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Find wheelchair accessible places with Google MapsFind wheelchair accessible places with Google Maps

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:30

Editor’s note: Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and we’ll be sharing resources and tools for education, as well as accessibility features and updates for Android and Google Maps. 

Imagine making plans to go somewhere new, taking the journey to get there and arriving— only to be stuck outside, prevented from sitting with family or being unable to access the restroom. It’s a deeply frustrating experience I’ve had many times since becoming a wheelchair user in 2009. And it’s an experience all too familiar to the 130 million wheelchair users worldwide and the more than 30 million Americans who have difficulty using stairs.

So imagine instead being able to “know before you go” whether a destination is wheelchair accessible, just as effortlessly as looking up the address. In recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re announcing a new Google Maps feature that does just that.

People can now turn on an “Accessible Places” feature to have wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps. When Accessible Places is switched on, a wheelchair icon will indicate an accessible entrance and you’ll be able to see if a place has accessible seating, restrooms or parking. If it’s confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, we’ll show that information on Maps as well.

Video explaining how Accessible Places benefits everyone who uses wheels.Better maps for everyone, whether you walk or roll

Today, Google Maps has wheelchair accessibility information for more than 15 million places around the world. That number has more than doubled since 2017 thanks to the dedication of more than 120 million Local Guidesand others who’ve responded to our call to share accessibility information. In total, this community has contributed more than 500 million wheelchair accessibility updates to Google Maps. Store owners have also helped, using Google My Business to add accessibility information for their business profiles to help users needing stair-free access find them on Google Maps and Search.

With this feature “rollout”, it’s easier to find and contribute wheelchair accessibility information to Google Maps. That benefits everyone, from those of us using wheelchairs and parents pushing strollers to older adults with tired legs and people hauling heavy items. And in this time of COVID-19, it’s especially important to know before you go so that you won’t be stranded outside that pharmacy, grocery or restaurant.

Anyone can contribute accessibility information to Google Maps

To get wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps, update your app to the latest version, go to Settings, select “Accessibility,” and turn on “Accessible Places.” The feature is available on both Android and iOS. 

We’re also rolling out an update that allows people using iOS devices to more easily contribute accessibility information, joining the millions of Android users who have been sharing this type of information on Maps. This guide has tips for rating accessibility, in case you’re not sure what counts as being “accessible.” We invite everyone to switch on Accessible Places and contribute accessibility information to help people in your community.

A Maps milestone, built on a movement

This launch is a milestone in our journey to build a better, more helpful map for everyone, which includes recent efforts to help people find accessible places, transit routes and walking directions. Our work wouldn’t be possible without the decades of advocacy from those who have fought for equal access for people with disabilities. Were it not for them, there would be far fewer accessible places for Google Maps to show.

The Accessible Places feature is starting to rollout for Google Maps users in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, with support for additional countries on the way.

Use the Accessible Places feature to see accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps

Google Maps increases prominence of wheelchair accessibility information, helping people with mobility challenges.
Categories: Technology

Accessibility updates that help tech work for everyoneAccessibility updates that help tech work for everyone

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:30

Editor’s note: Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and we’ll be sharing resources and tools for education, as well as new accessibility features for Android and Google Maps

In 1993, Paul Amadeus Lane was an EMT with his whole life planned out. But at age 22, he was in a multi-car collision that left him fighting for his life and in recovery for eight months. After the crash, Paul became quadriplegic. He soon realized that his voice was one of his most powerful assets—professionally and personally. He went back to school to study broadcasting and became a radio producer and morning show host. Along the way, Paul discovered how he could use technology as an everyday tool to help himself and others. Today, he uses accessibility features, like Voice Access, to produce his own radio show and share his passion for technology.

Stories like Paul’s remind us why accessible technology matters to all of us every single day. Products built with and for people with disabilities help us all pursue our interests, passions and careers. Today, in honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re announcing helpful Android features and applications for people with hearing loss, deafness, and cognitive differences. While these updates were designed for people with disabilities, the result is better products that can be helpful for everyone. 

