Would your question be about jobs or unemployment? The threat of nuclear weapons? Immigration reform? Whatever your question is, submit it on YouTube for the opportunity to ask the President directly in a special interview over a Google+ Hangout from the White House.

On Monday, January 30, a few days after delivering his State of the Union address to the nation, President Obama will answer a selection of top-voted questions you’ve submitted in a live-streamed interview. Starting today through January 28, you can visit the White House YouTube channel to submit your video and text questions and vote on your favorites. Your YouTube questions will drive the interview, and several participants with top-voted questions will be selected to join the President in the Google+ Hangout to take part in the conversation live.



So take out your camera, check your hair and go to youtube.com/whitehouse to submit your question now. Need ideas? Visit youtube.com/whitehouse on Tuesday night at 9:00pm ET to watch the President’s State of the Union address live. The address will be followed by the Republican response on Speaker Boehner’s YouTube channel.

Video questions are preferred (though we also accept text) and should be about 20 seconds long. In the video description, be sure to tell us a little bit about yourself, like where you’re from.

Your Interview with President Obama will be streamed live at 5:30pm ET on on January 30 on youtube.com/whitehouse. You have until midnight ET on January 28 to submit your question and make your voice heard on the issues that matter to you.



(Cross-posted from the YouTube blog)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jagriti Yatra: a journey of entrepreneurship through India

As part of our ongoing commitment to entrepreneurship around the world, we recently took part in a worthy experiment crisscrossing India. Jagriti Yatra is an annual train journey that takes more than 400 of India's highly motivated youth (ages 20-26) on an 15-day trip to introduce them to India’s challenges, and to the individuals and institutions that are developing unique solutions to those challenges. The goal is to inspire these young people to develop and lead social and economic entrepreneurship in their own communities. Each year, around 50 experienced professionals also join the Yatra to serve as mentors, and this year, I—along with four other Googlers—went along for the ride.

This year’s “yatris” (participants) came from all four corners of the country—rich states and poor states, urban, semi-urban and rural. A large portion came from low-income rural families, and many of them (especially the women) had fought great odds to get a good education. Now, they wanted to give back to their communities.

The trip, which began in Mumbai on December 25 and returned on January 8, covered 8,500 kilometers and made 12 stops in a route that circumnavigated the entire country. Our days began at 5:30am and ended at 11:30pm, and the majority of time was spent pounding the pavement, from villages in Orissa and Uttar Pradesh to the suburbs of Madurai and Patna.

These visits brought us face-to-face with India’s major challenges. Confronted with the stark reality of youth abandoning their farming traditions, vast open-air garbage dumps in town centers, girls dropping out of school after eighth grade and unemployed undergraduates scrounging money to bribe their way into government jobs, the yatris were even more motivated to become agents of change in their country. The Yatra has led to a diverse range of startups, both planned and pre-existing—for example, I spoke with participants taking up organic farming in their villages, and to others who were inspired to establish career mentoring programs in their communities.

As first-time sponsors of this year's Yatra (which focused specifically on issues in healthcare, agribusiness, water and energy) we provided not only financial support, but also WiFi for the train journey and an SMS channel for Jagriti Yatra followers to get updates on the Yatra over SMS. We also helped set up the organization with a YouTube channel and a Google+ page so they could chronicle and share their journey with the wider world.

Throughout, the energy of the group was incredible; everyone was infused with the feeling that all things are possible if you persist. Jagriti Yatra has become the event for college students and would-be young entrepreneurs to participate in (this year, the organization received 3,200 applications for less than 500 spots). It was great to see so many young people focused on making a positive impact on society through entrepreneurship.



For more personal stories from the journey, visit the Jagriti Yatra Google+ page. To register for next year’s journey, visit Jagriti Yatra’s registration page.

Renewing old resolutions for the new year

As we head into 2012, we’ve been sticking to some old resolutions—the need to focus on building amazing products that millions of people love to use every day. That means taking a hard look at products that replicate other features, haven’t achieved the promise we had hoped for or can’t be properly integrated into the overall Google experience.

