Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
Exploring the Grand Canyon on Google Maps
January 31, 2013
Whether you’re planning an upcoming hike, or want to learn more about the Earth’s geological history, Google Maps can help. Today, we’re releasing panoramic imagery of one of the world’s most spectacular national monuments: the Grand Canyon. These beautiful, interactive images cover more than 75 miles of trails and surrounding roads, making our map of this area even more comprehensive, accurate and easy to use than ever before.
Take a walk down the narrow trails and exposed paths of the Grand Canyon: hike down the famous
Bright Angel Trail
, gaze out at the
mighty Colorado River
, and explore
in full 360-degrees. You’ll be happy you’re virtually hiking once you get to the steep inclines of the
South Kaibab Trail
. And rather than drive a couple hours to see the nearby
, a click of your mouse or tap of your finger will transport you to the rim of this otherworldly site.
View Larger Map
The Colorado River, one of the many impressive scenes in the Grand Canyon
was made possible with the
. Our team strapped on the Android-operated 40-pound backpacks carrying the 15-lens camera system and wound along the rocky terrain on foot, enduring temperature swings and a few muscle cramps along the way. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.
View Larger Map
A breathtaking 360-degree view from the famous Bright Angel Trail
So no matter where you are, you don’t have to travel far or wait for warmer weather to explore Grand Canyon National Park. Check out some of our favorite views on our
World Wonders site
where you can find more information, facts and figures about the Grand Canyon, or in the updated
Street View gallery
, and happy (virtual) hiking!
Posted by Ryan Falor, Product Manager, Google Maps
maps and earth
Google Science Fair: Looking for the next generation of scientists and engineers to change the world
January 30, 2013
At age 16,
invented an alphabet for the blind. When she was 13,
became fascinated with math and went on to write the first computer program. And at 18,
Alexander Graham Bell
started experimenting with sound and went on to invent the telephone. Throughout history many great scientists developed their curiosity for science at an early age and went on to make groundbreaking discoveries that changed the way we live.
Today, we’re launching the third annual Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American to find the next generation of scientists and engineers. We’re inviting students ages 13-18 to participate in the largest online science competition and submit their ideas to change the world.
For the past two years, thousands of students from more than 90 countries have submitted research projects that address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Previous winners tackled issues such as the
early diagnosis of breast cancer
improving the experience of listening to music for people with hearing loss
cataloguing the ecosystem found in water
. This year we hope to once again inspire scientific exploration among young people and receive even more entries for our third competition.
Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:
Students can enter the Science Fair in
The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
In June, we’ll recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
At the finals, a
panel of distinguished international judges
consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
for the 2013 Science Fair include a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a trip to the Galapagos with National Geographic Expeditions, experiences at CERN, Google or the LEGO Group and digital access to the Scientific American archives for the winner’s school for a year. Scientific American will also award a
$50,000 Science in Action prize
to one project that makes a practical difference by addressing a social, environmental or health issue. We’re also introducing two new prizes for 2013:
In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Voter's Choice Award—an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
We also recognize that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.
Lastly, we’ll also be hosting a series of
Google+ Hangouts on Air
. Taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, these Hangouts will feature renowned scientists including inventor Dean Kamen and oceanographic explorer Fabien Cousteau, showcase exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of cutting-edge labs and science facilities, and provide access to judges and the Google Science Fair team. We hope these Google+ Hangouts will help inspire, mentor and support students throughout the competition and beyond.
to get started now—your idea might just change the world.
Posted by Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team
Updated the name of the Voter's Choice Award (previously the Inspired Idea Award).
education and research
Mapping creates jobs and drives global economic growth
January 30, 2013
Twenty years ago, we used paper maps and printed guides to help us navigate the world. Today, the most advanced digital mapping technologies—satellite imagery, GPS devices, location data and of course
—are much more accessible. This sea change in mapping technology is improving our lives and helping businesses realize untold efficiencies.
The transformation of the maps we use everyday is driven by a growing industry that creates jobs and economic growth globally. To present a clearer picture of the importance of the geo services industry, we commissioned studies from
Boston Consulting Group
. What we found is that maps make a big economic splash around the world.
In summary, the global geo services industry is valued at up to $270 billion per year and pays out $90 billion in wages. In the U.S., it employs more than 500,000 people and is worth $73 billion. The infographic below illustrates some examples of the many benefits of maps, whether it’s improving agriculture irrigation systems or helping emergency response teams save lives.
