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It’s been nearly five years since we offered to build a fiber-optic network in one U.S. city as an experiment — and were met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Now, Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, and we've started to see how gigabit Internet, with speeds up to 100 times faster than today’s basic broadband, can transform cities. It can give them new platforms for economic development and new ways of using technology to improve life for their citizens. And, around the country, it seems to be catching on.

Check out the Kansas City Startup Village and Provo learn-how-to-code hub DevMountain. Take a look at the work of a geneticist whose speedy connection could one day help newborns in intensive care, or how one city's network is connecting a high school classroom to an underwater microscope so students can study oceanic life in the Pacific... from Chattanooga, Tenn. There are many more stories like this—stories about how people are using gigabit internet to spark innovation, inspire creativity, and collaborate in ways they simply couldn't before. And we want to see even more.

So, today, we’re happy to announce that Google Fiber is coming to 18 cities across four new metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham. We can’t wait to see what people and businesses across the Southeast U.S. do with gigabit speeds.


Bringing Google Fiber to these cities is a long-term investment. We’ve been working closely with city leaders over the past year on a joint planning process to get their communities ready for Google Fiber—and now the really hard work begins. Our next step is to work with cities to create a detailed map of where we can put our thousands of miles of fiber, using existing infrastructure such as utility poles and underground conduit, and making sure to avoid things like gas and water lines. Then a team of surveyors and engineers will hit the streets to fill in missing details. Once we’re done designing the network (which we expect to wrap up in a few months), we’ll start construction.


We’re also continuing to explore bringing fiber to five additional metro areas—Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose, and will have updates on these potential Fiber cities later this year.

Today, we aren't the only ones talking about gigabit broadband. From the White House to main street, a chorus of new voices is standing up for speed. Just last week during the State of the Union, the President called for faster networks so that innovators and entrepreneurs can build the next big idea. New research from the Fiber to the Home Council shows gigabit networks are contributing billions of dollars in economic growth. Communities across America are demanding more speed for their own homes and businesses, and we’re going to keep doing our part to help.

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Here’s a side of search trends to go along with your Friday. Read on to find out what got people talking–and searching–this week.

Deflate-gate and other scandals
Super Bowl drama is already here, and it’s not even February 1. After the New England Patriots dominated the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 to win the AFC Championship, news broke out that 11 out of the 12 balls used by New England quarterback Tom Brady were under inflated, which is a no-no in the NFL. The league has strict rules about the air pressure in game day balls since alterations could give one team an advantage. Both Brady and head coach Bill Belichick are singing Shaggy's greatest hit “It Wasn’t Me,” so we’ll all have to wait and see how the mystery unfolds.

On the other “football” field, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team goalkeeper Hope Solo is back in trouble with the law after she and her husband, Jerramy Stevens, were pulled over for suspicions of driving under the influence. The kicker? This all happened while Stevens was driving the U.S. team van, which promptly resulted in a 30-day suspension for Solo. This event comes just seven days after charges of domestic violence were dropped against the athlete.

The last laugh
On Tuesday, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address to outline his legislative agenda for the year ahead. Then, on Thursday, the President took questions about his remarks from YouTube Creators. While topics like education, the economy and foreign relations got people searching, the Internet had a field day after Obama dropped the proverbial mic at the expense of his Republican counterparts during his speech. In the midst of his talk, Obama stated “I have no more campaigns to run,” generating applause from some of his opponents. But Obama -- not one to be the butt of a joke -- responded as smooth as butter: “I know because I won both of them.” Burn.
Not what you expected
Search left people salivating after news that milk’s favorite cookie, the Oreo, was getting a new flavor inspired by Valentine’s Day. Confection-maker Nabisco decided to bring cupcake and cookie together in holy matrimony with the launch of a red velvet version of their snack on February 2. And as some people tried to satisfy their sweet tooth, it looks like Tiger Woods may have lost his...literally. The famed golfer made an appearance at his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup skiing race in Italy sporting a missing tooth, causing a stir on the web as people tried to find an explanation for his gap-toothed smile.

Meanwhile, things took a turn for the worse at the happiest place on earth. Disneyland was linked to an outbreak of more than 50 cases of the measles. Health officials are declaring the park safe for those who have their immunizations, but the situation has drummed up more controversy around the anti-vaccination movement.

Tip of the Week
Still sticking to your diet resolution? If you need a little help knowing the number of calories you’re eating just ask, “Ok Google, how many calories are in an avocado?” to stay in tip-top shape.