Action Blocks: One-tap actions on Android for people with cognitive disabilities

Every day, people use their phones for routine tasks—whether it’s video calling family, checking the weather or reading the news. Typically, these activities require multiple steps. You might have to scroll to find your video chat app, tap to open it and then type in the name of the contact you’re looking for. 

For people with cognitive disabilities or age-related cognitive conditions, it can be difficult to learn and remember each of these steps. For others, it can be time consuming and cumbersome—especially if you have limited mobility. Now, you can perform these tasks with one tap—thanks to Action Blocks, a new Android app that allows you to create customizable home screen buttons

With Action Blocks, tap on the customized button to launch an activity.

Create an Action Block for any action that the Google Assistant can perform, like making calls, sending texts, playing videos and controlling devices in your home. Then pick an image for the Action Block from your camera or photo gallery, and place it on your home screen for one-touch access.

Action Blocks is part of our ongoing effort to make technology more helpful for people with cognitive disabilities and their caregivers. The app is available on the Play Store, and works on Android devices on Android 5.0 and above. 

Video showing how Action Blocks is helping people simplify interactions on their Android phone.

Live Transcribe: Real-time transcriptions for everyday conversations

In 2019, we launched Live Transcribe, an app that provides real-time, speech-to-text transcriptions of everyday conversations for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Based on feedback we’ve received from people using the product, we’re rolling out new features:

  • Set your phone to vibrate when someone nearby says your name. If you’re looking elsewhere or want to maintain social distance, your phone will let you know when someone is trying to get your attention. 
  • Add custom names or terms for different places and objects not commonly found in the dictionary. With the ability to customize your experience, Live Transcribe can better recognize and spell words that are important to you. 
  • It’s now easier to search past conversations. Simply use the search bar to look through past transcriptions. To use the feature, turn on ‘Saving Transcriptions’ in Settings. Once turned on, transcriptions will be saved locally on your device for three days.
  • We’re expanding our support of 70 languages to include: Albanian, Burmese, Estonian, Macedonian, Mongolian, Punjabi, and Uzbek.

Live Transcribe is pre-installed on Pixel devices and is available on Google Play for devices Android 5.0 and up. 

Sound Amplifier: Making the sounds around you clearer and louder

Sound Amplifier, a feature that clarifies the sound around you, now works with Bluetooth headphones. Connect your Bluetooth headphones and place your phone close to the source of the sound, like a TV or a lecturer, so that you can hear more clearly. On Pixel, now you can also boost the audio from media playing on your device—whether you are watching YouTube videos, listening to music, or enjoying a podcast. Sound Amplifier is available on Google Play for devices Android 6.0 and above.

Use Sound Amplifier to clarify sound playing on your phone.

Accessibility matters for everyone

We strive to build products that are delightful and helpful for people of all abilities. After all, that’s our mission: to make the world’s information universally accessible for everyone. If you have questions on how these features can be helpful for you, visit our Help Center, connect with our Disability Support team or learn more about our accessibility products on Android

For Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re launching several apps and updates developed with and for people with disabilities.
Categories: Technology

A is for accessibility: How to make remote learning work for everyoneA is for accessibility: How to make remote learning work for everyone

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 11:30

Editor’s note: Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and we’ll be sharing resources and tools for education, as well as accessibility features and updates for Android and Google Maps

When it comes to equity and access in education, nothing is more important than making sure  our digital tools are accessible to all learners—especially now as distance learning becomes the norm. I’m a proud member of the disability community, and I come from a family of special education teachers and paraprofessionals. So I’ve seen firsthand how creative educators and digital tools can elevate the learning experience for students with disabilities. It’s been amazing to see how tools like select-to-speak help students improve reading comprehension as they listen while reading along or assist students who have low vision. And tools like voice typing in Docs can greatly benefit students who have physical disabilities that limit their ability to use a keyboard.