Click the image for a larger version
1.1 billion hours of travel time saved each year? That’s a lot of time. Also, consider
, which uses map technology to optimize delivery routes—saving 5.3 million miles and more than 650,000 gallons of fuel in 2011. And every eight seconds, a user hails a taxi with
, which used maps and GPS to deliver more than 1 million journeys in London alone last year. Finally,
uses maps to connect more than 760,000 customers to a growing fleet of cars in locations around the world.
Because maps are such an integral part of how we live and do business, the list of examples goes on and on. That’s why it’s important we all understand the need to invest in the geo services industry so it continues to grow and drive the global economy. Investments can come from the public and private sectors in many forms—product innovation, support of open data policies, more geography education programs in schools and more.
We’re proud of the contributions that
Google Maps APIs
have made to the geo services industry and to making maps more widely available, but there’s a long way to go. To learn more about the impact of the maps industry, see the
Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Google Geo
maps and earth
policy and issues
Google’s approach to government requests for user data
January 27, 2013
Today, January 28, is Data Privacy Day, when the world recognizes the importance of preserving your online privacy and security.
If it’s like most other days, Google—like many companies that provide online services to users—will receive dozens of letters, faxes and emails from government agencies and courts around the world requesting access to our users’ private account information. Typically this happens in connection with government investigations.
It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe. We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.
To strike this balance, we’re focused on three initiatives that I’d like to share, so you know what Google is doing to protect your privacy and security.
First, for several years we have advocated for updating laws like the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so the same protections that apply to your personal documents that you keep in your home also apply to your email and online documents. We’ll continue this effort strongly in 2013 through our membership in the
Digital Due Process
coalition and other initiatives.
Second, we’ll continue our long-standing strict process for handling these kinds of requests. When government agencies ask for our users’ personal information—like what you provide when you sign up for a Google Account, or the contents of an email—our team does several things:
We scrutinize the request carefully to make sure it satisfies the law and our policies. For us to consider complying, it generally must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official of the requesting agency and issued under an appropriate law.
We evaluate the scope of the request. If it’s overly broad, we may refuse to provide the information or
seek to narrow the request
. We do this frequently.
We notify users about legal demands when appropriate so that they can contact the entity requesting it or consult a lawyer. Sometimes we can’t, either because we’re legally prohibited (in which case we sometimes seek to lift gag orders or unseal search warrants) or we don’t have their verified contact information.
We require that government agencies conducting criminal investigations use a search warrant to compel us to provide a user’s search query information and private content stored in a Google Account—such as Gmail messages, documents, photos and YouTube videos. We believe a warrant is required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and overrides conflicting provisions in ECPA.
And third, we work hard to provide you with information about government requests. Today, for example, we’ve added a new
to our Transparency Report that answers many questions you might have. And last week we released
showing that government requests continue to rise, along with additional details on the U.S. legal processes—such as subpoenas, court orders and warrants—that governments use to compel us to provide this information.
We’re proud of our approach, and we believe it’s the right way to make sure governments can pursue legitimate investigations while we do our best to protect your privacy and security.
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
Fireside Hangouts: Join Vice President Biden in a discussion about gun violence
January 23, 2013
As President Obama and his cabinet begin their second term in the White House, they’re renewing a
of conversations on Google+ with top administration officials. These “Fireside Hangouts," a 21st-century spin on FDR’s
famous radio addresses
, bring top Administration officials to Google+ to discuss the most important issues in the country, face-to-face-to-face with fellow citizens in a hangout. The next hangout will take place Thursday, January 24 at 1:45 pm ET with Vice President Joe Biden on a topic that’s on everyone’s mind: reducing gun violence.
During his 30-minute hangout, Vice President Biden will discuss the White House policy recommendations on reducing gun violence with participants including
from PBS NewsHour. If you'd like to suggest a question, just follow the participants on Google+, and look for posts about tomorrow's Hangout. To view the broadcast live, just tune in to the White House's
on Thursday afternoon.
The White House will continue to host Hangouts with key members of the President’s cabinet on a range of second term priorities. Follow the White House on Google+ for more information about how you can join the conversation... or an upcoming Hangout.
, Google+ Politics
Transparency Report: What it takes for governments to access personal information
January 23, 2013
Today we’re releasing new data for the
, showing that the steady increase in government requests for our users’ data continued in the second half of 2012, as usage of our services continued to grow. We’ve shared figures like this
because it’s important for people to understand how government actions affect them.
