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

  • Appreciating our teachers
    When I was in 5th grade, I complained to my teacher, Mr. Tomazewski, that there must be more to mathematics than simple arithmetic. He concurred and gave me a 7th grade algebra book because he believed in me. I spent the summer working through every problem! With that simple act, Mr. Tomazewski had set me off on a career path that eventually led to the invention of the Internet.
    Me at age 11 in 1954

    As students, we have the potential to be or do anything—whether and how we fulfill that potential is largely determined by the guidance and encouragement of our teachers.

    That’s one reason why Google is so committed to improving teaching and learning through the use of technology. One year ago this week, we announced Classroom, a tool that helps teachers manage assignments, communicate with students and parents, and stay organized. Since then, we’ve continued to add features that teachers and students tell us they need, and if you stay tuned to the Google for Education Blog this week, you’ll hear about a few of our newest additions.

    In the spirit of listening to our teachers, we’re also continuing to improve our CS First materials—free online computer science content developed by educators and computer scientists—to help introduce the art of programming to students in grades 4-8 through after-school, in-school and summer programs.

    We also realize the importance of what teachers can learn from one another. So with that in mind, this week we’re hosting Education on Air—a free online event with 100+ sessions led by educators from 12 countries and 29 U.S. states. We’ll cover themes that include empowering students, practical innovation, CS and STEM, and building community. Speakers include LeVar Burton and Google Science Fair 2012 winner Brittany Wenger. We hope you can virtually join us May 8-9 for this online education conference, and make sure to register so you can catch recorded videos of all the sessions.
    Our lives would be profoundly different without the Mr. Tomazeskis of the world. Please join us in saying thank you to our teachers this week—in person, online, in a handwritten note, or even a meme—for all that they help us to achieve.

    Posted by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist

  • What Girls are Good For: Happy birthday Nellie Bly!
    In 1880, the Pittsburgh Dispatch published an article titled "What Girls Are Good For.” In dismissive terms, the column’s author wrote that women shouldn't be allowed to work because their place was at home.

    Days later, a pseudonymous rebuttal appeared in the paper. The response, by a 16-year-old girl whose real name was Elizabeth Jane Cochran, argued how important it was for women to be independent and self-reliant. Within a decade, the author of that response would become known worldwide as Nellie Bly: a hard-hitting young journalist who went undercover at a lunatic asylum and traveled around the world in a record-breaking 72 days.

    Throughout her life and career, Nellie Bly spoke up for the underprivileged, the helpless and minorities, and defied society’s expectations for women. We love her adventurous spirit, and we share her belief that women can do anything and be anything they want (we like to think if she were around today she’d be a fellow fan of trailblazing women like Ada, Anita and Ann). So when it came time to honor Nellie with a Doodle, we wanted to make it special. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs wrote, composed and recorded an original song about Nellie, and Katy Wu, the artist who created this doodle, created an animation set to Karen O’s music celebrating this intrepid investigative reporter.

    Nellie was born on May 5, 1864 in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pa. After her response was published in the Dispatch in 1880, the editor, George Madden, tracked her down and hired her as a reporter. At the time, women reporters commonly used pen names; hers came from a song by fellow Pittsburgher Stephen Foster. She spent several years at the paper before moving to New York for a job at New York World, which was owned by Joseph Pulitzer. In 1887, she went undercover at the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island to write an exposé about the conditions there. Her resulting book, “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” made her famous.

    But Nellie is best known for her trip around the world. Inspired by Phileas Fogg, the hero of Jules Verne’s novel, “Around the World in 80 Days,” Nellie set sail from New York in November 1889 determined to beat Fogg’s time. Traveling by steamships and sailboats, she sent dispatches back to her newspaper as she circled the globe. Instead of sitting idly and just observing, she was always a part of the action and conversation, despite the fact that public spaces were typically reserved for men at the time.
    Storyboard for today's Nellie Bly video doodle, by Katy Wu

    When creating the Doodle, we took inspiration from Karen O’s lyrics and Nellie’s journey around the globe. Throughout the video, Katy used newspaper as a unifying theme—with paper tearing, folding and crumpling as the story goes along. And though the video is mostly black and white, she added some color to represent Nellie's energy and vibrancy.

