Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture
‘Tis the season for Santa Tracker
December 24, 2015
‘Tis the night before Christmas, at our northernmost pole
And all through Santa’s
it’s almost time to roll.
The elves have been working hard for this night
Santa’s village is abuzz—
tonight’s the big flight
And it’s time to follow the jolly man's sleigh.
He’s off on his trip ‘round the world
Delivering toys to all good boys and girls.
You’ve got a front-row seat to the show
Just fire up Google Maps to see where he goes.
Thanks to the elves’ precisely
Santa and his reindeer will fly swiftly—look out!
Now the sleigh tuning’s done,
Tales of global
Every gift in the sleigh
Wrapped with care, without haste.
The reindeer are prancing and eager to fly,
Ready for Santa’s trip through the sky.
With so little time to get their job done—
They may need your help on this gift-giving run.
So keep the
Geography trivia would also be dandy.
There’s no telling what Santa might need
Traveling from Brisbane to Lima to Leeds.
Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
Join in on the fun—find out what you’re missin’!
, Chromecast and Google.com!
There’s something for everyone, from kids to mom.
So watch that sleigh as it takes to the air,
And wherever you are, St. Nick will soon be there.
To borrow a phrase, as Santa takes flight—
"Happy holidays to all, and to all a good-night!"
Posted by Luke Mahé, Chief Excitement Officer
Chief Excitement Officer
We read the news today, oh boy: It’s The Beatles, on Google Play Music
December 23, 2015
No need for fussing or fighting, my friend. Now you can live on a Yellow Submarine, march in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band or go to Strawberry Fields Forever. Starting on December 24, all 13 of The Beatles’ iconic original albums, plus four essential Beatles collections, will be available to stream on Google Play Music—enough music to fill up eight days a week.
The best-selling band in history, with 20 number one Billboard Hot 100 hits, The Beatles continue to be one of the world’s most beloved bands decades after their last original album. So, what lyrics take a sad song and make it better? What albums get you through a hard day’s night? Come together, right now, to take a look at some of the top Beatles searches, according to Google Trends.
Bonus: If you open up the Google app on your Android phone and say “Ok Google, play the Beatles,” There will be an answer. Let it stream.
In the words of Ed Sullivan: “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles!”
Posted by Gwen Shen, Music Partnerships, Google Play
#SpecialDelivery: Google Spotlight Stories come to YouTube with interactive 360-degree storytelling
December 21, 2015
A humble caretaker is surprised when a mysterious stranger causes mischief on the roof. He investigates, but can’t seem to catch even a glimpse of the troublemaker. And so the chase goes... room to room… up and down… The stranger remains just out of sight, leaving behind only a trail of gifts…
Meanwhile, you’re following the action at your own pace, from whatever angle you please—behind you, to your left, to your right, or in front of you. All on your mobile phone.
Today we’re bringing
Google Spotlight Stories
to YouTube with “
,” an original short film made by Academy Award-winning animation studio
(Wallace and Gromit fans, take note), viewable on the YouTube app on
many Android devices
“Special Delivery” is the latest of several Spotlight Stories to come out of
(our Advanced Technology and Projects group). With Google Spotlight Stories, your phone becomes a window to a story happening all around you. The sensors on your phone allow the story to be interactive, so when you move your phone to various scenes, you unlock mini-stories within the story.
We didn’t want anyone to miss Aardman’s “Pink Panther”-style holiday caper! So we also made a YouTube 360 version for other Android devices, iOS devices, and the web. You can find both versions of “Special Delivery” on the
Spotlight Stories YouTube channel
, and you can also watch with
. Next year, we’ll bring Google Spotlight Stories to more Android devices and the YouTube iOS app.
You’ll want to watch “Special Delivery” a few times to find all the surprises within the story. In the full interactive experience, you’ll encounter 10 subplots, three potential ways to view the ending, and 60+ moments where you can decide to follow the story in different ways. Each viewing is unique. We don’t want to spoil the ending, so that’s all we’ll say for now…
Posted by Rachid El Guerrab, Technical Project Lead, Spotlight Stories, Google ATAP
Rachid El Guerrab
Technical Project Lead, Spotlight Stories
ICYMI: A few stocking stuffers from around Google
December 17, 2015
Between last-minute gift shopping, airport pickups, cookie baking, and ugly-sweater parties, there’s a lot to do this season. So you may have missed a few updates from around Google that can actually make your holiday season a little brighter (or at least make your to-do list go a little faster. Won’t make your sweater any less ugly, though). Here’s a look at what we’ve unwrapped recently:
Add this one to your to-do list: Reminders in Google Calendar
Whether it’s “send holiday cards” or “use up FSA,” you can now add
Reminders to Google Calendar
to help you complete your to-do list. These aren’t like those calendar entries you create yourself that you plain-old ignore completely and that then disappear. With Reminders, if you don’t complete the task and dismiss the Reminder, it’ll pop up on your calendar again the next day. And the next. And the … until you can’t take it anymore and just send those holiday cards already. You’ll thank us when your list is checked off. Twice.