We’re always looking for ways to make the report even more informative. So for the first time we’re now
a breakdown of the kinds of legal process that government entities in the U.S. use when compelling communications and technology companies to hand over user data. From July through December 2012:
68 percent of the requests Google received from government entities in the U.S. were through subpoenas. These are requests for user-identifying information, issued under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), and are the easiest to get because they typically don’t involve judges.
22 percent were through ECPA search warrants. These are, generally speaking, orders issued by judges under ECPA, based on a demonstration of “probable cause” to believe that certain information related to a crime is presently in the place to be searched.
The remaining 10 percent were mostly court orders issued under ECPA by judges or other processes that are difficult to categorize.
User data requests of all kinds have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, as you can see in our new visualizations of overall trends. In total, we received 21,389 requests for information about 33,634 users from July through December 2012.
We’ll keep looking for more ways to inform you about government requests and how we handle them. We hope more companies and governments themselves join us in this effort by releasing similar kinds of data.
One last thing: You may have noticed that the latest Transparency Report doesn’t include new data on
. That’s because we’ve decided to release those numbers separately going forward. Stay tuned for that data.
Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security
privacy and security
Responding to the severe flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia
January 17, 2013
The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a
to help track affected areas and provide updated emergency information for the millions affected by flooding in Jakarta. We also have a
with emergency contact numbers and lists of shelters, and
enhanced search results on google.co.id
to provide information directly when people search. We’ve also included this information in our
service to reach affected users on feature phones.
On both the page and map, which are available in
, you'll see an update on flood locations and related data such as traffic conditions in areas affected by the flooding.
To share the page or embed these maps on your own site, click "Share" at the top of the page.
We’ll update the content as more information becomes available.
Posted by Alice Bonhomme-Biais, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response
maps and earth
Inviting kids to dream big: Doodle 4 Google 2013 is open for submission!
January 14, 2013
We’re always thinking about ways to make everyday life a little easier and a little more fun. But what would the
day look like? We thought we’d ask the most creative folks out there: today we’re announcing our 6th annual U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition, inviting K-12 students around the country to create their own “doodle” (one of the
special Google logos
you see on our homepage on various occasions). This year’s theme: “
My Best Day Ever...
” Breakdancing with aliens? Sure! Building a fortress of candy? Okay by us! Riding to school on a brontosaurus? You get the idea—but if you need more inspiration, take a look at our video here:
The winning artist will see their work on the Google homepage for a day, win a $30,000 college scholarship, and win a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school.
The judging starts with Googlers and a panel of guest judges. This year our judges include journalist and TV personality Katie Couric; music maestro Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson of The Roots; Chris Sanders, writer and director of
Lilo & Stitch
How to Train Your Dragon
; and Pendleton Ward, creator of
; among other great creative minds.
On May 1 we’ll open up a public vote for the 50 State Winners. They’ll be flown to New York City for a national awards ceremony on May 22. There, we’ll announce the National Winner, whose doodle will appear on the Google homepage the following day. In addition, all the State Winners will have their artwork on display at the
American Museum of Natural History
from May 22 to July 14.
Participating is easier than ever. You can download the entry forms on our
Doodle 4 Google site
and send in completed doodles by mail or online. All entries must be received by March 22 with a parent or guardian’s signature. We encourage full classrooms to participate too. There’s no limit to the number of doodles that come from any one school or family... just remember, only one doodle per student.
For more details, check out
, where you’ll find full contest rules and entry forms. Happy doodling, and good luck!
Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead
A wind investment deep in the heart of Texas
January 9, 2013
In late December, while most of us were busy wrapping presents, our Treasury team was tying a bow on our most recent
renewable energy deal
: an approximately $200 million equity investment in a wind farm in west Texas that generates enough energy to power more than 60,000 average U.S. homes.
Spinning Spur Wind Project is located in Oldham County, a wide open, windy section of the Texas Panhandle located about 35 miles from Amarillo. The 161 megawatt facility was built by renewable energy developer EDF Renewable Energy, a veteran in the industry that has overseen more than 50 other clean energy projects. Spinning Spur’s 70 2.3 MW Siemens turbines started spinning full time just before the end of the year, and the energy they create has been contracted to SPS, a utility that primarily serves Texas and New Mexico.
