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Newsfeeds from around the industry
The Official Google Blog
Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture.

  • Through the Google lens: Search trends March 20-26
    Searches for March Madness are still surviving and advancing, but this week brought with it a host of other stories to spur your search questions. Here’s a look at what people were searching for this week:

    Germanwings Flight 9525
    On Tuesday, Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people who were onboard. In the wake of the tragedy, people around the world have turned to search to learn more about the crash and subsequent investigation. Early searches included questions about Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent company, and about the type of plane that had crashed; search interest in the Airbus A320 family spiked 100x in the first four hours. But after investigations revealed that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz appears to have deliberately locked himself in the cockpit and flown the plane into a mountain, the questions got more specific. People asked questions like “How do you access the plane’s cockpit?” and worried: “Is it safe to fly after the Germanwings crash?” and “Is flying becoming more dangerous?”

    Presidential politics
    Election Day 2016 is more than a year-and-a-half away, but the presidential race is already underway. On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz announced his candidacy. The Texas Republican is known for his fervent opposition to the Affordable Care Act, in particular a 21-hour filibuster-style speech on the floor of the Senate in 2013 (at one point, he read aloud from Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham). Searchers turned to the web to answer all kinds of questions about Cruz and his beliefs, sending searches for [cruz liberty], [cruz obamacare] and [cruz wiki] to spike more than a thousand percent in the last 30 days. The top questions, though, were around whether Cruz is eligible to become President because he was born in Canada. (The answer is yes, BTW.)
    Pop culture mania
    This week Zayn Malik confirmed he is leaving boy band One Direction, sending teens worldwide into a tailspin as they asked (and searched): “Why is Zayn leaving One Direction?” The British star said that he is leaving to “be a normal 22-year-old...out of the spotlight,” which may be tough given there were more than a million searches for him on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the rest of the band will go on without him—in fact, search interest in One Direction tours spiked 5x in the U.S. the day of the announcement.

    If freaking out about Zayn isn’t your thing, maybe freaking out about “A” is? The mysterious villain of the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars was revealed—sorta—on Tuesday night, leading to hundreds of thousands of searches for the show. We won’t spoil it here, even though it was frankly a little hard to miss amidst the outcry. Let’s just say, the truth is out there. ;)

    Finally, it’s barely spring but it’s already time to start thinking about your summer festival agenda. The line-ups of both San Francisco’s Outside Lands and Chicago’s Lollapalooza music festivals were announced this week. The top festival searched in each state breaks down almost exclusively along geographic lines and leaves us wondering: Are Massachusetts residents big Elton John fans?
    Taking charge of your health
    In a New York Times op-ed, Angelina Jolie revealed that she had undergone surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes to prevent cancer. This was the second preventative surgery for Jolie (she wrote about her double mastectomy in 2013), who made this decision because she carries a mutation in her BRCA1 gene, putting her at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. There were more than 100,000 searches for Angelina Jolie on Tuesday, and people turned to the web to ask related questions about women’s health and cancer prevention.
    Tip of the week
    Who says National Puppy Day has to be just once a year? When you’re need of a furry pick-me-up, just ask the Google app “Ok Google, show me pictures of puppies.” Smiles are practically guaranteed.

    Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [rural studio] and [izombie]

  • It's time to put America’s small businesses on the map
    If you searched for “Dependable Care near Garland, TX” a few months ago, you would have seen a lot of search results—but not the one that mattered to Marieshia Hicks. Marieshia runs Dependable Care Health Service in Garland, and it was her business that was missing. But that all changed last month when she attended a workshop at the Garland Chamber of Commerce called Let’s Put Garland on the Map.

    The workshop, run by our Get Your Business Online team, showed her how to use Google My Business—a tool that allows business owners to control the info listed about their business on Google Search and Maps—to help more people find Dependable. Marieshia added an updated phone number, hours of operation, and a description to her business listing. Within a few months, she had more customers come through the door and referrals from doctors who could reach her. This one simple adjustment made a difference. In Marieshia’s words: “It’s huge.”

    Huge might be an understatement. Four out of five people use search engines to find local information, like business hours and addresses, and research shows that businesses with complete listings are twice as likely (PDF) to be considered reputable by customers. Consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 percent more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings. Yet only 37 percent of businesses (PDF) have claimed a local business listing on a search engine. That’s a lot of missed opportunities for small businesses.