Now on Tap gets handier for the holidays
Now on Tap helps you get quick information without leaving the app you're using by tapping and holding the home button on Android phones—and
make it even handier for the holidays. So if you get a text with your cousin’s flight number, you can tap and hold to see the flight’s status, then respond without having to juggle between searching and texting. If you ordered a gift online and want to know if it will make it down the chimney and under the tree on time, tap and hold your confirmation email to get tracking info. Consider it your own personal Santa’s Little Helper.
Tell the family when to expect you with trip bundles
There’s probably a lot going on in your email right now if you’ve got an upcoming trip home or holiday getaway planned. From your flight confirmation to rental car details, Inbox by Gmail already groups these emails into trip bundles so you can find everything you need for your trip quickly. Those bundles just got
even more useful
—you can now access them offline (good for on the plane), share the trip summary with friends or family, and add other pertinent emails (like that message with your aunt’s new address) to the bundle.
Templates in Google Docs go mobile
If you’re collecting family recipes or planning a trip, templates in
help you get started faster, so you can spend more time concentrating on the words you’re writing and less time worrying about how it looks. These pre-made templates are
on Android and iOS so you can do more while on the go. Ho, ho, ho!
Posted by Abbi Tatton, Google Editorial Elf
YouTube and NBC News present Democratic primary debate in South Carolina
December 16, 2015
From presidential candidates
launching their campaigns
, to YouTube creators
discussing issues that matter to their communities
along the campaign trail, you’ve already been following the 2016 U.S. election from multiple angles on YouTube.
Now you can watch the candidates debate on YouTube, too.
Next month, we’ll join together with NBC News to present the final DNC sanctioned Democratic presidential debate before the first caucus and primary votes are cast—with the action live streamed on YouTube. The NBC News-YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate, hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and moderated by Lester Holt, will take place on Sunday, January 17, 2016, in Charleston, S.C., airing on NBC from 9-11 p.m. ET and streamed live on the
NBC News YouTube channel
With so many YouTube fans following this election closely, of course there will be an opportunity for you to get involved. Along with Google Trends data, the debate will feature questions from the YouTube community. Look out for more information on how you can engage in the coming weeks.
Since 2005 you’ve made YouTube a home for global politics, and today you watch more than 5 million hours of news on YouTube every day. Over the course of 2016, you’ll be able to find all of the major election moments unfold on YouTube—tune in to the
NBC News YouTube channel
January 17 to kick off the election year.
Posted by Brandon Feldman, YouTube News, and Steve Grove, Google News Lab
Search on: 2015 in Google Search
December 16, 2015
From devastation to empowerment and tragedy to hope, our
15th annual Year in Search
uncovers the moments that captured the world’s hearts—and questions that revealed who we are. From “How can I help Nepal” to “How can the world find peace?” here’s a look back at 2015, through the lens of Google search.
Searching for ways to help
Within two minutes of the deadly attack on Paris in November, the French capital was
searching for information
on the assault underway in their city. Less than 10 minutes later, the rest of the world started searching. As of today, we’ve seen more than 897 million searches about the city as the world came together to “Pray for Paris.”
Global showings of support and offerings of help were a key topic in search this year. Following the
, “how can I help Nepal?” was a top global search. From Somerville, Mass. to Ludwigsberg, Germany, people asked how to volunteer and what to donate.
Searching for perspective
While questions around Nepal were similar around the world, the
migrant crisis in Europe
spiked a wider variety of queries. From Italy asking “How to adopt a Syrian orphan child?” to Germany wondering “Where are the refugees coming from?” the world turned to Google to understand the situation and what it meant for them.
In the U.S., the topic of
brought varying questions. From Portland, Ore. to Austin, Texas, people across the country searched for “what is gun control,” “why do we need gun control,” “why won’t gun control work” and more to understand the issue. With more than 160 million searches, interest in gun control spiked higher than interest for gun shops—typically a more popular search—at multiple points in 2015.