This Global Accessibility Awareness DayI'm reminded of how far we’ve come in sharing inclusive tools for people with different abilities. But it doesn’t stop there. Everyday we strive to make our products and tools more inclusive for every learner, everywhere.

Applying technology to accessibility challenges

At Google, we’re always focused on how we can use new technologies, like artificial intelligence, to broaden digital accessibility. Since everyone learns in different ways, we’ve  built tools and features right into our products, like G Suite for Education and Chromebooks,  that can adapt to a range of needs and learning styles. For learners who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or need extra support to focus, you can turn on live captions in Google Slides and in  Google Meet. On Chromebooks, students have access to built-in tools, like screen readers, including ChromeVox and Select-to-speak, and Chromebook apps and extensions from EdTech companies like Don Johnston, Grackle Docs, Crick Software, Scanning Pens and Text Help, with distance learning solutions on the Chromebook App Hub

As more students learn from home, we’ve seen how features like these have helped students learn in ways that work best for them.

Helping all students shine during distance learning

Educators and students around the world are using Google tools to make learning more inclusive and accessible. Whether that’s using Sheets to make to-do lists for students, sharing the built-in magnification tools in Chromebooks to help those who are visually impaired, or using voice typing in Google Docs to dictate lesson plans or essays. 

In Portage Public Schools in Portage, Michigan, teachers are taking advantage of accessibility features in Meet to help all of their students learn at their own pace.  They use live captioning in Meet so that students who are Deaf or hard of hearing can follow along with the lesson. And with the ability to record and save meetings, every student can refer back to the material if they need to.  

In Daegu, South Korea, about 100 teachers worked together to quickly build an e-learning content hub that included tools for special education students, such as Meet, Classroom and Translate. “In the epidemic situation, it was very clear that students in special education were placed in the blind spot of learning,” said one Daegu teacher. But thanks to digital accessibility features that were shared with students and parents, the teacher said, “I saw hope.” 

Accessibility resources for schools

At a time when digital tools are creating the  connection between students, classmates, and teachers, we need to prioritize accessibility so that no student is left behind. The good news is that support and tools are readily available for parents, guardians, educators and students:

Your stories of how technology is making learning accessible for more learners during COVID-19 help us and so many others learn new use cases. Please share how you're using accessibility tools and requests for how we can continue to meet the needs of more learners.

On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re sharing stories of schools around the world using Google accessibility tools during distance learning.
Categories: Technology

Navigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time marketingNavigating the road ahead: The benefits of real-time marketing

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 10:00

Changes in consumer behavior have always resulted in adjustments to marketing strategies. COVID-19 has shown how quickly consumers’ interests, expectations, and purchasing behavior can shift—and with it, an ebb and flow in demand for products and services. Despite these changes, consumer expectations for businesses and brands remain high. In fact, 78 percent of people surveyed say brands should show how they can be helpful in the new everyday life.1

Adjusting your media buying and the way your business shows up in these dynamic conditions is difficult, especially when some businesses are having to manage twice the complexity with half the capacity. Today, we’ll explore the unique role automation can play in helping you respond to the impact of COVID-19 in real time.

Get the most out of your budget

As conditions change, so do auction dynamics. Communities are in various stages of response to COVID-19 and the things people care about are rapidly shifting. This influences things like location, mobile browsing habits, conversions, and other variables that impact ad performance. It’s in this constant sea of change where Smart Bidding can help.

Smart Bidding (also available as Google Ads auction-time bidding in Search Ads 360) uses machine learning to automatically calculate bids for each and every auction. Utilizing signals like location, search query, and conversion data, Smart Bidding can optimize bids in real time to hit your performance goal even as query and conversion volume fluctuates. 

It’s important to note that unpredictable changes in conversion rates, for example: shifts in conversion cycles, cancellation or return rates, are challenging for any bid automation tool. Under these conditions, consider adjusting your cost per acquisition or return on ad spend targets to ensure the best allocation of your budget. For additional flexibility, consider shared budgets and portfolio bid strategies which are effective ways to automatically adjust bids and move spend across campaigns based on performance.