We look for projects like Spinning Spur because, in addition to creating more renewable energy and strengthening the local economy, they also make for smart investments: they offer attractive returns relative to the risks and allow us to invest in a broad range of assets. We’re also proud to be the first investor in an EDF Renewable Energy project that is not a financial institution, as we believe that corporations can be an important new source of capital for the renewable energy sector.
Spinning Spur joins 10 other renewable energy investments we’ve made since 2010, several of which hit significant milestones in the past year:
Atlantic Wind Connection
received permission to begin permitting, an important step in advancing the construction of the United States’ first offshore backbone electric transmission system (more in this
, one of the world’s largest wind farms with a capacity of 845 MW, became fully operational in October.
project, which is more than 75 percent complete and employs 2,000+ people, recently installed its 100,000th heliostat, a kind of mirror (more in this
(PDF), the fourth and final phase of Recurrent Energy's 88MW solar installation in Sacramento County, Calif., reached commercial operation.
Altogether, the renewable energy projects we’ve invested in are capable of generating 2 gigawatts of power. To give a better sense of what that really means, we came up with some comparisons (click to enlarge):
Here’s to a clean, renewable 2013!
Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Senior Manager, Corporate Finance
Finding the inner programmer in every Googler
January 7, 2013
This is the second post in a
profiling Googlers who facilitate classes as part of our g2g program, in which Googlers teach, share and learn from each other. Regardless of role, level or location, g2g's community-based approach makes it possible for all Googlers to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities.
If someone had told me when I graduated with a degree in economics that I’d one day be employed in a technical role at Google, I would have laughed. In 2008, I joined Google’s people operations rotation program, in which one experiences three different people ops areas—from benefits to staffing—over the course of two years. After just a few short months, I found myself with a passion for technology and a profound interest in programming that would draw me into teaching a class, Intro to Programming (I2P), to non-engineers at Google as a part of the g2g (Googlers-to-Googlers) program.
Teaching programming to an I2P class at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters
While on the benefits team, I was assigned a project that involved matching up hundreds of Googlers’ names with their corresponding office locations and job titles. I quickly realized that a few simple
could probably speed up my work and reduce errors. The only problem was, I had no clue how to write a program.
I began to teach myself the programming language Python, which is known for its clarity of syntax and friendliness to beginners. Slowly, I produced a multi-functional automated spreadsheet, and then a web application to share with my team. My teammates, seeing that my newfound technical skills had saved all of us time, asked me to teach them how to code; thus, in front of a whiteboard in a small conference room, I2P was born.
Since then, more than 200 Googlers have taken I2P. We encourage an open, supportive environment in the class, making it an approachable way for Googlers to broaden their horizons within the workplace and gain new skills. Some of my former students have even moved from roles in global business, finance and people operations to full-time engineering positions. That’s awesome to see, but I love that Googlers can use what they learn in I2P to make processes across the company more efficient—no matter what team they work on. For example, an administrative assistant who took the class streamlined a manual daily task by automating an email response survey for her team.
In addition to solving business challenges, I’ve also seen Googlers using the programming skills they learned in I2P to help others—both inside and outside of Google. Recently, an I2P alum increased participation in Google’s free flu shot program by writing a Python-based enrollment tool that allows Googlers to find appointments online by preferred office location and time. Thousands more Googlers signed up to receive flu shots due to the convenience provided by the tool. Because Google donates an equal number of vaccinations, such as those preventing meningitis or pneumonia, to children in the developing world, this new tool also led to thousands more children receiving crucial vaccinations.
More than 200 Googlers have participated in the 11-week course (the sword definitely helps keep engagement high...don’t worry, it’s foam!)
What’s extraordinary to me is that under the g2g program, the “guy down the hall in HR” can teach programming—of all things—to his fellow Googlers. It’s been extremely rewarding to experience first-hand the results of my students’ learnings. Googlers have taken the principles and skills from I2P and put them to work in time management, email communication and even just having fun re-creating
—leave it to Googlers to span the gamut of I2P skill application. I often think how awesome it would be if every Googler could take I2P and apply what they’ve learned to make processes across the company more efficient.
If you’re interested in learning how to code, here are three tips from the course that you can practice on your own. While I’ve learned these principles via programming, they can be helpful in all kinds of fields!
You learn best when you have something to apply your learning to. With programming, find a project you want to apply your skills to and build the knowledge necessary to accomplish your project.
Bad habits die hard.