Searching for acceptance
In June, we met
, someone we’d both always known and were meeting for the first time. Across the globe, she was searched more than 344 million times, and her story helped give a new voice to the transgender community.
People cheered “#lovewins” when the U.S. Supreme Court made a
that gay marriages should be recognized at both the State and Federal level. The reaction was instant, with search interest in both same-sex marriage and the Supreme Court reaching higher than at any time in Google's history.
Searching for… the dress, the Force and the singer
Turning to the Search watercooler, the year began with the world divided over an
: is it white and gold? or blue and black? Days of debate and 73 million searches later, “black and blue dress” topped searches of “white and gold dress,” and the matter was settled forever (right?).
And though “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is just hitting theaters this week, it’s already
taken the Internet by storm
(trooper). The trailer alone garnered more than 155 million searches! But the all-time high for Google searches around “Star Wars” was in 2005 after “The Revenge of the Sith” came out in theaters—can we beat it this week?
Finally, what better way to close out the year than by saying “
”? With the debut of “25,” Adele broke records by the week, putting her album at the top of the charts and skyrocketing to the top of Google Search faster than any other musician this year.
Hundreds of stories in depth
The 2015 Year in Search goes deeper than we've ever gone before. This year, we’re covering hundreds of news stories, sharing interactive guides and charts, and diving into the numbers by sharing things like how many times people searched for Adele (439 million, if you want to know!).
See how all of the biggest stories of the year compared:
to explore the rest of the 2015 Year in Search stories and top trending charts from around the world.
Posted by Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President, Search
Senior Vice President
Shared memories made easy with Google Photos
December 10, 2015
Sharing photos and videos between friends and family after your birthday bash or holiday gathering shouldn’t be difficult. But between the great shots your brother has buried on his iPhone and that friend who keeps forgetting to email you her pics, you're often left reliving the event through just the photos and videos you took yourself.
Today we’re introducing shared albums in Google Photos—a fast and simple way to pool your photos and videos that makes it easier to bring everyone’s memories together.
With the launch of Google Photos in May, we made it simpler to share images and albums by sending links over SMS, email, or messaging apps. With today’s launch, you can now make the albums you send collaborative. People receiving the shared album can join to add their own photos and videos, and also get notifications when new pics are added. You can even save photos and videos from a shared album to your Google Photos library, so that you can hold onto them even if you weren’t the one holding the camera.
Best of all, there’s no setup—select photos, make an album and then send the link off to whomever you’d like. And it works no matter what device your friends and family are using—tablet or laptop, Android or iPhone.
Shared albums is rolling out today on
. Time to create an album and revisit that holiday party from another angle!
Posted by James Gallagher, Engineering Lead, Google Photos
Celebrating the year on YouTube: The top trending videos of 2015
December 9, 2015
2015 was kind of a big year for YouTube. Along with a year-long celebration of
YouTube’s 10th birthday
, YouTube creators and their fans introduced the planet to the latest
, opened up discussions about
diversity and inclusion
, and lip-synced in
in front of the whole, wide world.
Now it's time to look at the videos it seems like the whole world has seen: the top trending videos of 2015. From late-night hosts to Slow Mo Guys, Super Bowl ads to cops doing covers, these are the videos and creators we collectively watched, danced, and sang along to for more than 25 million hours this year.
Silento- Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) #WatchMeDanceOn
Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
Clash of Clans
Crazy Plastic Ball PRANK!!
Love Has No Labels | Diversity & Inclusion | Ad Council
Lip Sync Battle with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Justin Bieber Carpool Karaoke
The Late Late Show with James Corden
6ft Man in 6ft Giant Water Balloon - 4K - The Slow Mo Guys
The Slow Mo Guys
Golden boy Calum Scott hits the right note | Audition Week 1 | Britain's Got Talent 2015
Britain's Got Talent
Dover Police DashCam Confessional (Shake it Off)
by Dover Police
Mean Tweets - President Obama Edition
Jimmy Kimmel Live
We got together 150+ YouTube creators from all over the world for the 2015 installment of YouTube’s annual Rewind video, featuring everything from dance prodigies, to TV personalities, to an epic plastic ball fight.
Like what you see? If trending videos and creators are your thing (and you want to see them before next year’s annual round-up), check out the new
YouTube Trending tab
. You’ll get the videos that are taking off delivered directly to your Android, iOS, and desktop device—the best way to catch the videos, creators, and trends the world is talking about.