Here’s an update on some products that will be merged, open-sourced, or phased out in the coming months:
  • Google Message Continuity (GMC): In December 2010 we launched an email disaster recovery product for enterprise customers that use Google's cloud to back up emails originally sent or received in an on-premise, Microsoft Exchange system. In the time since we launched, we've seen hundreds of businesses sign up for it. By comparison, in that same time, we've seen millions of businesses move entirely to the cloud with Google Apps, benefitting from disaster recovery capabilities built directly into Apps. Going forward we've decided to focus our efforts on Google Apps and end support for GMC. Current GMC customers will be able to use GMC for the duration of their contract and are encouraged to consider using Google Apps as their primary messaging and collaboration platform.
  • Google Sky Map: This app was created by half a dozen Googlers at the Pittsburgh office in their 20 percent time to show off the amazing capabilities of the sensors in the first-generation Android phones and offer a window into the sky. Since we launched the tool in 2009, we have managed to share our passion with more than 20 million Android users. We will be open-sourcing Sky Map and are collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University in a partnership that will see further development of Sky Map as a series of student projects.
  • Needlebase: We are retiring this data management platform, which we acquired from ITA Software, on June 1, 2012. The technology is being evaluated for integration into Google's other data-related initiatives.
  • Picnik: We acquired this online photo editor in 2010. We’re retiring the service on April 19, 2012 so the Picnik team can continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products. You can download a zip file of your creations through Picnik Takeout or copy them to Google+. As of now, the premium service is free to everyone. Premium members will receive a full refund in the coming weeks.
  • Social Graph API: This API makes information about the public connections between people on the web available for developers. The API isn’t experiencing the kind of adoption we’d like, and is being deprecated as of today. It will be fully retired on April 20, 2012.
  • Urchin: In 2005 we acquired Urchin, whose online web analytics product became the foundation for Google Analytics, helping businesses of all sizes measure their websites and online marketing. We’re fully committed to building an industry-leading online analytics product, so we’re saying goodbye to the client-hosted version, known as Urchin Software. New Urchin Software licenses will no longer be available after March 2012.
Resolutions can be hard, and changing products that people love is hard too. But we’re excited to focus on creating a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google—an experience that will change the lives of millions of people.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Data Journalism Awards now accepting submissions

Last November, we announced our support for a new Data Journalism competition, organized by the Global Editors Network. The competition is now open to submissions and today we hosted an event at our offices in London to share details on how to compete and win a total of six prizes worth EUR 45,000. The European Journalism Centre is running the contest and Google is sponsoring.



Journalism is going through an exciting—if sometimes wrenching—transition from off to online. Google is keen to help. We see exciting possibilities of leveraging data to produce award-winning journalism. “Data journalism is a new, exciting part of the media industry, with at present only a small number of practitioners,” said Peter Barron, Google’s Director of External Relations. “We hope to see the number grow.”

In data journalism, reporters leverage numerical data and databases to gather, organize and produce news. Bertrand Pecquerie, the Global Editor Network’s CEO, believes the use of data will, in particular, revolutionize investigative reporting. “We are convinced that there is a bright future for journalism,” he said at the London event. “This is not just about developing new hardware like tablets. It is above all about producing exciting new content.”

The European Journalism Centre, a non-profit based in Maastricht, has been running data training workshops for several years. It is producing the Data Journalism Awards website and administering the prize. “This new initiative should help convince editors around the world that data journalism is not a crazy idea, but a viable part of the industry,” says Wilfried Ruetten, Director of the center.

Projects should be submitted to http://www.datajournalismawards.org. The deadline is April 10, 2012. Entries should have been published or aired between April 11, 2011 and April 10, 2012. Media companies, non-profit organisations, freelancers and individuals are eligible.

Submissions are welcomed in three categories: data-driven investigative journalism, data-driven applications and data visualisation and storytelling. National and international projects will be judged separately from local and regional ones. “We wanted to encourage not only the New York Times’s of the world to participate, but media outlets of all sizes,” says Pecquerie. “Journalism students are also invited to enter, provided their work has been published.”

An all-star jury has been assembled of journalists from prestigious international media companies including the New York Times, the Guardian and Les Echos. Paul Steiger, the former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal and founder of the Pulitzer Prize-winning ProPublica, will serve as president.

Winners will be announced at the Global News Network’s World Summit in Paris on May 31, 2012.



(Cross-posted from the European Public Policy Blog)

Keeping our environmental management and workplace safety standards high

For the last year, our data center team has been working on a project to bring our facilities to even higher standards for environmental management and workforce safety. Recently we got the good news that our work paid off.

All of our U.S. owned and operated data centers have received ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. We’re the first major Internet services company to gain external certification for those high standards at all of our U.S. data centers.



In a nutshell, both standards are built around a very simple concept: Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say—and then keep improving. The standards say what key elements are required, but not how to do it—that part’s up to us. So we set some challenging goals for ourselves, and we asked our auditors to confirm that we’ve followed through on them.

Here’s an example of the kind of improvements we’ve implemented: Like most data centers, ours have emergency backup generators on hand to keep things up and running in case of a power outage. To reduce the environmental impact of these generators, we’ve done two things: first, we minimized the amount of run time and need for maintenance of those generators. Second, we worked with the oil and generator manufacturers to extend the lifetime between oil changes. So far we’ve managed to reduce our oil consumption in those generators by 67 percent.

A second example: each of our servers in the data center has a battery on board to eliminate any interruptions to our power supply. To ensure the safety of the environment and our workers, we devised a system to make sure we handle, package, ship and recycle every single battery properly.

These are just two elements of what ultimately adds up to a comprehensive system of policies that our data center teams follow in their day-to-day operations. We do this because we want to be the gold standard in environmental and workforce safety, and because we care about the communities where we live and work. This is one more reason you can feel confident that when you're using our products, you're making an environmentally responsible choice.