Reach new and existing customers

From flour to at-home workouts to studying at home, the things people are searching for and how they’re searching for them is evolving. It can be difficult to identify where consumers’ attention and demand is shifting while ensuring you have the right query coverage. Dynamic Search Ads are an easy way to reach customers who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Using the content on your website, Dynamic Search Ads automatically delivers relevant ads with headlines and landing pages that are specific to the user’s query. So as consumer behavior shifts, you can ensure your Search ads are adjusting in real time to meet that demand, all while saving time.

Another way to find keyword opportunities is through the Recommendations page. "Keywords & Targeting" recommendations help you identify new trends that are relevant to your business. In fact, more than 16 million keyword recommendations in Google Ads are based on market trends alone, with new ones added every day. Consider adding keywords that are projected to drive additional traffic beyond your existing ones, or pausing keywords that are performing poorly.

Once you’ve applied the recommendations that make the most sense for your business, keep an eye on your optimization score. Each recommendation comes with a score uplift, and historically we’ve seen that advertisers who have increased their score by 10 points saw a 10 percent increase in conversions on average. You can quickly check for new recommendations using the Google Ads mobile app.

Google Ads mobile app

Show up with the right message

COVID-19 has not only disrupted business operations, like inventory and shipping, but has also impacted the way businesses communicate with customers. As conditions change week to week and community to community, it’s critical to adjust how you’re communicating and interacting with your customers at scale.

Responsive search ads and responsive display ads enable you to make updates to your Search and Display ads at scale, respectively. Using multiple creative assets, like headlines and descriptions, responsive search ads and responsive display ads automatically identify the best combination of assets in order to deliver an ad that’s likely to perform best. For responsive search ads, you can also pin critical information like modified support options or updated business hours to ensure it shows with your ads. If you're seeing an increase in call volume, or your business is operating on limited hours or staffing, call ads (formally known as call-only ads) now also include an optional “Visit website” link. This gives your customers more flexibility in how they connect with your business.

When it comes to adjusting the messages in your video ads, time and resources are limiting factors right now. Rather than starting from scratch, consider using Video Builder. It’s a free beta tool that animates static assets—images, text and logos—with music from YouTube’s audio library. You can choose from a variety of layouts based on your message and goals, customize colors and font, and quickly generate a short YouTube video.

Know what’s working

As the world moves from responding to recovering from this crisis, it’s important you have the right tools available to understand the impact of COVID-19 on your business. Over the past few weeks, we’ve introduced improvements to attribution in Google Ads to help you understand your Google media better.

A new look for attribution reports helps you quickly see how customers are engaging with your ads so you can select the right attribution model for your business. One model, data-driven attribution, uses machine learning to determine how much credit to assign to each click along the customer journey. This ensures your media strategy is accounting for changes in consumer behavior during times of crisis. And with more people turning to YouTube during this pandemic, you can use cross-network reports (currently in beta) to understand how customers interact with your Search, Shopping, and YouTube ads—including clicks and video engagements—before converting.

Helpful resources for managing your campaigns

We’ve created a single destination for product guidance and business considerations when managing your campaigns through COVID-19. You can find the full list of guides and checklists here. We’ll continue updating and adding more through the rest of the year.

In early June, we’ll also be launching The Update on Think with Google: a new video series to share the latest insights, news, best practices, and products. Enjoy this sneak peek, and stay tuned.

1.  Kantar, COVID-19 Barometer Global Report, Wave2, 50 countries, n=9,815, fielded 27th-30th March

Categories: Technology

Helping COVID-19 responders find hotelsHelping COVID-19 responders find hotels

Thu, 05/21/2020 - 09:00

Meghan is an Intensive Care Unit nurse treating coronavirus patients in Indiana, and she’s been staying at a Hilton hotel with special accommodations for COVID-19 responders. As she explains, "Reducing the risk of bringing something home to my family has made a huge difference in my peace of mind.” 