Posted by Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture & Trends
Head of Culture & Trends
Google Demo Day: shining a light on female entrepreneurs
December 9, 2015
Women around the world are creating and building incredible technology companies. We see this every day through our Google for Entrepreneurs programs—like
, which works with organizations to increase the representation of female entrepreneurs in startup communities, and our baby-friendly startup school
Campus for Moms
. Supporting these startups is important because teams with diverse perspectives and experiences—particularly in leadership positions—make better products for users.
But the data still tells us that women-led startups often struggle to get access to top investors who can help them raise money. Despite women owning 29 percent of U.S. businesses, female-led companies receive
only 3 percent of venture capital
—a lifeline for many startups to fund new product development and hiring.
With this in mind, today we're hosting our first Google Demo Day specifically for startups with female founders. More than 450 companies from 40+ countries applied, and we chose 11 female-led startups to join us in San Francisco for the event. These startups come from all over the world and span a variety of industries—from Kichink, a B2B e-commerce company in Mexico, to ChattingCat, a real-time translation service in South Korea.
At today’s event, each startup will have four minutes to pitch their businesses, followed by Q&A with a panel of judges. At the end of the day, the judges will crown a Judges’ Favorite, based on the strength of their business model, their team, and their product. Demo Days aren’t just a time to pitch investors; founders also receive mentoring and feedback from Googlers and Silicon Valley veterans through a series of talks and workshops.
Companies from our past two Demo Days have raised $3.5 million from investors who are in attendance, and millions more afterwards. For example, Durham, North Carolina-based beverage entrepreneur Tatiana Birgisson, who won our Demo Day in April, has raised more than $1 million for her energy tea startup
But it's not just the people in the room who can take part in the big day. You can tune in to the live stream on
at 10am PT today to see Demo Day in action. You'll also have the chance to vote for the winner of the "Game Changer" Award, an audience favorite trophy. We hope this Demo Day will not only shine a light on the participating startups, but on the exciting companies being built and led by female entrepreneurs everywhere.
Posted by Mary Grove, Director of Google for Entrepreneurs
Google for Entrepreneurs
Meet the Pixel C, our take on the tablet
December 8, 2015
This holiday season, there's no shortage of electronics to choose from. When it comes to picking out what device to use, sometimes you want a laptop to hammer out a lengthy document. Other times you want a lightweight tablet to sit back and watch your favorite video. Starting today, you don't have to choose, because the Pixel C is available on the Google Store. As
two months ago,
brings together the benefits of a full-size keyboard with the portability of a tablet so it can go wherever you go.
The Pixel C’s high-resolution, 10.2” display is crisp, colorful, and bright—in fact it’s one of the brightest tablets out there—perfect for sharing photos and videos with family over the holidays. Graphics horsepower and stereo speakers mean the Pixel C can keep up with you whether you’re watching a new episode of "Silicon Valley" or playing a new game.
But what really makes the Pixel C unique is the full-size keyboard, which is designed to fit perfectly with the tablet. It attaches seamlessly with magnets, and automatically connects via bluetooth. When the tablet and keyboard are closed together, the keyboard charges wirelessly and automatically—so you never have to worry about it running out of juice. And when you don’t need to type, the keyboard tucks securely behind the tablet with magnets—out of the way but close by for when you need it.
This is the first tablet designed with
Android 6.0, Marshmallow
in mind. You get added security benefits, smarter and longer battery life (10+ hours) and Now on Tap at your fingertips. To ensure the Pixel C gets even better over time, it will receive regular security and feature updates directly from Google. But what makes a tablet great is the amount of things you can do with it—and you’ve got plenty to choose from with s’more than 1 million apps on Google Play.
The Pixel C is available on the
now starting at $499, and if you order today, you can get it in time for the holidays.
Posted by Andrew Bowers, Director, Product Management & Pixel Perfectionist
Make your home Internet look like your home with OnHub
December 8, 2015
Chances are, somewhere in your home, there‘s a tangled mess of wires and blinking lights that make your Wi-Fi work. Your router likely isn’t the most sightly thing, and you probably hide it behind a curtain or under a bookcase—out of sight.
Turns out, that’s a bit of a problem, since routers work better when they’re out in the open. So a few months ago,
we released the first OnHub router from TP-LINK
. It replaces the unruly cords, blinking lights, and bulky antennas of a typical router with subtle lighting and internal wiring, so you’re more likely to put OnHub out where it works best.
