Let's celebrate the season of giving

GoogleBlog - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 12:29
It's the season of giving, and there are a lot of ways to give—by donating, by volunteering, by surprising a stranger with a random act of kindness. And we're joining in to help spread the holiday cheer. This month, is giving more than $15 million in grants to organizations using technology to address some of the world’s biggest problems. From San Francisco to Western Africa, these organizations are making a direct impact on people around the world, every day.

One of our grants will go to Feeding America. Each year, billions of pounds of surplus food are sent to landfills, while 49 million Americans (including one in five children) go hungry. Our grant will help support their newest food rescue initiative called the Online Marketplace, a program that connects local retail and foodservice businesses who have excess food to those in need. Feeding America serves 3.3 billion meals annually and the Online Marketplace is projected to lead to the recovery of an additional 740 million meals, significantly reducing food waste while giving more families access to food.

Two of our other grantees are working on the front lines to help ensure lives aren't lost to preventable diseases. Nexleaf Analytics works to get life-saving vaccines to children in India and Mozambique by preserving these vaccines before they spoil by installing low-cost refrigerator sensors in clinics. Malaria No More is fighting to save lives by better understanding the spread of malaria using newly available mobile data to map malaria cases and how they are being treated.

To learn more about additional nonprofits we’re supporting through these grants, and to see how you can get involved with their efforts, visit and see our slideshow below: .carousel-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 70%; height: 0; } .carousel-container iframe { position: absolute; top:0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

These are only part of our annual philanthropic efforts. Over the course of the year, we strive to make the world a little bit better through our technology and giving programs, including more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in technology resources, and 80,000+ volunteer hours donated to causes around the world.

We're inspired by all the people out there who are working to make a difference—whether it's one of these organizations or simply one person doing a good deed for another. We're glad to do our part spreading some love this holiday season, and look forward to seeing more world-changing work in 2015.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director,
Categories: Technology

Android dress code: wear what you want

GoogleBlog - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 17:26
Deciding what to wear is a really personal thing—it’s one of the ways you show people what you’re about. Wearable technology is no different, so Android Wear offers a wide selection of apps and watches to suit your taste. It’s about expressing who you are, however you want, right on your wrist.

Today there’s even more ways to show your style with Android Wear, including dozens of new watch faces (powered by an official Watch Face API), a full collection of devices on Google Play, and lots of other improvements based on your feedback. So try ‘em on for size, and let us know what you think.
Watch faces for whatever you’re into
Starting today you can download watch faces from Google Play, just like you do with apps. We’ve got dozens of examples to get you started—from the unpredictable Minions in Despicable Me to the X-Ray artistry of Hugh Turvey. And because the new Watch Face API is available to all developers, you can expect even more choices in the weeks and months ahead.

We’ve also updated the Android Wear app on your phone to make browsing, downloading, and switching watch faces really easy. So pick the one you like the best, or pick a new one every day.

(Both updates are rolling out over the next week, so don’t worry if you don’t see them yet.)
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Examples of Android Wear watch faces
A family of watches to choose from
In only a few short months, the Android Wear collection has grown to include six unique watches—the ASUS ZenWatch, the LG G Watch, the LG G Watch R, the Moto 360, the Samsung Gear Live, and the Sony SmartWatch 3. Some are circular, others are square. Some are traditional, others are sporty. And that’s exactly the point. With different shapes and styles, it’s really easy to make your watch your own.

So by all means: wear what you want.

Posted by David Singleton, Director of Engineering, Android Wear
Categories: Technology

Windows 8 Desktop icons won’t stay where I put them?

AskDaveTaylor - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 10:13

What you’re seeing is a feature, not a bug, believe it or not. OS designers have been wrestling with the tricky issue of icon placement on the desktop — and in folders — since the beginning of the graphical interface, trying to find that perfect balance between having things automatically arrange themselves neatly and giving users the power to tweak and modify as desired. Worse, Windows is the prime offender in this regard because so darn many apps like to drop shortcuts onto the Desktop, which means that if you’re a Windows user, odds are good that you can’t even see your wallpaper because you have so many icons!

While the Desktop seems to be completely different to individual folders where you can change the view settings, in fact they’re all one and the same. There are two settings that are affecting your ability to manage your Desktop, and both likely need to be changed.

To start, here’s a typical scenario: You drag an icon or folder to a specific spot on the screen…

Just to let go and find that it bounces right back to the starting point.


To fix it, right click anywhere on the desktop, then chose “View”:

The “Auto arrange icons” is the preference that makes sure they stack from the top left, down then across, regardless of where you want to put them, and the option “Align icons to grid” is the setting that lets you put icons where you want, if they fit into the invisible grid that is superimposed over the desktop.

I recommend turning both of them off to maximize your flexibility, and you’ll find that once you choose one, the menu vanishes, so it’s a bit tedious in Microsoft Windows 8 and Win8.1 to change these particular settings. Once done, however, you can then stack things like this:

Much better if you like to stay organized!

The post Windows 8 Desktop icons won’t stay where I put them? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

How do I refollow someone I unfollowed on Facebook?