    With this in mind, our Get Your Business Online team set out in 2011 to help businesses like Marieshia’s get found online. We’ve gone to every state in the U.S. and worked with thousands of business owners to create free websites and update their Google Search and Maps listings. But there’s a lot more work to do to help businesses take advantage of the vast opportunities yielded by the web. So today, we’re introducing Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map, a new program to help 30,000 cities get their local businesses online.

    If we want to help every business in the U.S., we need to reach businesses where they are. So this tailor-made program provides each city with a custom website where local businesses can find helpful resources, including a new diagnostic tool that shows businesses how they appear on Search and Maps, a step-by-step guide for getting online with Google My Business, and a free website and domain name for one year with our partner, Startlogic.

    We’re also forming partnerships with local organizations—like chambers and small business development centers—and equipping them with free trainings and customized city materials to run workshops just like the one Marieshia attended in Garland. These local partners know the challenges for local businesses more than anyone—and they recognize the value of getting businesses online. After all, getting Dependable’s information online not only means the world for Marieshia, it means even more for the city of Garland. Complete business info can help generate economic value up to $300,000 a year for a small city or up to $7 million for a large one (PDF). So when our local businesses are online, our local economies benefit.

    If you have a favorite local business—a day care, a dentist, a dry cleaner—show your support by helping them get their info online and on the map. Visit your city’s website at www.gybo.com to find out how you can get involved.

    Let’s put our cities on the map!

    Posted by Soo Young Kim, Head of Marketing, Get Your Business Online

  • Through the Google lens: Search trends March 13-19
    Whether you’re glued to the small screen or you’ve got your eyes on the sky this week, search is there to answer your questions. Here’s a look at this week in search:

    TV gold
    FOX’s “Empire” has built a kingdom of fans during its first season on the air. This week’s finale not only brought the TV show its highest number of viewers—it also had its largest spike in search interest to date with 200,000+ searches Wednesday night. The two-hour finale delivered a king-sized serving of soap opera-esque surprises, ending in a cliffhanger that had fans eager for more (“When does ‘Empire’ season 2 air?” was trending question this week). And “Empire” is making waves in the real-life music industry too: its soundtrack debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top 200 list this week. Here’s a look at the top searched songs:
    Moving from TV fiction to fact, news broke last Saturday that real estate scion Robert Durst had been arrested in connection to several unsolved murders. Durst was the subject of “The Jinx,” the HBO documentary that aired its final episode Sunday night—in which Durst appears to confess to the crimes. Needless to say, though the police said the arrest was not connected to the show, the timing was great for HBO. Search interest in Robert Durst increased by 1,700 percent in the U.S.

    Spring fever
    March Madness tipped off this week, with fans across the nation rushing to fill out their brackets and come up with excuses to be out of the office. Ten of the top 20 searches yesterday were related to college basketball, and people are turning to search to ask important questions like “Who can beat Kentucky?” (They’re undefeated this season.) And everyone wants to know who President Obama is rooting for: his is the most searched celebrity bracket so far.
    If your bracket is already busted, you’ve got something else to be happy about: today marks the first day of spring, and the vernal equinox. Even though it’s still cold or even snowy in some spots today, the arrival of spring has people very excited. There were more than 2 million searches for [vernal equinox] yesterday—even more than searches for [march madness live].

    Still, the sun’s position over the Equator isn’t the only celestial event that’s got people searching. On Friday, we’ll see both a Supermoon as well as the only total solar eclipse of the year—the first since 2013. Searches for [solar eclipse glasses] are up more than 2,000 percent as people figure out how to catch a glimpse. And an intense solar storm brought the aurora borealis south on Tuesday night, making the Northern Lights visible as far south as Oregon and as far out as outer space. The green lights lit up search as well as the skies: search interest went up more than 1,250 percent this week!
    Good eats
    Who says it needs to be hot out to eat ice cream? Dairy Queen kicked off its 75th anniversary celebrations on Monday by treating everyone to a free cone, and more than 200,000 searches followed. And it turns out that when it comes to comfort food, ice cream was a better choice this week than the good ol’ blue box. Kraft announced a recall of more than 6 million boxes its classic macaroni and cheese after metal was found in some boxes. There were more than 100,000+ searches for [kraft mac and cheese recall] as people tried to determine whether their pantries were affected.