Today we’re introducing more ways to make your OnHub look great in your home with
three new, interchangeable shells
for the OnHub from TP-LINK, as well as
, a gallery of shells designed by artists, designers, and makers.
With OnHub Makers, we wanted to see what some of the world’s most creative minds would do to personalize their routers. We reached out to artists, makers and designers who poured resin, blew glass, and cut paper to make their own unique shells. You can see their creations and learn more in the
OnHub Makers gallery
Feeling inspired? Then it’s time to get crafty. We’ve put together all of the information you need to customize an OnHub shell. Whether you’re using a laser cutter or simple finger paints, download the
for 3D files, 2D patterns, and useful guidelines. Once you’re done, be sure to share your designs online using the hashtag
, and we may feature your design in
If DIY isn’t really your thing you can still add some style to your Wi-Fi with one of the three new shells from the OnHub team, available later today in the U.S. for $29-39 on the
Posted by Ben Brown, Product Manager, OnHub
Hello. It’s the best of 2015 on Google Play.
December 7, 2015
Movie fans went to space in search of a new home in
. The citizens of Westeros battled not only white walkers, but also the zombies of
The Walking Dead
and the landed gentry of
to claim the Iron Throne of the TV kingdom. Adele no longer had to worry if “after all these years you'd like to meet” up with her music again, as
became the best-selling album of the year in just one week. And readers fell in love with Christian Grey… again!
As 2015 comes to a close, we crunched the numbers to find the most popular entertainment this year on Google Play. For complete lists, visit
Movies of the Year
Kingsman: The Secret Service
TV Shows of the Year
Game of Thrones
The Walking Dead
Fear the Walking Dead
Albums of the Year
If You're Reading This It's Too Late
To Pimp A Butterfly
from Kendrick Lamar
Fifty Shades Of Grey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
from Various Artists
Beauty Behind The Madness
from The Weeknd
Books of the Year
Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
by E L James
Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian
by E L James
Fifty Shades Darker: Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
by E L James
Fifty Shades Freed: Book Three of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
by E L James
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History
by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice
Posted by Kara Bailey, Director of Merchandising, Google Play
Director of Merchandising
Walk the ruins of Peru’s most historic site: Machu Picchu
December 4, 2015
train ride through the Andes
, above the sacred valley and atop the mist of the mountains, to the most historic site of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site
and one of the
New 7 Wonders of the World
, is one of the most famous, mythical and spiritual sites in the world. Now for the first time, in partnership with the
Peruvian Ministry of Culture
, people across the globe can go on a journey to
directly in Google Maps, uncovering its temples, terraces and plazas that have remained intact since the 15th century. People can also explore rare Inca artifacts and expert insights on the
Google Cultural Institute
Gazing at the
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
more than 2,400 meters above sea level, the site below is a lasting tribute to the power of the Inca Empire. It’s still unclear how the structure composed of behemoth stones was so precisely built without the use of mortar or modern day machinery, but its walls, terraces and stairways weave effortlessly into the mountainside and natural landscape.
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, Peru
Standing in the
, you can imagine how many people have stood at this central gathering place before you. Located at the highest position of the city, this site holds great spiritual meaning to the people of the Citadel. And touring the vast
allows you to virtually walk one of the most sacred ceremonial grounds on the site, which once hosted social and religious celebrations for the Inca.
Plaza Principal of Machu Picchu
Within the long and narrow compounds, called kanchas, you can also explore the
Observatorio Astronómico (Intiwatana)
Templo del Sol
Templo de las Tres Ventanas
—sites dedicated to
, the Inca Sun god—or marvel at the architectural complexity of structures like the
Grupo de las Tres Puertas
, whose doors lead to the main square.