Our data centers in the following U.S. locations have received this dual certification. We plan to pursue certification in our European data centers as well.
  • The Dalles, Ore.
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • Mayes County, Okla.
  • Lenoir, N.C.
  • Monck’s Corner, S.C.
  • Douglas County, Ga.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doodle 4 Google: “If I could travel in time, I’d visit...”

Starting today, we’d like to invite K-12 students in the U.S. to participate in our fifth annual U.S. Doodle 4 Google contest. Draw your rendition of the Google logo and you may see it on the ultimate gallery: the Google homepage. The winning doodler will also take home a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school.

The theme for this year’s contest is “If I could travel in time, I’d visit...”. That could mean visiting a past, present or future setting—whether it’s traveling back in time to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the future to witness everyday space travel, or to just a few moments ago to relive a poignant experience.

Building on last year’s record-breaking participation (107,000 entries!), we’ve made a few enhancements to the 2012 contest. First, we’re opening Doodle 4 Google up to an even wider audience—with a winner from every state. There will be five finalists and one winner per state, so everyone will have a local doodle champion to cheer on. From these 50 State Winners, we’ll find 5 National Finalists and the lucky National Winner.

We’re also partnering with Crayola this year and the winning doodler’s artwork will appear on a special edition of the 64-crayon box—a first!

Participating is easier than ever, since we’ve eliminated the registration step. All you need to do is submit your child’s or student’s artwork by March 20 with a signed and completed entry form.

Contest judging starts with Google employees and a panel of guest judges—including multi-platinum singer Katy Perry, Phineas and Ferb creator and executive producer Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, and recording artist Jordin Sparks, as well as other great illustrators and artists—who will help us pick the state finalists and winners. Then, on May 2, we’ll put the 50 state winners up for public vote. All 50 State Winners will be flown to New York City for the national awards ceremony on May 17, with the winning doodle appearing on May 18.

The doodles by the 50 State Winners will be displayed at The New York Public Library's historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street in an exhibition open to the public over the summer. We’ll also be partnering with museums across the country to display the artwork of the state finalists in areas near their homes.

For more details, check out google.com/doodle4google, where you’ll find full contest rules and entry forms. Happy doodling and good luck!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Don't censor the web

You might notice many of your favorite websites look different today. Wikipedia is down. WordPress is dark. We’re censoring our homepage logo and asking you to petition Congress. So what’s the big deal?

Right now in Washington D.C., Congress is considering two bills that would censor the web and impose burdensome regulations on American businesses. They’re known as the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. Here’s what they’d do:
  • PIPA & SOPA will censor the web. These bills would grant new powers to law enforcement to filter the Internet and block access to tools to get around those filters. We know from experience that these powers are on the wish list of oppressive regimes throughout the world. SOPA and PIPA also eliminate due process. They provide incentives for American companies to shut down, block access to and stop servicing U.S. and foreign websites that copyright and trademark owners allege are illegal without any due process or ability of a wrongfully targeted website to seek restitution.
  • PIPA & SOPA will risk our industry’s track record of innovation and job creation. These bills would make it easier to sue law-abiding U.S. companies. Law-abiding payment processors and Internet advertising services can be subject to these private rights of action. SOPA and PIPA would also create harmful (and uncertain) technology mandates on U.S. Internet companies, as federal judges second-guess technological measures used by these companies to stop bad actors, and potentially impose inconsistent injunctions on them.
  • PIPA & SOPA will not stop piracy. These bills wouldn’t get rid of pirate sites. Pirate sites would just change their addresses in order to continue their criminal activities. There are better ways to address piracy than to ask U.S. companies to censor the Internet. The foreign rogue sites are in it for the money, and we believe the best way to shut them down is to cut off their sources of funding. As a result, Google supports alternative approaches like the OPEN Act.
Fighting online piracy is extremely important. We are investing a lot of time and money in that fight. Last year alone we acted on copyright takedown notices for more than 5 million webpages and invested more than $60 million in the fight against ads appearing on bad sites. And we think there is more that can be done here—like targeted and focused steps to cut off the money supply to foreign pirate sites. If you cut off the money flow, you cut the incentive to steal.

Because we think there’s a good way forward that doesn’t cause collateral damage to the web, we’re joining Wikipedia, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla and other Internet companies in speaking out against SOPA and PIPA. And we’re asking you to sign a petition and join the millions who have already reached out to Congress through phone calls, letters and petitions asking them to rethink SOPA and PIPA.

Deadline approaching for the AP-Google Journalism & Technology Scholarship

Last August, we announced a joint scholarship program for aspiring journalists with the Associated Press, administered by the Online News Association. A total of six $20,000 scholarships will be awarded to undergraduate and graduate journalism students pursuing or planning to pursue degrees at the intersection of journalism, computer science and new media.

Knowing that journalists respect the pressures and motivations of a tight deadline, we want to remind everyone that all applications are due on January 27. That’s just 10 short days away!