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This time of year may be cold and dark, but there was plenty to brighten our days—and keep us searching—this week.
Top of the pack
El Capitan is a stunning sight on a normal day—the sheer granite face rising above the valley in Yosemite National Park is hard to miss. But this week, people around the world had an extra reason to keep their eyes on El Cap: two mountain climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, made history on Wednesday when they completed the first ever free climb of the 3,000-foot wall. Searches for [el capitan climb] went up more than 1,000% as people looked to learn more about the feat.

Back on firm ground, Ohio State beat #2-ranked Oregon in an upset victory in the College Football Playoff championship. Though the Buckeyes may have won on the field, the Ducks still held the top of the search charts, with more than 2 million searches on Monday. People were also searching for the teams’ top players, especially Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, who announced this week that he had decided to stay with the team for another year, passing on the NFL draft. (His Oregon counterpart in Monday’s game, Marcus Mariota, made the opposite call.)

Glitter and glamour
We’re officially in peak entertainment awards season. The “72nd and finalGolden Globes took place on Sunday with hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Of particular interest on search were Jane the Virgin and its star Gina Rodriguez, whose win was considered a surprise and whose speech was considered a win, and The Honourable Woman’s Maggie Gyllenhaal, who gave a quietly passionate speech about women in Hollywood. And Michael Keaton, who won best actor in a drama for the film Birdman, brought some company with him to search, as well as the ceremony: his son and “best friend,” Sean Douglas, who spiked in search after Keaton sang his praises in his acceptance speech.

Then just when we’d finished analyzing the Globes’ winners and losers, the Oscar nominations were announced, meaning we officially have just over a month to catch up on all the films before the ceremony on February 22. Top nominees include Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Boyhood. (Someone get Sean Douglas a tux rental for February.) Want help with your Oscar pool? There’s no telling which film will win, but over the past year, the title of top film in Search is a close race between Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Finally, in addition to all the glitz on the red carpet, there was a different kind of glitter in search this week. A start-up business that lets you “ship your enemies glitter” went viral, giving you a new way to show that special (un)loved one how you feel. Millions of clicks and a website crash later, the founder is now saying he wants to quit. All that glitters is, apparently, not gold.

Tip of the week
Time to catch up on all those movies you haven’t seen. Just say “Ok Google” then “movie times” or “Selma movies times” and you’ll get a list of theaters and films playing near you.

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This Monday, January 19, we’re celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and marking the national MLK Day of Service. It’s a holiday that’s especially meaningful this year: 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March, and it’s a time when civil rights is at the forefront of our national conversation.

Next Monday, Googlers across the country are heeding the call to give back to their communities, and we hope you’ll join us. Take some time to honor Dr. King by volunteering in your community—you can find opportunities at All for Good. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the projects Googlers will be participating in, and the reasons why they’ve made the commitment to serve this MLK Day.

Dona Bellow, a legal assistant, will be helping middle school students in New York with computer science and STEM activities. She says, "doing something to help further the goals of someone else is reclaiming power: power to choose love over conflict, power to recognize and celebrate our differences, power to achieve an equitable outcome for all.”

In California, Googlers will be volunteering with the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation as it hosts a full day of festivities including the annual parade/march in San Francisco. Eliana Murillo, who is head of multicultural marketing and will be participating in Monday’s event, told us that “giving a hand to those in need helps build compassion and understanding of the diversity of life experiences.”

Leadership coordinator Aerica Banks says that she serves to ”break down barriers and build community. We are all able to serve, and we all stand to benefit.” She helped organize volunteers in our Atlanta office for the Atlanta Food Bank Kids In Need program event, which provides school supplies free of charge to teachers in low-income schools.

And Fabian Elliott, from our ads team in Chicago, helped organize Google volunteers in the Windy City to help middle school students practice compassion by writing letters to children struggling with terminal illnesses. He says, “Even the most obscure challenges of the world impact each of us at varying levels...It’s as simple as doing something that you love that supports a cause you believe in. What are you waiting for?”

Dr. King said: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?'" Googler volunteers are joining in the national efforts to honor the legacy of Dr. King—and we know that a commitment to service goes well beyond Monday. So we also support projects throughout the year to help to deepen our connections with local communities. Together, let’s make Martin Luther King Jr. Day “a day on, not a day off!”