Across the Atlantic Ocean, in London, Ruby is in a similar situation. She’s a doctor who’s also treating coronavirus patients. "I was really worried about being in the same space as my family,” says Ruby. “I wanted to find a hotel nearby that could host me, but it was difficult to find one.” 

Healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers like Meghan and Ruby can now find hotels with special policies for COVID-19 responders—like free or discounted rooms—using Google Search or Maps. For example, they can search for “hotels for essential workers in New York” or “hotels in New York” and narrow the results using a new filter for “COVID-19 responder rooms.”

                                COVID-19 responder hotel room results on Google Search

On Google Maps and, a tip will appear at the top of the results if hotels in the area have a special policy for frontline workers. As on Google Search, there’s a new filter for COVID-19 responder rooms, which will show participating hotels. COVID-19 responders can then call the hotel directly to learn more about its policies and book.

To keep track of which properties are offering special accommodations, we’re working with partners including Choice Hotels International, Hilton, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, as well as the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Our initial efforts have focused on the United States and United Kingdom, and we hope to launch global coverage as soon as possible.

Filter and and see hotels with COVID-19 responder accommodations on Google Maps

If you’re a hotel owner and have discounts or special accommodations for frontline or essential workers, let us know by signing into Google My Business and adding the attribute to your Business Profile, or get help from Google My Business support. 

Thank you to all the frontline, medical and essential workers who are helping others during this time and to the hotels hosting these heroes. We hope these updates make it easier and less stressful to find and book hotels if you need to right now.

Healthcare and essential workers can find hotels with policies for COVID-19 responders by searching on Google Search or Maps.
Categories: Technology

A reintroduction to our Knowledge Graph and knowledge panelsA reintroduction to our Knowledge Graph and knowledge panelsPublic Liaison for Search

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 12:00

Sometimes Google Search will show special boxes with information about people, places and things. We call these knowledge panels. They’re designed to help you quickly understand more about a particular subject by surfacing key facts and to make it easier to explore a topic in more depth. Information within knowledge panels comes from our Knowledge Graph, which is like a giant virtual encyclopedia of facts. In this post, we’ll share more about how knowledge panels are automatically generated, how data for the Knowledge Graph is gathered and how we monitor and react to reports of incorrect information.

What’s a knowledge panel?Knowledge panels are easily recognized by those who do desktop searching, appearing to the right of search results:

Our systems aim to show the most relevant and popular information for a topic within a knowledge panel. Because no topic is the same, exactly what is shown in a knowledge panel will vary. But typically, they’ll include:

  • Title and short summary of the topic
  • A longer description of the subject
  • A picture or pictures of the person, place or thing
  • Key facts, such as when a notable figure was born or where something is located
  • Links to social profiles and official websites

Knowledge panels might also include special information related to particular topics. For example:

  • Songs from musical artists
  • Upcoming episodes from TV shows
  • Rosters of sports teams.
Sources of information for the Knowledge Graph

The information about an “entity”—a person, place or thing—in our knowledge panels comes from our Knowledge Graph, which was launched in 2012. It’s a system that understands facts and information about entities from materials shared across the web, as well as from open source and licensed databases. It has amassed over 500 billion facts about five billion entities.

Wikipedia is a commonly-cited source, but it’s not the only one. We draw from hundreds of sources from across the web, including licensing data that appears in knowledge panels for music, sports and TV. We work with medical providers to create carefully vetted content for knowledge panels for health issues. We also draw from special coding that content owners can use, such as to indicate upcoming events.

On mobile, multiple knowledge panels provide facts

When we first launched knowledge panels, most search activity happened on desktop, where there was room to easily show knowledge panels alongside search results. Today, most search activity happens on mobile, where screen size doesn’t allow for a side-by-side display.

To this end, information from the Knowledge Graph is often not presented through a single knowledge panel on mobile. Instead, one or more knowledge panels may appear interspersed among the overall results.