Grupo de las Tres Puertas, Machu Picchu, Peru
After virtually touring these sacred and ceremonial spaces, discover more
Wonders of Machu Picchu
on the Google Cultural Institute. You can explore more than 130 Inca artifacts online thanks to the
Museo Macchupicchu at Casa Concha
. In three new online exhibits, the museum's curators share their expert insights on the Inca's daily life and rituals—which are still a subject of great mystery and fascination over 500 years later. Highlights include a perfectly preserved
pair of plates decorated with butterflies
, and an
of strings and cords used for record keeping and accounting. See these rare objects in the context of the museum by taking a
Inca accounting device
Whether you visit Machu Picchu via a
or hike up the
, we’d be honored to be your virtual guide through this sacred space. And while in the area, enjoy exploring still more archaeological treasures from this ancient civilization at the
Museo Machupicchu at Casa Concha
, which holds the
largest collection of Inca artifacts in the world
Machu Picchu, a true wonder of the world, is now just a
Posted by Daniel Filip, Google Maps Tech Lead
maps and earth
Step inside your photos with Cardboard Camera
December 3, 2015
With Google Cardboard, you can take
to faraway places and feel like you’re actually there. But what if you could also use Cardboard to go back in time—to step inside personal moments like your favorite vacation or a holiday dinner with family? Now you can with the new
Cardboard Camera app for Android
Cardboard Camera turns the smartphone in your pocket into a virtual reality (VR) camera. It’s simple to take a photo: just hold out your phone and move it around you in a circle. Later, when you place your phone inside a Google Cardboard viewer, you'll get to experience something new: a VR photo.
VR photos are three-dimensional panoramas, with slightly different views for each eye, so near things look near and far things look far. You can look around to explore the image in all directions, and even record sound with your photo to hear the moment exactly as it happened.
Taken with Cardboard Camera at Jackson Lake, Wyoming. This simulates the 3D effect when seen in a Cardboard viewer.
With Cardboard Camera, anyone can create their own VR experience. So revisit the mountaintop that took hours to hike, or the zoo where you saw (and heard) the monkeys, or your birthday party with the cake out and candles still lit. Capture the moments that matter to you and relive them anytime, from anywhere.
is available today on Google Play in 17 languages.
Posted by Carlos Hernandez, Software Engineer, Cardboard Camera
Powering the Internet with renewable energy
December 3, 2015
Today we're announcing the largest, and most diverse, purchase of renewable energy ever made by a non-utility company. Google has already committed to purchase more renewable energy than any other company. Now, through a series of new wind and solar projects around the world, we’re one step closer to our commitment to
triple our purchases of renewable energy by 2025
and our goal of powering 100% of our operations with clean energy.
842 MW of renewable energy around the world
Today’s agreements will add an additional 842 megawatts of renewable energy capacity to power our data centers. Across three countries, we’re nearly doubling the amount of renewable energy we’ve purchased to date. We’re now up to 2 gigawatts—the equivalent to taking nearly 1 million cars off the road.
These additional 842 megawatts represent a range of locations and technologies, from a wind farm in Sweden to a solar plant in Chile.
These long-term contracts range from 10-20 years and provide projects with the financial certainty and scale necessary to build these wind and solar facilities—thus bringing new renewable energy onto the grid in these regions. For our part, these contracts not only help minimize the environmental impact of our services—they also make good business sense by ensuring good prices.
Our commitment to a sustainable energy future
Since we opened our
very first owned data center
in 2006, we’ve been working to promote renewable and sustainable energy use in several ways:
First, we’re building the world’s most efficient computer infrastructure by
designing our data centers
to use as little energy as possible.
Second, we're driving the renewables industry forward by fully committing to renewable sources. In 2010, we entered our first large-scale
renewable power purchase agreement
with a wind farm in Iowa, and we subsequently
a number of similar large-scale energy purchases over the past five years. Today’s announcement is another milestone in this area.
Third, we've worked with our utility partners to help promote transformation in the utility sector. In 2013 we
created a new program
that enables customers like Google to buy large amounts of renewable energy directly from their utilities. Today's announcement includes the
first solar project enrolled under that program
. And this past summer we announced that our newest data center will be on
located on the site of a retiring coal plant
and will be 100% renewable powered from day one.
Fourth, beyond our efforts to power our own operations with renewables, we’ve made separate agreements to
fund $2.5 billion
into 22 large-scale renewable energy projects over the last five years, from Germany to Kansas to Kenya. These investments have been in some of the largest and most transformative renewable energy projects in the world with a goal to help drive renewable energy development not only as a customer but as an investor, and bring down costs for everyone.
And we’re also working on new technologies and ideas—ranging from
air quality monitoring
—that we hope can make a cleaner energy future an option for many more people.
With world leaders coming together at the
COP21 UN conference on climate change
in Paris this week, there's no better time to focus on renewable energy. We hope that our efforts play a small part in boosting all of us in the race to solve climate change.