The selection committee is looking for applicants with original and exciting ideas for using online tools and new technology to move digital journalism forward. We’re looking for students who love great reporting and value the importance of a strong press, and who can articulate creative and forward-thinking ways of using technology as a way to support and extend what’s possible through journalism.

Read more about the application process and eligibility on the scholarship program’s website, and beat that deadline!

IPv6: countdown to launch

Today, we’re joining the Internet Society and several major Internet companies to announce World IPv6 Launch, a coordinated launch of the next-generation Internet protocol on June 6, 2012. This builds on the success and momentum of last year’s World IPv6 Day by adding major contributions from ISPs and home networking vendors. With World IPv6 Launch, we’ll collectively close the gaps and begin to deliver the end-to-end, next-generation Internet.

IPv6 is the replacement for the current version of the Internet Protocol, IPv4, which is quickly running out of addresses. The original IPv6 specification was published more than 15 years ago, but for the entire career of most Internet engineers its deployment has always been in the future. Now it’s finally here. The widespread deployment of IPv6 paves the way for connecting together the billions of devices that permeate our livesーboth fixed and mobile, from the largest cloud computing services to the smallest sensors.

Just a year ago, we announced our participation in World IPv6 Day. Since then, the IPv4 address global free pool was officially depleted, each of the five regions around the world receiving one last address block. Soon after, the Asia-Pacific region exhausted its free IPv4 address pool. Hundreds of websites around the world turned on IPv6 for a 24-hour test flight last June. This time, IPv6 will stay on.

For Google, World IPv6 Launch means that virtually all our services, including Search, Gmail, YouTube and many more, will be available to the world over IPv6 permanently. Previously, only participants in the Google over IPv6 program (several hundred thousand users, including almost all Google employees [PDF]) have been using it every day. Now we’re including everyone.

The vast majority of users shouldn’t notice, but check out our test page and help article if you think you might run into difficulty. If you’re curious, you can test your connection now at ipv6test.google.com. If your ISP isn’t on board yet, ask them to join us. It will take years for the Internet to transition fully to IPv6, but as William Gibson is said to have said, “The future is already here—it's just not very evenly distributed.”

We hope that even more websites, application and Internet access providers and network device manufacturers will join us for World IPv6 Launch. Permanently enabling global IPv6 access to Google services has been our goal since we first began our IPv6 project more than four years ago. We eagerly await the opportunity to realize that goal with our colleagues around the world this June. At long last, IPv6 will be the new normal.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tech tips that are Good to Know

Does this person sound familiar? He can’t be bothered to type a password into his phone every time he wants to play a game of Angry Birds. When he does need a password, maybe for his email or bank website, he chooses one that’s easy to remember like his sister’s name—and he uses the same one for each website he visits. For him, cookies come from the bakery, IP addresses are the locations of Intellectual Property and a correct Google search result is basically magic.

Most of us know someone like this. Technology can be confusing, and the industry often fails to explain clearly enough why digital literacy matters. So today in the U.S. we’re kicking off Good to Know, our biggest-ever consumer education campaign focused on making the web a safer, more comfortable place. Our ad campaign, which we introduced in the U.K. and Germany last fall, offers privacy and security tips: Use 2-step verification! Remember to lock your computer when you step away! Make sure your connection to a website is secure! It also explains some of the building blocks of the web like cookies and IP addresses. Keep an eye out for the ads in newspapers and magazines, online and in New York and Washington, D.C. subway stations.



The campaign and Good to Know website build on our commitment to keeping people safe online. We’ve created resources like privacy videos, the Google Security Center, the Family Safety Center and Teach Parents Tech to help you develop strong privacy and security habits. We design for privacy, building tools like Google Dashboard, Me on the Web, the Ads Preferences Manager and Google+ Circles—with more on the way.

We encourage you to take a few minutes to check out the Good to Know site, watch some of the videos, and be on the lookout for ads in your favorite newspaper or website. We hope you’ll learn something new about how to protect yourself online—tips that are always good to know!

Update Jan 17: Updated to include more background about Good to Know.

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day by giving back

Today, Martin Luther King Day of Service in the U.S., Googlers around the country worked with community service organizations to lend a helping hand in their area and commemorate the holiday.

The Black Googler Network (BGN), an employee resource group made up of volunteers, spearheaded this effort to set up service projects in multiple offices. In the California Bay Area today, we joined The Center for Music National Service in the MLK Day of Service & Song in various projects to beautify John O’Connell High School in San Francisco’s Mission district. Projects included mural painting, landscaping and organizing books and materials, and the celebration included time for students and volunteers to share their art and voice their feelings about the importance of the day.



In New York last week, we teamed up with the Harlem Children’s Zone for a full-day workshop with college students to review their resumes and conduct mock interviews, aimed at supporting the organization’s goal of ending the cycle of generational poverty. And in Ann Arbor, Mich., we joined the Ann Arbor Community Center and University of Michigan students to serve hot meals and give out winter garments to homeless families in need.