If you are writing messy or convoluted code, you are building habits that will be very hard to break. Better to overcome the pain of doing it the right way initially so that you never have to go back and change.
Just because a script "works" doesn't mean it works well. Always get advice from others with more experience so that you are learning how to do things better, not just sufficiently well.
Posted by Albert Hwang, Team Lead of the People Technology & Operations Tools Group
googlers and culture
Make some New Year’s resolutions for your business
January 3, 2013
When Melodie Bishop heard about our
Get Your Business Online
program (an initiative that makes it fast, easy and free for U.S. businesses to get online), she jumped at the opportunity to turn her hobby of creating Chicago-themed gift baskets into a full-time business. Since launching her website,
Send Them Chicago
, this past summer, Melodie has seen a 70 percent increase in new customers.
Melodie Bishop with one of her gift baskets
As the holidays wrap up and the New Year starts, millions of business owners just like Melodie are thinking about how they can grow in 2013. For many, this means getting found and connecting with customers on the web.
Yet often, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’re helping business owners create a list of
New Year’s resolutions
Let us know what you hope to accomplish in the New Year. Do you want to get your basic business information online? Or do you already have a website and want to reach more customers? Once you select your goals, we’ll create a customized list of resolutions with resources to help you stick to it.
In the U.S., 58 percent of small businesses don’t have a website, but 97 percent of Internet users look online for local products and services. So it’s not surprising that businesses with a web presence are expected to grow 40 percent faster than those without.
Creating a list of resolutions
for your business may just be one of the easiest things you can do to help your business grow.
We’ll see you on the web.
P.S. If you aren’t a small business owner, it’s not too late to give that business you know the
gift of a free website
Posted by Aditya Mahesh, Product Marketing, Get Your Business Online
The Federal Trade Commission closes its antitrust review
January 3, 2013
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today announced it has closed its investigation into Google after an exhaustive 19-month review that covered millions of pages of documents and involved many hours of testimony. The conclusion is clear: Google’s services are good for users and good for competition.
Larry and Sergey founded Google because they believed that building a great search experience would improve people’s lives. And in the decade-plus that’s followed, Google has worked hard to make it quicker and easier for users to find what they need. In the early days you would type in a query, we’d return 10 blue links and you’d have to click on them individually to find what you wanted. Today we can save you the hassle by providing direct answers to your questions, as well as links to other sites. So if you type in [weather san francisco], or [tom hanks movies], we now give you the answer right from the results page—because truly great search is all about turning your needs into actions in the blink of an eye.
As we made clear when the FTC started its investigation, we’ve always been open to improvements that would create a better experience. And today we’ve
(PDF) to the FTC making two voluntary product changes:
More choice for websites
: Websites can already
opt out of
Google Search, and they can now remove content (for example reviews) from specialized search results pages, such as local, travel and shopping;
More ad campaign control
: Advertisers can already
export their ad campaigns
from Google AdWords. They will now be able to mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use our AdWords API.
In addition, we’ve
agreed with the FTC
(PDF) that we will seek to resolve standard-essential patent disputes through a neutral third party before seeking injunctions. This agreement establishes clear rules of the road for standards essential patents going forward.
We’ve always accepted that with success comes regulatory scrutiny. But we’re pleased that the FTC and the other authorities that have looked at Google's business practices—including the U.S. Department of Justice (in its
review), the U.S. courts (in the
cases), and the Brazilian courts (in a
case last year
)—have concluded that we should be free to combine direct answers with web results. So we head into 2013 excited about our ability to innovate for the benefit of users everywhere.
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer
A little help from Google on your New Year’s resolutions
January 1, 2013
The new year has arrived, and with it all the resolutions that we hope to tackle in 2013.
But resolutions can be hard to keep. And since eating better, taking control of personal finances, travelling more and learning something new regularly top the list of New Year’s resolutions, we've pulled together some of our best tips and tricks across Google to make 2013 the year you succeed with your goals.
Apps such as Diet Diary
can be easily accessed through
device—that way it’s with you when it‘s on your mind. If spreadsheets are more your style, try one of several Google Docs templates, like this
weekly meal planner
Find recipes for healthy meals and how-to-cook videos with apps like
BBC’s Good Food
for Chrome or food channels like
Show me the Curry
Rely on the Google+ community for motivation and learn from others via hangouts on
how to prepare healthy meals
We know how easy it is to fall off track. Check out
to find apps, books and music to keep you motivated.
