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  • Explore new careers with the first virtual Take Your Classroom to Work Day
    For 21 years, Take Your Child To Work Day has helped kids understand what moms and dads do all day after they leave the house. And even if kids don't realize it at the time, it also serves an important role in helping youngsters learn about what kinds of jobs they could do when they grow up. Unfortunately, not all kids are lucky enough to get these opportunities.

    Today, we’re giving kids everywhere a chance to “visit” some of the world’s most exciting workplaces. Working with Forbes, Connected Classrooms is hosting 18 virtual field trips to places like the Georgia Aquarium, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Stanford National Lab and the Chicago Bulls locker room, using Google Hangouts. Professionals from all walks of life will discuss their day-to-day roles and how they got there, so students—regardless of budget or geography—can be exposed to a wide range of careers and get excited about their future.

    The full list of events is available on Forbes’ site, but here’s a preview of what you can expect:


    We hope you’ll tune in at 6am PT for the first career hangout, and check out Connected Classrooms throughout the day for new, live field trips.

    Posted by Lisa Jiang, Google+ Education Partnership Lead

  • Go back in time with Street View
    If you’ve ever dreamt of being a time traveler like Doc Brown, now’s your chance. Starting today, you can travel to the past to see how a place has changed over the years by exploring Street View imagery in Google Maps for desktop. We've gathered historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007 to create this digital time capsule of the world.
    If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select a thumbnail to see that same place in previous years or seasons.

    Now with Street View, you can see a landmark's growth from the ground up, like the Freedom Tower in New York City or the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil. This new feature can also serve as a digital timeline of recent history, like the reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan. You can even experience different seasons and see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter.
    Construction of the Freedom Tower, New York City
    Destruction in Onagawa, Japan after the 2011 earthquake

    Forget going 88 mph in a DeLorean—you can stay where you are and use Google Maps to virtually explore the world as it is—and as it was. Happy (time) traveling!

    Posted by Vinay Shet, Google Street View Product Manager

  • Going solar with SunPower
    Just because Earth Day is over doesn’t mean we’re done doing good things for the planet. Yesterday we announced our biggest renewable energy purchase yet: an agreement with our Iowa utility partners to supply our data center facilities there with up to 407 megawatts of wind energy.

    Today, we’re taking another step towards a clean energy future with a major new investment. Together with SunPower Corporation we’re creating a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems—making it easier for thousands of households across the U.S. to go solar. Essentially, this is how it works: Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill. So by participating in this program, you don’t just help the environment—you can also save money.
    A home sporting SunPower solar panels

    SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels.They’re known for having high-quality, high reliability panels which can generate up to 50 percent more power per unit area, with guaranteed performance and lower degradation over time. That means that you can install fewer solar panels to get the same amount of energy. And SunPower both makes the panels and manages the installation, so the process is seamless.

    This is our 16th renewable energy investment and our third residential rooftop solar investment (the others being with Solar City and Clean Power Finance). Overall we’ve invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy projects around the world, and we’re always on the hunt for new opportunities to make more renewable energy available to more people—Earth Day and every day.

    Posted by Rob Parker, Renewable energy team

  • Ok Glass… Let’s celebrate Earth Day
    Part of honoring Earth Day is celebrating the people who dedicate their lives to protecting our planet’s most vulnerable species. You’ll find one of those people in the tall grasslands of Nepal’s Chitwan National Park, where Sabita Malla, a senior research officer at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is hard at work protecting rhinos and Bengal tigers from poaching. She spends her days collecting data about wildlife in order to track the animals, assess threats, and provide support where needed. Now, she’s getting help from something a bit unexpected: Google Glass.

    Last year, WWF started exploring how smart eyewear could help further its conservation mission in the Arctic and the Amazon as part of the Giving through Glass Explorer program. Now they’ve brought it to Nepal to see how it could help monitor wild rhinos. Take a peek:

    Rhino monitoring can be a slow process, especially in habitats with tricky terrain, but data collection is crucial for making the right conservation decisions. Most parts of Chitwan National Park are inaccessible to vehicles, so Sabita and her team ride in on elephants, and have been collecting health and habitat data using pencil and paper.