    Back in the 19th century, Nellie fearlessly showed a generation of people “what girls are good for.” We’re excited to tell her story in today’s Doodle—and we hope Nellie inspires women and girls everywhere to follow in her footsteps and show the world what they can do.

    Posted by Liat Ben-Rafael, Program Manager, Google Doodles

  • Through the Google lens: Search trends April 24-30
    This week was a sobering one on search and worldwide, as people looked for news out of Nepal and read up on the demonstrations in Baltimore. But as we welcome the month of May, searchers are also gearing up for a weekend of superheroes—in the ring, on the track and on the big screen.

    All eyes on Nepal and Baltimore
    People around the world came to Google for information about the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal this week. The 7.8 quake killed more than 6,000 people, triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest and destroyed several historical sites, including Katmandu’s Durbar Square. As rescuers continue to look for survivors, searchers turned to Google for news about the relief efforts and to ask questions about how to help, including: “How do I volunteer in Nepal?” and “Where can I donate to Nepal?” See the scope of the world’s response to the tragedy in this visualization:

    In the U.S., a crisis of a different kind erupted in Baltimore this week. Starting last Friday, people protested in the streets in response to the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died on April 19 while in police custody. As demonstrations intensified on Monday and Tuesday, officials imposed a curfew and called in the National Guard. Searchers around the country turned to Google with their questions about the events, including: “Why is there a curfew in Baltimore?”, “What is the National Guard?” and “What happened to Freddie Gray?” And we saw big spikes in searches for topics like martial law, Baltimore Sun, Mondawmin Mall and the Baltimore Orioles.

    The Sport of Kings and the Sweet Science
    Tomorrow, 20 racehorses will line up for the 141st Kentucky Derby, but oddsmakers are insisting this is really a two-horse race between heavy favorites American Pharoah and Dortmund. Search interest in horse racing spiked 4X in the last week, with the Derby appearing in Hot Trends three out of the last four days. People are also turning to search to gear up for the festivities: interest in dress hats has spiked, and searches for [mint juleps] have spiked 4X.
    After American Pharoah and Dortmund’s battle for the roses, two other fierce opponents will go nose to nose: the hotly anticipated fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao takes place Saturday night in Las Vegas. The boxing match is being called the “fight of the century” with a reported $300 million at stake. As people get ready for the fighters to put their gloves on, they’re turning to search to answer questions like “Where can I watch the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?” and “How much will Mayweather make from the fight?” So far, Mayweather, who is undefeated, is winning the match in search—he’s being searched for more than Pacquiao in all U.S. states except Hawaii.
    A cast of characters
    The blockbuster “Avengers 2: Age of Ultron” has finally hit theaters, and people are turning to Google to find information about their favorite superheroes and where to see them in theaters. There were more than 500,000 searches for the movie on Thursday, and early box office estimates suggest that fans are putting their money where their searches are. Take a look at the top searched characters from the movie:

    Tip of the week
    Donning a hat for Derby Day tomorrow? Make sure you’ve got a southern beverage to match. Just ask Google, “how do I make a mint julep?” and you’ll get directions for how to mix up a winner.

    Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [email debt forgiveness day]

  • Protect your Google Account with Password Alert
    Would you enter your email address and password on this page?
    This looks like a fairly standard login page, but it’s not. It’s what we call a “phishing” page, a site run by people looking to receive and steal your password. If you type your password here, attackers could steal it and gain access to your Google Account—and you may not even know it. This is a common and dangerous trap: the most effective phishing attacks can succeed 45 percent of the time, nearly 2 percent of messages to Gmail are designed to trick people into giving up their passwords, and various services across the web send millions upon millions of phishing emails, every day.

    To help keep your account safe, today we’re launching Password Alert, a free, open-source Chrome extension that protects your Google and Google Apps for Work Accounts. Once you’ve installed it, Password Alert will show you a warning if you type your Google password into a site that isn’t a Google sign-in page. This protects you from phishing attacks and also encourages you to use different passwords for different sites, a security best practice.