Posted by Urs Hölzle, SVP Technical Infrastructure
On IDPD, working toward a more accessible and inclusive world
December 3, 2015
in a world built for everyone, which is why we launched the global
Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities
earlier this year. The Impact Challenge is a Google.org initiative to invest $20 million in nonprofits who are using technology to make the world more accessible for the 1 billion people living with disabilities.
Today, as part of the program, we’re proud to celebrate the U.N. International Day of Persons with Disabilities with three new grants, totalling $2.95 million. Through our grants, the Royal London Society for Blind People will develop the
project, helping visually impaired people navigate the London underground; Israeli NGO
will distribute Sesame, an app that allows people with mobility impairments to control a smartphone using only head movements; and, finally, German grantee Wheelmap will expand its accessibility mapping efforts worldwide. This week, many Googlers around the world will also
Wheelmap’s Map My Day campaign to help out.
We’ve also collected 11
that help people with disabilities get more out of their favorite Google products. (Why 11? It’s a play on “a11y”, tech-speak for “accessibility.”)
Much of the accessibility work we do is driven by passionate Googlers from around the world. To give you a look at what motivates us to make Google, and the world, more inclusive, we asked four Googlers from our Disability Alliance to share more about what they’re working on:
Kiran Kaja, Technical Program Manager, London:
Being blind from birth, I’ve always been excited by devices that talk to you or allow you to talk back to them. Today, I work on Google’s Text to Speech team developing technologies that talk to people with disabilities. I’m also helping improve eyes-free voice actions on Android so that people with low vision can accomplish standard tasks just by talking to their phone. This not only helps people with disabilities, but anyone whose hands are busy with another task—like cooking, driving or caring for an infant. The advances we’re making in speech recognition and text to speech output promise a bright future for voice user interfaces.
Paul Herzlich, Legal Analytics Specialist, Mountain View:
As a wheelchair user from a spinal cord injury, I'm passionate about the potential impact of technology to solve disability-related issues. Outside of my job, I'm working alongside a team of mechanical and electrical engineers, UX designers, and medical professionals to develop a new technology called SmartSeat, which I hope to bring to life in tandem with Google.org through its
Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities
. SmartSeat is a device that notifies wheelchair users when they have been sitting in the same position for too long by using force sensors connected to a mobile app, thereby helping these users prevent pressure sores. You can watch a video of the early prototype on
Aubrie Lee, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Mountain View:
Like many other disabled people, I’ve spent most of my life as the minority in the room. In high school, I attended a state forum on disability and felt what it was like to be in the majority. Now, I work to create that feeling for other disabled people. I started the Googler Disability Community, a group that works on changing Google’s physical environment and workplace systems to help make our company truly inclusive. Outside of my job, I enjoy exploring the beauty in disability through
and poetry. My own disabilities and the way they influence my interactions with others provide endless inspiration for my art.
Pablo Pacca, Language Market Manager, São Paulo:
I’m in charge of making sure Google’s products are translated well into Brazilian Portuguese for the 180+ million Brazilians who don’t speak English. I’m also an activist and advocate for accessibility and inclusion, both as a blogger on disability issues and the lead for the Google Brazil People with Disabilities (PwD) group. At PwD Brazil, we educate Googlers about disability issues, and work to foster a more accessible office space and inclusive work environment across the company.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Google.org
Jingle all the way to Santa's Village
December 2, 2015
Santa doesn't spread cheer across the globe all by himself. As soon as the first frost is on the mistletoe, hundreds of helpful elves work day and night to make sure jolly old St. Nick is ready for flight.
is a hub of activity as the elves code algorithms to tune Santa’s sleigh, translate “Happy Holidays” into Elvish and Danish, and practice their cartography with Dancer, Prancer, Donner and Vixen... all to get Santa ready for his trip around the world on December 24.
And you can join in. Visit the brand-new Santa’s Village every day to prep alongside the elves, test weather conditions with Rudolph, skydive with Santa,
learn about holiday traditions
—little creatures from Greece that eat Christmas cookies—and much more. A new experience will appear each morning leading up to December 24. Here’s a peek at what you’ll unwrap in Santa’s Village:
Join the elves on all screens as they get ready for Santa’s big night—with Chromecast, Wear,
App for Android
, and more.
Brush up on your computer skills with new
throughout the month.
Get into the spirit of giving—
learn about charitable organizations
and discover how SolarAid is working to make the season brighter with renewable energy.
Take a study break to jam out with friends to elf-made holiday tunes.
For those on the ho-ho-go, get the
Santa Tracker App for Android
to check out new games on the phone or through Cardboard.