Get fiscally fit
To control your finances, you need to know exactly where money is coming in and out. This
simple budget template
in Google Drive already has you halfway there.
If you prefer a more detailed budget, try using an app like Mint to track your finances on the go, available on both
Keep track of your stock portfolio and related market news via
or with brokerage apps like
from Google Play.
Google Flight Search
to quickly compare flight times and costs across airlines. Try the “tourist spotlight” feature on
Google Hotel Finder
to find a room near the hottest spots in the city.
Simply type [tourist attractions <city name>] into Google Search to see some of the
top points of interest
. Once you have a list of the things you want to do and see, keep it in one place and share it with your travel buddies using
Never get lost with
. Whether your plans are local or
, comprehensive and accurate Google Maps can help you find your way.
Learn something new
Learn how to
hone your yoga practice
crochet a granny square
by following the steps of experts on YouTube. If classroom style learning works better for you, try joining a
to learn how to
from people who share your interests and passions.
Try a free language learning app like the
Spanish app for Chrome or the
Busuu Portuguese language app
Keep up with current events or hone in on specific interests by personalizing your
and setting up
to receive information on specific topics directly in your email. If your inbox is already on overload, try the
Google Currents app
for news on the go.
Learning something new doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out
for deals on classes for dancing, cooking, bartending and more.
If your resolution wasn’t listed here, try checking out
’s Google+ page with tips from experts, live via Google+ hangouts, for 13 more resolutions starting on January 13.
that you’re more likely to achieve your resolutions if you write them down and have support. Try sharing your goals with
around you. When you’re ready to share your new year’s ambition with the world, or if you're interested in seeing what resolutions look like around the globe, add it to the
interactive resolution map
on our 2012 Zeitgeist website.
No matter who you are, the web can help you do anything.
Posted by Liz Wessel, Associate Product Marketing Manager
Marking the birth of the modern-day Internet
January 1, 2013
Today is the 30th birthday of the modern-day Internet. Five years ago we marked the occasion with
. This year we invited Vint Cerf to tell the story. Vint is widely regarded as one of the fathers of the Internet for his contributions to shaping the Internet’s architecture, including co-designing the TCP/IP protocol. Today he works with Google to promote and protect the Internet. -Ed.
A long time ago, my colleagues and I became part of a great adventure, teamed with a small band of scientists and technologists in the U.S. and elsewhere. For me, it began in 1969, when the potential of
communication was operationally tested in the grand
experiment by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Other kinds of packet switched networks were also pioneered by DARPA, including mobile packet radio and packet satellite, but there was a big problem. There was no common language. Each network had its own
using different conventions and formatting standards to send and receive packets, so there was no way to transmit anything between networks.
In an attempt to solve this, Robert Kahn and I developed a new computer communication protocol designed specifically to support connection among different packet-switched networks. We called it TCP, short for “Transmission Control Protocol,” and in 1974 we published a paper about it in IEEE Transactions on Communications: “
A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication
.” Later, to better handle the transmission of real-time data, including voice, we split TCP into two parts, one of which we called “Internet Protocol,” or IP for short. The two protocols combined were nicknamed TCP/IP.
TCP/IP was tested across the three types of networks developed by DARPA, and eventually was anointed as their new standard. In 1981, Jon Postel published
a transition plan
to migrate the 400 hosts of the ARPANET from the older NCP protocol to TCP/IP, including a deadline of January 1, 1983, after which point all hosts not switched would be cut off.
From left to right: Vint Cerf in 1973, Robert Kahn in the 1970’s, Jon Postel
When the day came, it’s fair to say the main emotion was relief, especially amongst those system administrators racing against the clock. There were no grand celebrations—I can’t even find a photograph. The only visible mementos were the “I survived the TCP/IP switchover” pins proudly worn by those who went through the ordeal!
Yet, with hindsight, it’s obvious it was a momentous occasion. On that day, the operational Internet was born. TCP/IP went on to be embraced as an international standard, and now underpins the entire Internet.
It’s been almost 40 years since Bob and I wrote our paper, and I can assure you while we had high hopes, we did not dare to assume that the Internet would turn into the worldwide platform it’s become. I feel immensely privileged to have played a part and, like any proud parent, have delighted in watching it grow. I continue to
do what I can
to protect its future. I hope you’ll join me today in raising a toast to the Internet—may it continue to connect us for years to come.
Posted by Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist
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