How we work to improve the Knowledge Graph

Inaccuracies in the Knowledge Graph can occasionally happen. Just as we have automatic systems that gather facts for the Knowledge Graph, we also have automatic systems designed to prevent inaccuracies from appearing. However, as with anything, the systems aren’t perfect. That’s why we also accept reports from anyone about issues.

Selecting the “Feedback” link at the bottom of a knowledge panel or the three dots at the top of one on mobile brings up options to provide feedback to us:

We analyze feedback like this to understand how any actual inaccuracies got past our systems, so that we can make improvements generally across the Knowledge Graph overall. We also remove inaccurate facts that come to our attention for violating our policies, especially prioritizing issues relating to public interest topics such as civic, medical, scientific, and historical issues or where there’s a risk of serious and immediate harm.

How entities can claim and suggest changes to a knowledge panel

Many knowledge panels can be “claimed” by the subject they are about, such as a person or a company. The claiming process—what we call getting verified—allows subjects to provide feedback directly to us about potential changes or to suggest things like a preferred photo. For local businesses, there’s a separate process of claiming that operates through Google My Business. This enables local businesses to manage special elements in their knowledge panels, such as opening hours and contact phone numbers.

For more information about topics like this, check out our How Search Works blog series and website.

A refresher on the Google Knowledge Graph and how you can find facts about people, places and things in knowledge panels on Search.
Categories: Technology

Exposure Notification API launches to support public health agenciesExposure Notification API launches to support public health agencies

Wed, 05/20/2020 - 12:00

Note: The following is a joint statement from Apple and Google.

One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.   

To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials, scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance. 

Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app—rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.  

Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts. 

Apple and Google's Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android.
Categories: Technology

A Doodle dedicated to the aloha spiritA Doodle dedicated to the aloha spirit

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 17:00

When I think of my time living in Hawaiʻi, I simply think of “aloha.” “Aloha” means more than “hello” or “goodbye,” it’s a way of life. To embody the aloha spirit is to embody kindness, humility, harmony, patience and sincerity. And if there were a soundtrack to this idea, it would be the music of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, whom we’re celebrating in today’s Google Doodle. Of course, Israel was incredibly proud of his Hawaiian roots, which is why it’s perfect that today’s Doodle is also a larger celebration of Asian American Pacific Heritage Month. 

Best known for his beloved cover of “Over the Rainbow” (which I walked down the aisle to at my wedding), Israel’s music and his voice have always felt so welcoming to me. But it’s also the little details about Israel that I identify with. His wife, Marlene, told us one of his favorite flowers was the plumeria. These flowers are all over Oʻahu, where Israel and I both lived, and remind me of backyard barbecues with my Lōkahi Canoe Club teammates or friends being piled high in floral birthday leis. Most often, I think of simply plucking a plumeria and tucking it behind my ear, as so many people in Hawaii do—behind your right if you’re looking for love and behind your left (the same side as your heart) if you’re taken. 

A photograph of the author surfing in front of Diamond Head, and some memorabilia from the Lōkahi Canoe Club.

I also loved learning that one of Israel’s favorite places in Oʻahu was the Waikiki Shell, where he often played. It sits in the shadow of Diamond Head, an iconic landmark of great significance to Israel and many others. Seeing the profile of Diamond Head depicted in the first few seconds of today’s Doodle video brings back many warm memories for me of concerts, movies on the beach, surf sessions off its coast and afternoon jogs around the crater. 

But perhaps the thing that resonated with me most is something Israel’s former producer, Jon de Mello, said about him, which is that he got along with anyone he met, and that he only had love for people. Today, this kind of love and hopefulness Israel shared are turning up in an unexpected, but fitting way: People all over the world are displaying photos of rainbows, which Israel loved, in their windows and on sidewalks to uplift their neighbors and give people passing by a smile. We feel like this Doodle is a way for us to do the same.

No matter where you are, or what your circumstances, like a rainbow after the rain—and like Israel’s voice always does for me—we hope that this Doodle brings a smile to your face.  