AskDaveTaylor - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:04

You are by no means alone in wresting control of your Facebook newsfeed from the algorithms that the system uses to decide what you should find interesting. In fact, since it’s such a self-reinforcing loop, there are times I feel like the vast majority of my Facebook news is from a tiny subset of my circle of online friends. And I’m right. It’s hard to interact with or create “engagement” with content that you never see, right?

So what you’re suggesting is a smart step towards having the people you want showing up on your newsfeed. The other half of it, however, is that you need to actually interact with content from the people you want to have in your newsfeed. Kinda daft, but once you have more than a dozen or two friends, it’d be crazy to try and read your newsfeed without some sort of algorithm that tries to figure out who you like and want to interact with and who you are fine having off the proverbial radar screen.

Also worth knowing is that in the modern world of Facebook “following” someone is quite different from “friending” someone, and each is, rather surprisingly, independent of the other. So you can follow someone on Facebook without being friends, and you can friend someone and then unfollow them, and they’ll never know that their brilliant missives aren’t even in your newsfeed.

It’s the latter situation that we’re looking at here people with whom you are friends, but who you’ve unfollowed. And that you can find from the “News Feed Prefrences” menu on the top right of your Facebook page:

Choose “News Feed Preferences” and the next window makes it immediately obvious how to proceed:

Because I interact with a lot of Anne and Emily’s content, they are the two people I see the most in my newsfeed, as it shows.

Lower down, you can see that I unfollowed my friends Ana Maria Figueredo, Daniel Hay and Ruth Ann Santistevan Cullis, though they don’t know that and get no indication from Facebook that I’ve done so. Well, except if they read this article, I suppose!

To re-follow someone like Ana Maria, all I need to do is click on “+ Follow”.

Done. That’s it.

Just remember you also need to ensure you engage with their content for them to show up regularly in your Facebook newsfeed too.

Looking for more help with Facebook? Gotcha covered: Facebook help. Or just become a fan: Ask Dave Taylor on Facebook.

The post How do I refollow someone I unfollowed on Facebook? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

A Year in Search: the moments that defined 2014

GoogleBlog - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 03:00
Every year, we reflect on the moments that made us laugh, smile from ear to ear, or stay gripped to our screens in our annual Year in Search. In 2014, we were struck by the death of a beloved comedian, and watched news unfold about a horrific plane crash and a terrifying disease. We were captivated by the beautiful game, and had fun with birds, a bucket of ice, and a frozen princess.

Watch our video to rediscover the events, people and topics that defined 2014:

Wishing the genie goodbye
“You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it.” The passing of beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams shook the world, bringing many people online to search for more information and to remember—and putting Williams in the #1 spot on our global trends charts. There was even an uptick in searches related to depression tests and mental health in the days following his death. We revisited his iconic roles in movies like Aladdin and Dead Poets Society and found solace in gifs and memes that captured Williams’ spirit.

All the world’s a stage
Nothing brings people together like sports, and 2014 had one of the biggest athletic events in recent memory. The World Cup in Brazil had its fair share of unforgettable moments and had everyone glued to their TVs and mobile devices all summer. From Luis Suarez’s bite heard around the world, to Tim Howard's superman performance vs. Belgium, to Germany’s incredible run to their fourth title, the competition certainly lived up to its reputation and topped the charts.

While sports brought people together, so did a good cause. This year, awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, reached an all-time high around the world due to the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As celebrities and everyday people alike braved a bucket of ice cold water for a cause, donations to help find a cure for the illness hit almost $100 million.
Into the unknown
How could a plane just vanish into thin air? In the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, that question propelled the mystery to the global trends charts. As the investigation continued on the ground and online, people stayed hopeful for a happy ending despite the dim odds: searches for “mh370 found” outnumbered searches for “mh370 lost.”

Here’s the full list of our top 10 global trending searches:
You can find more on these top searches and more at
Explore the stories from the year, one chapter at a time
On our Year in Search site, you can take an in-depth look at the stories that made 2014 unforgettable. From the rise of the selfie, to understanding if we search for “how” more than “why,” each chapter shares a glimpse into the people and events that drove this year forward.
We've also made it easier to find the trending topics of the year directly from Google Search. For the first time, a simple search for [google 2014] will give you a peek at what made the top trending lists from around the world. And you can follow more insights from the year with #YearInSearch. So take a moment to appreciate what this year had to offer. It’ll be 2015 before you know it.
Posted by +Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President, Search
Categories: Technology

Find the source file for a Windows shortcut?

AskDaveTaylor - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 13:29

One of the things that I most dislike about Windows is the bad habit of apps dropping shortcuts on your Desktop without even asking. After a few months, just about every Windows system is littered with 10, 20 or more of these shortcuts, meaning that whatever pretty image you have as your desktop wallpaper barely peeks out from between all the darn icons. Especially in Windows 8 — and Win 8.1 — the search system is so improved that you really can skip them entirely and just type in the name of the app you want to use each time. Quick and easy.

But no, app developers (including Microsoft) keep dropping those darn shortcuts onto your Desktop and it’s up to you to either delete them, organize them or let them “win” and take over the space. Honestly, all those shortcuts just make me anxious when I look at them.