    Here's how it works for consumer accounts. Once you’ve installed and initialized Password Alert, Chrome will remember a “scrambled” version of your Google Account password. It only remembers this information for security purposes and doesn’t share it with anyone. If you type your password into a site that isn't a Google sign-in page, Password Alert will show you a notice like the one below. This alert will tell you that you’re at risk of being phished so you can update your password and protect yourself.
    Password Alert is also available to Google for Work customers, including Google Apps and Drive for Work. Your administrator can install Password Alert for everyone in the domains they manage, and receive alerts when Password Alert detects a possible problem. This can help spot malicious attackers trying to break into employee accounts and also reduce password reuse. Administrators can find more information in the Help Center.
    We work to protect users from phishing attacks in a variety of ways. We’re constantly improving our Safe Browsing technology, which protects more than 1 billion people on Chrome, Safari and Firefox from phishing and other dangerous sites via bright, red warnings. We also offer tools like 2-Step Verification and Security Key that people can use to protect their Google Accounts and stay safe online. And of course, you can also take a Security Checkup at any time to make sure the safety and security information associated with your account is current. 

    To get started with Password Alert, visit the Chrome Web Store or the FAQ.

    Posted by Drew Hintz, Security Engineer and Justin Kosslyn, Google Ideas

  • Through the Google lens: Search trends April 17-23
    Everyone wants to know what D.J. Tanner and Target are up to. Read on for all the search scoop from this week:

    The earth in focus
    Wednesday marked the 45th annual Earth Day celebration. People came to search to get more information on the origins of the holiday and learn about ways to conserve—oh, and find out what animal they are, of course. In addition to searches for [earth day slogans] and [earth day worksheets], searchers asked questions like “When was the first Earth Day?”, “How do we stop climate change?” and “Is styrofoam recyclable?”
    Just when we were feeling all warm and fuzzy about our planet, we got a reminder that nature can be a little scary as well as awe-inspiring. In Chile, the Calbuco volcano exploded for the first time in more than 40 years, sending clouds of ash into the air and causing thousands to evacuate. There were 100K+ searches for [chile volcano] as people sought to learn more about the eruption.

    Prized Pulitzers
    Sunday morning, people lined up outside Target stores around the country for the launch of the store’s new Lilly Pulitzer collaboration. But many fans waited in vain, as the affordable line of clothes and home decor sold out within hours both on and offline. Shoppers vented on social media, and searches for Lilly Pulitzer reached an all-time high this month. Meanwhile, persistent types have driven searches for [lilly pulitzer ebay] up 1000% in the last seven days.
    But lucky Lilly fans weren’t the only ones thanking the stars for their Pulitzer this week. This year’s Pulitzer prizes were announced on Monday, leading people to the web to learn more about the winners across categories ranging from fiction to investigative reporting to poetry. (And in case you were wondering: Lilly Pulitzer, who died in 2013, was once married to the grandson of Joseph Pulitzer, who established the eponymous Prize.)
    Everywhere you look...
    ...there are reboots. First “DuckTales,” then “The Muppet Show,” and now “Fuller House.” This week Netflix announced a spin-off of the 90s family sitcom “Full House,” to debut in 2016, and 200,000+ searches followed. The new show will feature oldest sister D.J. Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure), and several other stars from the original series are signed on to return, including Jodie Sweetin—the subject of some 50K+ searches this week—and John Stamos. Still, it’s yet to be seen whether the rest of the cast will participate or decide to cut it out. Though searches for Mary-Kate Olsen reached more than 50,000 this week, she and her sister have said that they were surprised by the news. So you might want to wait a bit before saying “TGIF!
    Tip of the week
    Keep that good Earth Day momentum going. Just ask Google, “Where can I recycle electronics near me?” for a handy list of places to drop off your old wires and devices.

    Posted by Emily Wood, Managing Editor, who searched this week for [gilbert blythe] and [nba playoff schedule]

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