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Every year since 2010, President Obama has turned to YouTube and Google after his State of the Union speech to answer questions that are top of mind for the American people. Asked through YouTube video submissions or live via Google+ Hangouts, these questions always bring an interesting perspective to the issues the president addresses in his speech. This year we’re doing something we’ve never done before: bringing a handful of YouTube creators directly to the White House to talk with the president in person in a live broadcast on Thursday, January 22.

YouTube creators Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green will interview President Obama about the top concerns facing them and their audiences. Over the next few days, the creators will ask you to share the questions you have for the president, some of which may be asked during the interview. In years past, people across the United States have used this interview to ask important questions about jobs, immigration and even Valentine’s Day. Use #YouTubeAsksObama on social media to suggest issues that are important to you or any questions that are on your mind.

Finally, don’t forget to tune in on January 20 at 9 p.m. EST to watch the State of the Union address, as well as the Republican response, live on YouTube.

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Often the hardest part of traveling is navigating the local language. If you've ever asked for "pain" in Paris and gotten funny looks, confused "embarazada" with "embarrassed" in Mexico, or stumbled over pronunciation pretty much anywhere, you know the feeling. Now Google Translate can be your guide in new ways. We’ve updated the Translate app on Android and iOS to transform your mobile device into an even more powerful translation tool.

Instant translation with Word Lens
The Translate app already lets you use camera mode to snap a photo of text and get a translation for it in 36 languages. Now, we’re taking it to the next level and letting you instantly translate text using your camera—so it’s way easier to navigate street signs in the Italian countryside or decide what to order off a Barcelona menu. While using the Translate app, just point your camera at a sign or text and you’ll see the translated text overlaid on your screen—even if you don't have an Internet or data connection.

This instant translation currently works for translation from English to and from French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and we’re working to expand to more languages.
Have an easier conversation using the Translate app
When talking with someone in an unfamiliar language, conversations can... get... realllllllly... sloowwww. While we’ve had real-time conversation mode on Android since 2013, our new update makes the conversation flow faster and more naturally.

Starting today, simply tap the mic to start speaking in a selected language, then tap the mic again, and the Google Translate app will automatically recognize which of the two languages are being spoken, letting you have a more fluid conversation. For the rest of the conversation, you won’t need to tap the mic again—it'll be ready as you need it. Asking for directions to the Rive Gauche, ordering bacalhau in Lisbon, or chatting with your grandmother in her native Spanish just got a lot faster.

These updates will be coming to both Android and iOS, rolling out over the next few days. This is the first time some of these advanced features, like camera translations and conversation mode, will be available for iOS users.

More than 500 million people use Google Translate every month, making more than 1 billion translations a day to more easily communicate and access information across languages. Today’s updates take us one step closer to turning your phone into a universal translator and to a world where language is no longer a barrier to discovering information or connecting with each other.

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2015 may have just begun, but search is already full steam ahead. From a tragedy in Paris to buzz around the new Calvin Klein ads, read on to find out how the year got started on search.

“Je suis Charlie”
The world was left in a state of disbelief on Wednesday after three gunmen stormed into the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical news magazine, and killed 12 people, including the paper’s editor Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier. The shooters targeted the publication in response to satirical cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. Interest in the outlet reached an all-time high on the web and people looked for more information about “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), a slogan adopted by free speech supporters in the wake of the shootings. A manhunt for the suspects finally ended Friday in a standoff at a printing company just outside of Paris, in which the two brothers behind the attacks were killed. Meanwhile, France mourns what is being called the country’s “worst terrorist attack in generations.”

The goals we can’t promise to keep
You know what they say—new year, new you. Searchers took to the Internet this week to find out how they could turn their new year’s resolutions into reality. And the usual suspects of diet and weight loss were on everyone’s list. The Dash Diet made it onto the trends charts after it took the number one spot on The U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best diets. Created by physicians to help treat high blood pressure, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) emphasizes fruits, veggies, whole grains and low sodium. So long, carbs; it was nice knowing you.

We’re working to get our bodies photo-shoot ready, but Justin Bieber has beaten us to the punch. “Beliebers” everywhere were left drooling over a new Calvin Klein underwear ad. Meanwhile, Justin’s campaign co-star, Dutch model Lara Stone, is getting some unwanted attention: she received several death threats from Bieber’s fans.
Looking ahead
The year’s not even two weeks old and people are already excited for what’s to come. If you blinked, you probably missed tickets for Coachella 2015, the star-studded desert music festival. The concert sold out after a mere 40 minutes! And comic book fans (and Paul Rudd loyalists) went into a frenzy when Marvel released the trailer for their latest superhero flick, Ant Man. Our take? This smells like a Millennial version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids.