    Tip of the week
    Keep up with the NCAA tournament with the Google app. Just say “Ok Google, show me the latest on March Madness” to get real-time scores, in-game and recap videos, and live streams for each game.

    Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [heisler beer tv] and [little women reboot]

  • Bringing street art to your daily life
    For more than 20 years, New Yorkers and street art lovers worldwide made the pilgrimage to 5Pointz, a building in Long Island City called the "Graffiti Mecca" because of its brightly colored, ever-changing walls. Artists from around the world covered every inch of the 200,000-square foot exterior with more than 350 technicolor murals. But last summer, this building on Davis Street was whitewashed over by developers, then demolished.

    Street art like that at 5Pointz transforms public spaces into open-air galleries, adding vibrancy to urban landscapes. But using the city as a canvas often means these artworks are here today, gone tomorrow. With the Google Art Project, we’re working to preserve this ephemeral art form and make it available to fans around the world, anywhere and anytime.

    Last June, we added street art from all over the globe—including 5Pointz—to the Google Art Project. Today, we’re doubling the number of public artworks to more than 10,000 high-resolution images. Eighty-five art organizations from 34 countries are sharing pieces, ranging from Sweden’s most famous street festival, to water tanks wrapped with art among New York city’s rooftops, to the abandoned walls of Buenos Aires that are a source of inspiration for street artists from all over the world.
    A water tank in New York City. Photo by TF Cornerstone

    You don’t need to be tied to your desktop to enjoy these fantastic collections. All these images are now available on a device near you with Chrome, Chromecast, Android Wear and your mobile devices. Turn your TV screen into a vibrant backdrop and add some color to your smartwatch with our new Street Art Watch Faces. On your phone or tablet, browse through our partners' new apps to take a tour of Melbourne's famous laneways or visit the multicolored murals in Delhi, Lima and Honolulu.
    Wall by Brendan Monroe and Candybird. Photo by Pow! Wow! Hawaii

    Street artists have also been using technology to play with their medium. Our collection includes animated “GIF-iti” images by artists like INSA and Cheko. The walls come to life with murals that are painted, filmed, and re-painted to create captivating moving images.
    GIF-iti by Cheko

    So much goes into making a piece of street art. Yet its transient nature puts it at risk of being scrubbed out and lost forever. The Google Art Project allows these works of art to transcend the walls, be transported to your screen and live on. Follow @googleart to discover more.

    Posted by Lucy Schwartz, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute

  • Celebrating 30 years of .COM and the future of .DOMAINS
    When you visited Google today, we’re pretty sure you didn’t type 173.194.113.18 into your browser. This string of numbers separated by periods—an IP address—isn’t nearly as easy or memorable as typing google.com. Domain names ending in things like .COM, .NET and .EDU make browsing the web and telling people where to find you online easier. Since this month marks the 30-year anniversary of .COM and several other domain endings, we’re taking a minute to celebrate these often-overlooked suffixes that have changed the way we use the web.
    Though they were introduced in 1985, domain names didn’t gain much awareness and use amongst the public until the World Wide Web became available to all during the ‘90s and it became clear they were an important part in unlocking its power. Using these online addresses, people began to spread messages, start businesses and access information that otherwise would have been nearly impossible to find. Popularity and demand for these names grew so much that people were soon willing to pay millions of dollars for the perfect one.
    Today there are 270+ million registered domain names; in fact, about 17 million were added just last year. To create more naming options for people online, hundreds of new top-level domains are being added, and many, like .TODAY, .NINJA and .BIKE are already available. We wrote about this back in 2012, and since then we’ve launched three of our own: .HOW, .SOY and .みんな.
    As .COM turns 30, we’re looking back on the history of domain endings and all they’ve made possible. Today there are more choices than ever before for people to find the perfect name for their businesses, projects and ideas on the web. If you’re interested in learning more about this history, or you’d like to register your own piece of the web, head over to Google Domains to claim your .DOMAINS from a .COM to a .GURU.
    Here’s to .COM’s 30th, and all that’s yet to come in how we name destinations on the Internet.

    Posted by Ben Fried, CIO

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