    Now custom-built Glassware (the Glass version of apps) called Field Notes can help Sabita do her work hands-free instead of gathering data in a notebook. That’s helpful for both accuracy and safety when you’re on an elephant. Using voice commands, Sabita and other researchers can take photos and videos, and map a rhino’s location, size, weight, and other notable characteristics. The notes collected can also be automatically uploaded to a shared doc back at the office, making it easier to collaborate with other researchers, and potentially a lot faster than typing up handwritten notes.

    This is just one example of a nonprofit exploring how Glass can make their critical work easier. Today, we’re looking for more ideas from you.

    If you work at a nonprofit and have an idea for how to make more of a difference with Glass, share your ideas at g.co/givingthroughglass by 11:59 PDT on May 20, 2014. Five U.S.-based nonprofits will get a Glass device, a trip to a Google office for training, a $25,000 grant, and help from Google developers to make your Glass project a reality.

    To learn more about Google.org's ongoing collaboration with World Wildlife Fund, visit this site.

    Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org

  • Through the Google lens: this week’s search trends
    What did you search for this week? What about everyone else? Starting today, we’ll be sharing a regular look back at some of the top trending items on Google Search. Let’s dive in.

    From afikomen to 1040EZ
    People were looking for information on Palm Sunday and Good Friday ahead of Easter; searches for both days were even higher than searches for the Pope himself. Turning to another religious tradition, with Passover beginning on Monday we saw searches rise over 100 percent for Seder staples like [charoset recipe], [brisket passover] and of course [matzo balls]. Alongside these celebrations, U.S. citizens observed another annual rite of spring: taxes were due on April 15, leading to a rise in searches for [turbotax free], [irs] and (whoops) [turbotax extension].
    But what made this year different from all other years? A rare lunar eclipse known as the “blood moon,” when the Earth’s shadow covers the moon, making it look red, and which occurred on Tuesday. There were more than 5 million searches on the topic, as people were eager to learn more. (Hint: if you missed seeing the blood moon this time around, keep your eyes on the sky in October. This is the first lunar eclipse in a “lunar tetrad,” a series of four total lunar eclipses each taking place six lunar months apart.)
    Say goodbye and say hello
    This week marked the first anniversary of last year’s Boston Marathon bombing, and commemorations led searches for the term [boston strong] to rise once again. And just yesterday, we were saddened by the passing of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Colombian writer best known for his masterpiece “100 Years of Solitude”—not to mention responsible for high schoolers across the U.S. knowing the term “magical realism.” On a happier note, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton announced she’s expecting.

    Entertainment that makes you go ZOMG
    “Game of Thrones” fans—at least those who hadn’t read the books—were treated to a bombshell in this past Sunday’s episode when (spoiler alert) yet another wedding turned murderous. Searches for [who killed joffrey] skyrocketed as people struggled to process the loss of the boy king we love to hate. On the more sedate end of the Sunday TV spectrum, we welcomed back AMC’s “Mad Men,” which continues to provide viewers with plenty of innuendo, allusion and fashion to chew on—and search for—in between episodes.

    The trailer for the highly anticipated film version of “Gone Girl” dropped this week—vaulting searches for [gone girl trailer] nearly 1,000 percent—as did a clip from another book-to-movie remake, “The Fault in Our Stars.” Between these two films we expect no dry eyes in June and no intact fingernails come October. At least we’ve got something funny to look forward to: as news broke this week that Fox 2000 is developing a sequel to the 1993 comedy classic "Mrs. Doubtfire," searches on the subject have since spiked.
    And that’s it for this week in search. If you’re interested in exploring trending topics on your own, check out Google Trends. And starting today, you can also sign up to receive emails on your favorite terms, topics, or Top Charts for any of 47 countries.

    Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor, who searched this week for [gossip girl vulture recaps] and [tron bike lights]

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