We’re proud of the ways Googlers came together to celebrate today and we’re committed to diversity and cultural inclusion year-round, with a focus on closing the technology gap. Last year, our FUSE, CSSI, BOLD and BOLD Practicum summer programs brought hundreds of students from culturally diverse backgrounds to Google offices worldwide for summer internships. We hosted national pitch night for The Technovation Challenge for girls. The BGN’s efforts to aid minority and low-income communities included its annual BGN New Orleans Outreach Trip, and we hosted speakers Condoleezza Rice, Alice Walker, Belva Davis and Soledad O’Brien among others. We have even more plans for promoting diversity in 2012.

If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities in your area, visit mlkday.gov or allforgood.org.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beckham kicks it at Google

International soccer phenom +David Beckham is taking off his boots and heading to Google for an exclusive live interview. Have a question you’ve been dying to personally ask Becks? Post it on Google+ with hashtag #GoogleBeckham, and maybe he’ll answer it live!

Watch the interview on Thursday, January 19 at 9am PT on youtube.com/atgoogletalks. And as an added bonus, hangout with him directly afterward on his Google+ profile at 10:30am PT. Add him to your circles now for all the latest updates.



Don’t worry if you can’t make the live interview or Google+ hangout—we’ll post them to YouTube shortly after.

So, what are you waiting for? Punt us your best questions on Google.com/+!



(Cross-posted on the YouTube Blog)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ask your question in the 2012 Google Science Fair

Are human beings born curious, or can curiosity be nurtured through environment, competition or a good teacher? Everyone’s got a question—that’s ours. But we’re sure you’ve got tons of questions, too. Today, we’re inviting students around the world to pose their most pressing questions about the world around them and answer those questions through scientific inquiry.

Along with our partners CERN, The LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American, today we’re launching the second annual Google Science Fair, the largest online science competition in the world, open globally to students ages 13-18. Either individually or in teams of up to three people, students pose a question, develop a hypothesis and conduct science experiments to test it. The entire process is detailed and submitted online, via a website template participants fill out themselves, so all you need to participate is curiosity, an Internet connection and a browser.



Last year, we received entries that strove to solve a wide variety of needs, from “How can I cure cancer?” to “Can I teach a robot to learn English?” to “Can I build a faster sailboat?” The breadth and depth of these projects was incredibly impressive, and this year we hope to see even more entries from the next generation of brilliant young scientists.

This year’s fair will be even more global than the last: We’re now accepting submissions in 13 languages (Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Spanish and Russia). We will also be recognizing 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from the Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa). From these 90, to be announced in May, our judges will select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live Google Science Fair final event on July 23, 2012. At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges (like Vint Cerf, Sylvia Earle and Nobel Laureates David Gross and Ada Yonath) will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18).

We’re also introducing a new category for this year’s competition—the Scientific American Science in Action award. We were so inspired by 2011 finalist Harine Ravichandran’s project, which attempted to solve energy surges in rural villages, that we decided to recognize an outstanding project that addresses a social, environmental or health need to make a difference in the lives of a group or community, as Harine’s project did for her grandparents’ village in India. The winner will also be flown to Mountain View for the finalist event in July.

The Google Science Fair opens today, January 12, worldwide, and we’ll accept submissions until Sunday, April 1 at 11:59pm GMT (or 6:59pm ET/3:59pm PT). In addition to satisfying your curious mind, your brilliant project can also help to win you some pretty cool prizes, like a $50,000 college scholarship from Google, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer or an internship at Google or any one of our partners. Our Scientific American Science in Action award winner will earn $50,000 and year-long mentorship to make their project goal a reality.

The winners of last year’s inaugural Google Science Fair became something like scientific rock stars. Shree Bose, Naomi Shah and Lauren Hodge met with President Obama, were invited to speak at big events like TEDx Women and were featured in Wired magazine. Shree, our grand prize winner, was named one of Glamour magazine’s 21 Amazing Young Women of the Year. White House visits and Glamour aside, every student in the Google Science Fair has the chance to do hands-on research that can truly change the world.

Visit google.com/sciencefair and ask your most burning questions at the top of your voice for the world to hear. Google itself was founded through experimentation and with the Google Science Fair, we hope to inspire scientific exploration among the next generation of scientists and engineers, celebrate scientific talent, create scientific role models and unite students around the world in the quest for learning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Street View: your friendly campus tour guide

For many, the start of a new year is also the start of a new semester. Whether you’re a current student trying to familiarize yourself with campus, an applicant assessing your options or an alumnus feeling nostalgic, the Street View feature in Google Maps can be your tour guide without the backward walking. We recently added imagery of more university campuses to the existing special collections already available via Street View through our Partner Program. Let’s take a quick tour of some of the many beautiful campuses around the world.

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, you can find Waseda University. Founded in 1882, it is known for producing some of the top Japanese politicians and business leaders in recent history. Check out the statue of Ōkuma Shigenobu, who founded the university.