Fortunately, you can at least test the shortcuts to see if they work and find the original file or program that’s linked easily enough. THen you can decide if you want the program and/or need the shortcut.

And remember, you can delete shortcuts without affecting the program itself. It’ll still run, you can still get to it from the Start Tiles (in Win8) or through search.

Here’s a typical Windows 8 Desktop shortcut:

You can always tell by the arrow on the lower left of the icon itself, in case you haven’t realized that yet.

Right click on a shortcut and the context menu pops up:

Choose “Properties” from this list to learn more about the shortcut itself.

The result:

You can see the target of the shortcut listed if you want to modify it (yes, you can make your own shortcuts!) or explore further, but an easier way to go to the folder that contains the app that this shortcut points to is to click on the “Open File Location” button on the lower left.

Click on Open File Location and you’re in the File Manager:

There’s the app itself, conveniently highlighted.

You  can also see what else is in this particular folder, of  course. If you want to remove the program, however, I recommend you use Add/Delete Programs through the Control Panels interface, aka PC Settings > Search and Apps > App size, to point you in the right direction in the brave new Windows 8 world.

The post Find the source file for a Windows shortcut? appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Video Review: DVDO Air-3c Pro Wireless HDMI Transmitter

AskDaveTaylor - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 11:43

You don’t have to be an audio-visual fanatic to end up with tons of wires leading into the back of your television, or for you to have a setup where it’s just more convenient to have your Blu-Ray player, cable box, and streaming media player across the room from your HDTV.

Now there’s a way to make those configurations work, even if your devices are 20-30 feet apart, as I discuss in this video review of the DVDO Air-3c Pro HTMI Transmitter/Receiver:

Want to learn more about this terrific device? Go here: DVDO Air-3c Pro.

The post Video Review: DVDO Air-3c Pro Wireless HDMI Transmitter appeared first on Ask Dave Taylor.

Categories: Technology

Through the Google lens: search trends December 6-11

GoogleBlog - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 16:54
From The Colbert Report to astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, here's a look at this week's search stars.

The presidency is just my day job
Being the President of the United State is no easy task, but Barack Obama may have just faced his toughest test yet...a seat on The Colbert Report. This is the Commander-in-Chief’s third time on the show, but it’s still no cakewalk with every topic up for grabs—including Obama’s less than ideal approval ratings and his graying hair. Obama proved himself up for the challenge, though, kicking Colbert off his segment and making it his own.

Not only does Obama moonlight as a comedian—it turns out he can also code. At a White House event with 30 middle school students, the President kicked off Hour of Code, a program that encourages young people to develop their computer and software programming skills. With a little help from one of the kids, Obama wrote a single line of JavaScript, “moveForward(100),” to move the tutorial’s character 100 pixels to the right, and in the process becoming the first U.S. president to write a computer program.
Winners and losers
Competition on The Voice is heating up; the three finalists were revealed this week. But there’s a twist in the show’s seventh season: to spice things up, its creators introduced a new wildcard spot, bringing the total number of potential finalists to four. Now the nine remaining contestants who didn’t make it to the top three will duke it out for that fourth spot and a shot at singing glory.

While The Voice contestants still have a chance to take home the grand prize, other stars were left out in the cold this week when the Golden Globe nominations included several snubs. Names left off the selection sheet were Angelina Jolie and her upcoming film Unbroken, Christopher Nolan and his much-hyped Interstellar, and Bradley Cooper, who gained 40 pounds to portray Chris Kyle in the biopic film American Sniper. Oh well—there's still the Oscars. Meanwhile, movies Birdman and Boyhood snapped up seven and five nominations, respectively—and the TV category is staying interesting with nods for several Netflix original series, Amazon’s first appearance with Transparent, and two surprise nominations for the CW’s quirky Jane the Virgin.

The sky above
This week, searchers spent a good chunk of their time looking up. The weather was top of mind as the Pineapple Express—no, not the film—hit the San Francisco Bay Area, causing flooding and power outages. The phenomenon gets its name from its origins in the waters near Hawaii, a.k.a. the Pineapple State, where it develops before heading towards the U.S Pacific Coast.

Even for those of us trapped indoors, searchers got a chance to look at the stars...on our homepage at least. Searchers looked for more information about astronomer Annie Jump Cannon after a Google doodle marked her 151st birthday. Cannon—who was deaf for most of her adult life, and often overshadowed by her colleague Edward C. Pickering—was instrumental in the development of the Harvard Classification system, which categorizes stars by their temperature (whether or not they were nominated for a Golden Globe).

Tip of the week
Need to find something in the apps on your Android phone? Now you can ask your Google app for help—even if it’s in another app. Just say “Ok Google” and then “search YouTube for holiday decorating ideas” or “search Tumblr for Taylor Swift” and jump straight to those results within the other app (if you have it installed).

And come back next week for Google's Year in Search—a review of the people, moments, and events that captured the world's attention.

Posted by Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [comedian-in-chief] and [team adam].
Categories: Technology

Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00

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