Now before Santa flies like the dawn of a thistle, pay his village a visit—and help him and his elves get ready for the day Santa hits the clouds.
Posted by Sandy Russell, Santa Launch Strategist
Santa Launch Strategist
Join Google.org to help make education more inclusive for students with special needs
December 1, 2015
For the past month, Google.org has funded 750+ projects through the education crowdfunding site
to help teachers of students with special needs, as part of our
Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities
. Today we’re hearing from one teacher whose project was funded—Mr. Javier Payano, a music teacher at Lane Tech in Chicago.
In two years of teaching students with special needs, I’ve learned how music can give students the opportunity to discover themselves. In our music inclusion choir, band and orchestra classes, students with disabilities make music with general education students, each at their own level of ability. I’ve seen music help even the most shy and reticent students socialize, smile and come out of their shells.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have the right kinds of musical instruments to meet the diverse needs of every kid in my class. For classrooms like mine in Chicago, specialized equipment can truly open up the learning environment. From floor keyboards to rhythm instrument sets, I’m able to ensure that every student, no matter their mobility style, has a meaningful experience in my class.
Me and my students performing at a school assembly on November 10, 2015
That’s why I was so thrilled to learn that Google.org
was funding my request
on DonorsChoose.org to bring my
music inclusion project
to more students. For the past month, Google.org has hosted schoolwide celebrations to honor teachers of students with special needs, and funded hundreds of DonorsChoose.org special needs projects like mine. Starting today for #GivingTuesday, Google is making it easier for everyone to support teachers by
matching up to a million dollars
in donations to increase inclusion, equity and opportunity for students with diverse learning styles. In addition, last week
committed to donating up to another $1 million to special needs projects on DonorsChoose.org.
There are currently 6.4 million students with special needs in the U.S.—13 percent of the total student population. Yet, a $17 billion federal
deficit in special education funding
leaves far too many gaps across classrooms. In fact, on average, all teachers
spend $485 of their own money
each year on their classrooms.
Teachers like me are working to make sure all students can have an equal and inclusive education. And you can help provide some of the materials they need most—
take a look
! Together, we can help make education more inclusive
Posted by Javier Payano
Step on stage with the Google Cultural Institute
December 1, 2015
It takes years of practice to perfect the pirouettes. Months of rehearsal to get the crescendos just right. Multiple stories of lights, rigging and machinery to set the scene. At the world’s leading performing arts venues —like Carnegie Hall, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Bolshoi Theatre—artists, costume designers, musicians, stage crews and many more all come together to create the perfect moment on stage.
And now you can join them. In a
new virtual exhibition
from the Google Cultural Institute and more than 60 performing arts organizations, you can experience dance, drama, music and opera alongside some of the world’s leading performers—onstage, backstage and with a 360 degree-view of the action.
The new Performing Arts exhibition gives you a view that’s even closer than a front-row seat in the house. With 360-degree performance recordings, you you can choose a dancer’s-eye view of the crowd, or look down from the stage into the orchestra pit. At the Paris Opera, you can stand in the middle of the largest stage in Europe, surrounded by dancers performing choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s moves. Sit between the woodwinds and strings at
with a full view of Maestro Nézet-Séguin. Don’t worry if you’re underdressed as you tour the
’s rehearsal performance of Beethoven’s
Symphony No. 9
with conductor Sir Simon Rattle—you’ll see the orchestra is not in black tie either.
Beyond the performance itself, new indoor Street View imagery gives you an all-access backstage pass to the venues. Wander through the wig workshop at
Brussels’ opera house
, look beneath the stage at the
historic underground arches
Fundação Teatro Municipal in São Paulo
, or zoom in on ultra-high resolution Gigapixel
at France’s National Centre for Stage Costume, before browsing more than a hundred interactive stories about the shows, the stars and the world behind the scenes. If you’re lucky enough to be planning an in-person visit to one of these venues, you can tour them in Street View first to see where you’ll be sitting, or how the view is from the balcony.
The Google Cultural Institute was founded in 2011 to bring the world’s treasures to anyone with an Internet connection. Starting in partnership with a handful of renowned museums, we’ve since joined forces with 900+ institutions to include
, and 200
wonders of the world
. Now you can also visit dozens of the world’s stages together in one place—across mobile, tablet and desktop at
and on the
Google Cultural Institute
Curtain-up, and let
take the stage!
Posted by Amit Sood, Director of the Google Cultural Institute
Google Cultural Institute
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