Halfway around the world, we can visit the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Founded in 1451, this university is one of the oldest in the world, and the fourth oldest in the English speaking world. Take a tour of the magnificent campus starting at the West Quadrangle of the Main Building.



Hop the Atlantic and cross the U.S. to Stanford University, which was founded in 1891 in Palo Alto, Calif. Located near Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, both of our founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, attended Stanford for their graduate studies. Explore the campus starting at the palm-lined main quad with a view of Hoover Tower.



Students, take note: Even though your campus is now available in your browser, you still need to go to class! To view other imagery collections of popular universities around the world see a complete list of the campuses or visit a few more highlights in the Street View gallery.



(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Think fast in the first Think Quarterly of 2012

In the amount of time it takes you to read this blog post, roughly 382 Android phones will be activated, 250,000+ words will be written on Blogger and 48 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube. The world is moving faster than ever before, bringing us instant access and split-second connections to people and information.

Speed is important in technology, but equally essential in business. Consumer expectations are rising as we learn to take speed for granted; today’s email is tomorrow’s snail mail. In our hyper-real-time world, nanoseconds matter—which means we need to question old assumptions. How will we respond to consumer expectations as the demand for instant access to everything intensifies? How will we keep pace in a world that moves at web speed?

The new Speed issue of Think Quarterly explores these questions and more. Our SVP of Engineering Urs Hölzle shares our efforts to speed up the Internet, while Astro Teller, Director of New Products, dreams about the amazing inventions these improvements will unleash. Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB, talks about the rise of real-time marketing. And journalist Jeff Jarvis wonders if we’re really that fast after all.

We hope you enjoy the issue. Let us know what you think on +Think With Google. And if you’re at CES this week, drop by our Room to Think in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and tell us your thoughts live. We’ll also host a Google+ Hangout there with Astro Teller, author of Speed of Dreams, on Thursday at 2pm PST.

Search, plus Your World

Google Search has always been about finding the best results for you. Sometimes that means results from the public web, but sometimes it means your personal content or things shared with you by people you care about. These wonderful people and this rich personal content is currently missing from your search experience. Search is still limited to a universe of webpages created publicly, mostly by people you’ve never met. Today, we’re changing that by bringing your world, rich with people and information, into search.

Search is pretty amazing at finding that one needle in a haystack of billions of webpages, images, videos, news and much more. But clearly, that isn’t enough. You should also be able to find your own stuff on the web, the people you know and things they’ve shared with you, as well as the people you don’t know but might want to... all from one search box.

We’re transforming Google into a search engine that understands not only content, but also people and relationships. We began this transformation with Social Search, and today we’re taking another big step in this direction by introducing three new features:
  1. Personal Results, which enable you to find information just for you, such as Google+ photos and posts—both your own and those shared specifically with you, that only you will be able to see on your results page; 
  2. Profiles in Search, both in autocomplete and results, which enable you to immediately find people you’re close to or might be interested in following; and, 
  3. People and Pages, which help you find people profiles and Google+ pages related to a specific topic or area of interest, and enable you to follow them with just a few clicks. Because behind most every query is a community. 
Together, these features combine to create Search plus Your World. Search is simply better with your world in it, and we’re just getting started.


Personal Results
Say you’re looking for a vacation destination. You can of course search the web, but what if you want to learn from the experiences your friends have had on their vacations? Just as in real life, your friends’ experiences are often so much more meaningful to you than impersonal content on the web. With your world in search, you can find:
  • Google+ posts. You can find relevant Google+ posts from friends talking about an amazing trip they just took, whether they’ve shared privately with you or publicly. You’ll find links shared by your friends, such as activities, restaurants and other things they enjoyed on their trip. 
  • Photos. You can find beautiful vacation photos from your friends right in your search results page. You can also find your own private photos from Google+ and Picasa, based on captions, comments and album title. 
Personal Results: a family story 
As a child, my favorite fruit was Chikoo, which is exceptionally sweet and tasty. A few years back when getting a family dog, we decided to name our sweet little puppy after my favorite fruit. Over the years we have privately shared many pictures of Chikoo (our dog) with our family. To me, the query [chikoo] means two very sweet and different things, and today’s improvements give me the magical experience of finding both the Chikoos I love, right in the results page.


This is search that truly knows me, and gives me a result page that only I can see. And while I get a nice mix of personal results with results from the web, I can also click the link at the top of the results page (red arrow) for the option to search only within my world.

Profiles in Search 
Every day, there are hundreds of millions of searches for people. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the person you’re looking for. Once you do find him or her, there’s no quick way for you to actually interact. Starting today, you’ll have meaningful ways to connect with people instantly, right from the search results.

Now, typing just the first few letters of your friend’s name brings up a personalized profile prediction in autocomplete. Selecting a predicted profile takes you to a results page for your friend, which includes information from their Google+ profile and relevant web results that may be related to them. And you can have this personal experience instantaneously, thanks to Google Instant. So when I search for [ben smith], I now find my dear friend Ben every time, instead of the hundreds of other Ben Smiths out there (no offense to all of them!).