Finally, while many were looking ahead to this year’s entertainment, others took the time to remember a legend. This week, searchers were feeling sentimental for Elvis Presley’s 80th birthday and revisited the King’s classic songs and memorable white suits.

Tip of the week
Don’t let this be another year of resolution failure: use Google to set reminders for all of your goals. Just say “Ok Google, remind me to go to the gym” when you’re ready to commit to 365 days of sweat.

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Last Wednesday Sony began contacting a number of companies, including Google, to ask if we’d be able to make their movie, "The Interview," available online. We'd had a similar thought and were eager to help—though given everything that’s happened, the security implications were very much at the front of our minds.

Of course it was tempting to hope that something else would happen to ensure this movie saw the light of day. But after discussing all the issues, Sony and Google agreed that we could not sit on the sidelines and allow a handful of people to determine the limits of free speech in another country (however silly the content might be).

So starting at 10 a.m. PST in the U.S., you can rent or buy "The Interview" on Google Play and YouTube Movies. It will also be available to Xbox Video customers and via www.seetheinterview.com.

Update 3:44p.m. PST: "The Interview" is now also available in Canada.

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After 23 days of preparation, the elves are finally ready for Santa’s annual journey around the globe. They’ve taught each other how to say "Santa Claus" in Swedish, guided their friends through mazes with code, brushed up on their geography, and learned about organizations making a difference worldwide. It’s been a busy month, but Santa’s sleigh is now ready for lift-off!
The elves brushed up on coding fundamentals with blockly maze games
The elves decorated their trees with ornaments about organizations making a difference

Each stop on Santa’s journey offers more to explore—discover 360-degree imagery, Wikipedia snippets, geography facts, and updates on how far Santa’s current location is from yours (take note—Santa’s path is not a direct one!). Come back and visit google.com/santatracker throughout the night for more surprises, like sleigh selfies or a latitude and longitude game to deliver presents.
Follow Santa on any screen—desktop, phone, tablet, or TV

If you’re on the ho-ho-go, download the Santa Tracker App for Android to keep track of Santa on your phone or tablet. With the Android app, watch Santa’s journey on your TV using Chromecast, or on your wrist with Android Wear (especially handy when wrapping last-minute gifts). And, you can always search for Santa on www.google.com or on Google Maps, and get real-time location updates with Google Now in the Google App.
Santa’s available at the flick of the wrist with Android Wear

Santa’s got a long and exciting night ahead of him before heading back to the North Pole. Grab some eggnog, set out the cookies, and join Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter to #tracksanta!

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It's the season of giving, and there are a lot of ways to give—by donating, by volunteering, by surprising a stranger with a random act of kindness. And we're joining in to help spread the holiday cheer. This month, Google.org is giving more than $15 million in grants to organizations using technology to address some of the world’s biggest problems. From San Francisco to Western Africa, these organizations are making a direct impact on people around the world, every day.

One of our grants will go to Feeding America. Each year, billions of pounds of surplus food are sent to landfills, while 49 million Americans (including one in five children) go hungry. Our grant will help support their newest food rescue initiative called the Online Marketplace, a program that connects local retail and foodservice businesses who have excess food to those in need. Feeding America serves 3.3 billion meals annually and the Online Marketplace is projected to lead to the recovery of an additional 740 million meals, significantly reducing food waste while giving more families access to food.

Two of our other grantees are working on the front lines to help ensure lives aren't lost to preventable diseases. Nexleaf Analytics works to get life-saving vaccines to children in India and Mozambique by preserving these vaccines before they spoil by installing low-cost refrigerator sensors in clinics. Malaria No More is fighting to save lives by better understanding the spread of malaria using newly available mobile data to map malaria cases and how they are being treated.

To learn more about additional nonprofits we’re supporting through these grants, and to see how you can get involved with their efforts, visit g.co/happyholidays and see our slideshow below:


These are only part of our annual philanthropic efforts. Over the course of the year, we strive to make the world a little bit better through our technology and giving programs, including more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in technology resources, and 80,000+ volunteer hours donated to causes around the world.

We're inspired by all the people out there who are working to make a difference—whether it's one of these organizations or simply one person doing a good deed for another. We're glad to do our part spreading some love this holiday season, and look forward to seeing more world-changing work in 2015.