In addition, you’ll find profile autocomplete predictions for various prominent people from Google+, such as high-quality authors from our authorship pilot program.


Once you select that profile, if you’re a signed-in Google+ user, you’ll also see a button to add them to your circles right on your search results page.


People and Pages 
As I mentioned earlier, behind most queries are communities. Starting today, if you search for a topic like [music] or [baseball], you might see prominent people who frequently discuss this topic on Google+ appearing on the right-hand side of the results page. You can connect with them on Google+, strike up meaningful conversations and discover entire communities in a way that simply wasn’t possible before.


Unprecedented security, transparency and control 
When it comes to security and privacy, we set a high bar for Search plus Your World. Since some of the information you’ll now find in search results, including Google+ posts and private photos, is already secured by SSL encryption on Google+, we have decided that the results page should also have the same level of security and privacy protection. That's part of why we were the first major search engine to turn on search via SSL by default for signed-in users last year. This means when you’re signed in to Google, your search results—including your private content—are protected by the same high standards of encryption as your messages in Gmail.

We also want to be transparent about how our features work and give you control over how to use them. With today’s changes, we provide interface elements and control settings like those you’ll find in Google+. For example, personal results are clearly marked as Public, Limited or Only you. Additionally, people in your results are clearly marked with the Google+ circle they are in, or as suggested connections.

We’re also introducing a prominent new toggle on the upper right of the results page where you can see what your search results look like without personal content. With a single click, you can see an unpersonalized view of search results.


That means no results from your friends, no private information and no personalization of results based on your Web History. This toggle button works for an individual search session, but you can also make this the default in your Search Settings. We provide separate control in Search Settings over other contextual signals we use, including location and language.

That's unprecedented transparency and control over personal search results.

A beautiful journey begins 
Search plus Your World will become available over the next few days to people who are signed in and searching on https://www.google.com in English.

While there may be 7 billion people and 197 million square miles on Earth, a septillion stars and a trillion webpages, we spend our short, precious lives living in a particular town, with particular friends and family, orbiting a single star and relying on a tiny slice of the world’s information. Our dream is to have technology enable everyone to experience the richness of all their information and people around them.

We named our company after the mathematical number googol as an aspiration toward indexing the countless answers on webpages, but that’s only part of the picture. The other part is people, and that’s what Search plus Your World is all about.




(Cross-posted on the Inside Search Blog)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Where you’ll find Google and YouTube at CES 2012

Every year in the tech world, thousands of us pack a bag with all of our gadgets and head to Las Vegas for the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). It’s a tech lover’s paradise where you can check out new technologies and talk about the trends of the future with visionary members of the industry. If you’ll be joining us, here are a few places and dates where you can find Google and YouTube.

We’ll kick things off at 3:00pm PT on Tuesday, January 10 with chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at CNET Presents - The Next Big Thing in CE, in Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) North Hall N255-257. On the following day, January 11, we have a bunch of events across topics:
  • Google’s senior policy counsel Rick Whitt will participate in the Innovation Policy Summit Session: Spectrum for Wireless Broadband: Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together in LVCC North Hall N264 at 10:15am PT.
  • On the education front, Angela Lin, manager of YouTube EDU, will present on “High Tech U”—digital tools and services that are changing the traditional ivory tower—at 3:00pm PT in LVCC North Hall N256.
  • End the day at 5:00pm PT with CNET's Women In Tech panel, featuring Marissa Mayer, VP of product management, in LVCC South Hall, Upper Level Lobby - CNET Stage.
On Thursday, January 12 at 10:00am PT, YouTube will be keynoting the Entertainment Matters program in the Las Vegas Hilton Theatre. Robert Kyncl, VP of global content, will share his thoughts on the evolution of the entertainment industry, and he’ll later be joined by partners and friends for a panel discussion.

Don’t forget to check out Google TV around CES this year. Recently announced new partners LG, Marvell, MediaTek join Samsung, Sony and Vizio having new devices to play with at their booths. You can also find YouTube demos on TVs and devices around the LVCC show floor at LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba and other booths.

For first-timers, here’s a video overview of the show from the Official CES Channel:



Stay tuned for updates on our +YouTube page and on Twitter—pack your smartphones, tablets, laptops, netbooks, televisions, E-readers and of course, your battery chargers, and see you in Las Vegas!



(Cross posted on the YouTube Blog)

Making computer science accessible worldwide with CS4HS

Last summer, K-12 educators in the Boston, Mass. area gathered at MIT for a bit of summer school. They weren’t there to brush up on freshman year biology, but rather to learn a new subject, the programming language Scratch. This is a snapshot of the Google in education group’s Computer Science for High School (CS4HS) program. The teachers gathered at MIT last July had various backgrounds and degrees, but they all attended with one goal—to bring computer science (CS) education back to their schools, and their students.

From now until March 3, 2012, CS4HS is accepting applications from interested colleges and universities for our fourth consecutive year of computer science workshops. If you’re not affiliated with a college or university you can still encourage your local university, community college or technical school to apply for a grant. In the late spring, after applications close, we’ll post workshop websites of participating schools on cs4hs.com for professors looking for ideas and for teachers interested in learning more about what’s being offered.

Over the course of the three-day professional development workshops, funded by Google and held on university campuses around the world, participants learn about programming software directly from developers and full-time CS faculty. There is balance of discussion, engaging project work and presentations. The workshops prepare educators to teach programming and computing in their schools and turn their students into computational thinkers and creators.

The need for more CS professionals is increasing faster than universities are able to graduate CS students, and CS4HS hopes to address this gap with our “train the trainer” approach. We provide the universities with the support they need, so they can provide local teachers with the tools they need, so that those teachers can teach students the skills they will need.

In 2011, we funded more than 70 programs that trained thousands of educators worldwide on various aspects of CS. In 2012, we are expanding our program to include more regions and reach even more teachers. If you are affiliated with a university, community college or technical school in the U.S, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China, Australia or New Zealand and are interested in creating a three-day CS4HS workshop, we want to partner with you.

Visit www.cs4hs.com for more information and details on the types of programs we are looking to fund. You will also find curriculum modules from past workshops to use or adapt, as well as a list of participating schools from 2010 and 2011. There’s also an example of a successful program and of a stand-out application to get you started on the right track.

Help spread enthusiasm for computer science in your community: When you’re ready to apply, submit your application online by March 3, 2012.



Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy 100th birthday, Charles Samuel Addams

From time to time we invite guests to post about items of interest and are pleased to have H. Kevin Miserocchi, executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, join us today to talk about cartoonist Charles Samuel Addams. Addams is best known as the creator of the Addams Family, and is the subject of a doodle today in honor of his 100th birthday. -Ed.


I spent the summer of 1979 fundraising with Tee Matthews Miller for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. We spent most of our time in the home she shared with her cartoonist paramour—and too many dogs and cats to name—during his weekends away from Manhattan. I’d met her partner several times before I realized that behind all the stacks of paper and collectibles and layers of dust and pet fur in Tee’s office den, the walls were decorated with familiar art. Not just any art—the original artwork from the pages of The New Yorker magazines that my brother and I had cut up or crayoned across when we were boys. Tee’s boyfriend was the Charles Addams—the one with two d’s. I was home, and our friendship was forever cemented.

They were married in Tee’s pet cemetery in Water Mill, NY in 1980—a surprise for the 60 guests coming for cocktails during the Memorial Day weekend. The wedding party all wore black. It was the union of a wonderful woman of gentle spirit and great generosity and a beguiling man with a subtly wicked sense of humor. Bashful and soft-spoken as he was, he had a devil-child glint in his eyes and a Lugosi-like mouth when he laughed, showing none of his teeth.

Eleven years after his 1988 death, his widow and I formed the not-for-profit Tee and Charles Foundation to protect his legacy as an extraordinary cartoonist with a painterly technique, and to educate people about Charlie’s gift by exhibiting his work worldwide. Following Tee’s passing in 2002, the Foundation dedicated the couple’s Sagaponack homestead, “The Swamp,” as a museum. They had moved there in the mid-1980s, and in true Addams style, they took their cemetery with them—a sweet place where their ashes are interred alongside those of their beloved dogs and cats.

Of the thousands of works Charlie published in his 55 years of cartooning, only 150 were devoted to the group of characters who became known as The Addams Family. But the perfectly off-center humor behind these characters won worldwide adoration even before they became the television and film family we know today. Even for those who never had the thrill of knowing the classy gentleman behind this unique art, Charlie’s family continues to capture the hearts of new generations of cartoon aficionados. We hope today’s doodle inspires you to seek out more of his work.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Keeping up with the 2012 U.S. election with Google.com/Elections

From the nineteenth century’s pamphlets to the twentieth century’s TV ad revolution, our elections have always been shaped by how we communicate and consume information. There’s no question that the Internet is set to deliver more political information, opinion and news than any other medium throughout the 2012 U.S. elections. The web offers candidate and issue info to voters; networking and fundraising platforms for campaigns; and research and productivity tools for journalists.

Today, just in time for the Iowa Caucuses, we’re launching google.com/elections, an election hub where citizens can study, watch, discuss, learn about, participate in and perhaps even make an impact on the digital campaign trail as it blazes forward to Tuesday, November 6, 2012.


The site enables voters, journalists and campaigns to quickly sort through election info by popularity, race or issues. People can also check out the Trends Dashboard to take the web’s real-time political pulse by comparing candidates’ YouTube video views, search traffic and Google News mentions. Campaign staffers, advocates and everyday citizens can utilize our tools and features to reach, engage and inspire voters.

There are a lot of miles to cover and coffee to be consumed before Election Day. We hope you’ll make Google.com/elections one of your regular online stops along the way.



(Cross-posted from the Politics & Elections Blog)