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Israel Kamakawiwoʻole and Asian American Pacific Heritage Month. - The Keyword
Categories: Technology

More intuitive privacy and security controls in ChromeMore intuitive privacy and security controls in Chrome

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 11:00

Keeping you safe and secure online is part of Chrome’s DNA. Along with providing strong default protections, we aim to give you accessible, intuitive, and useful controls so you can make choices that are right for you. So, today we’ve started rolling out new tools and a redesign of Chrome’s privacy and security settings on desktop, to help you control your safety on the web. 

Easy to understand controls

With this redesign, we’ve made the controls even easier to find and understand, with simplified language and visuals:

  • It’s easier to manage cookies. You can choose if and how cookies are used by websites you visit, with options to block third-party cookies in regular or Incognito mode, and to block all cookies on some or all websites. 
  • In Site Settings, we’ve reorganized the controls into two distinct sections to make it easier to find the most sensitive website permissions: access to your location, camera or microphone, and notifications. A new section also highlights the most recent permissions activity.
  • At the top of Chrome settings, you’ll see “You and Google” (previously “People”), where you can find sync controls. These controls put you in charge of what data is shared with Google to store in your Google Account  and made available across all your devices.
  • Because many people regularly delete their browsing history, we’ve moved that control, “Clear browsing data”, to the top of the Privacy & Security section. 

Clearer, more accessible controls to help you manage cookies.

Safety check in Chrome 

With our new safety check in settings, you can quickly confirm the safety of your experience in Chrome.

  • The new tool will tell you if the passwords you’ve asked Chrome to remember have been compromised, and if so, how to fix them. 
  • It will flag if Safe Browsing, Google’s technology to warn before you visit a dangerous site or download a harmful app or extension, is turned off. 
  • The safety check tool also has a new additional way to quickly see if your version of Chrome is up to date, i.e. if it’s updated with the latest security protections. 
  • If malicious extensions are installed, it will tell you how and where to remove them.

Check if your passwords have been compromised and if so, fix them with Chrome’s help.

Third-party cookie controls in Incognito mode 

In Incognito mode, where people come for a more private browsing experience, Chrome doesn’t save your browsing history, information entered in forms or browser cookies. While we continue to work on our long-term effort to make the web more private and secure with Privacy Sandbox, we want to strengthen the Incognito protections in the meantime. In addition to deleting cookies every time you close the browser window in Incognito, we will also start blocking third-party cookies by default within each Incognito session and include a prominent control on the New Tab Page. You can allow third-party cookies for specific sites by clicking the “eye” icon in the address bar. This feature will gradually roll out, starting on desktop operating systems and on Android.

Incognito mode blocks third-party cookies within each session.

A new home for your extensions

Starting today you’ll start to see a new puzzle icon for your extensions on your toolbar. It’s a neat way to tidy up your toolbar, and gives you more control over what data extensions can access on sites you visit. With this addition, you’ll still be able to pin your favorite extensions to the toolbar.

Opening menu displays your extensions and shows you what data they can currently access.

Upgraded security with Enhanced Safe Browsing protection and Secure DNS

We’re bringing you two major security upgrades that you can opt in to. First, Enhanced Safe Browsing gives you more proactive and tailored protections from phishing, malware and other web-based threats. If you turn on Enhanced Safe Browsing, Chrome proactively checks whether pages and downloads are dangerous by sending information about them to Google Safe Browsing.  If you’re signed in to Chrome, then Chrome and other Google apps you use (Gmail, Drive, etc.) will further protect you based on a holistic view of threats you encounter on the web and attacks against your Google Account. Over the next year, we’ll be adding even more protections to this mode including tailored warnings for phishing sites and file downloads, and cross-product alerts.

Enhanced Safe Browsing offers the highest-level of security.

We’re also launching Secure DNS, a feature designed to improve your security and privacy while browsing the web. When you access a website, your browser first needs to determine which server is hosting it, using a step known as a "DNS (Domain Name System) lookup." Chrome's Secure DNS feature uses DNS-over-HTTPS to encrypt this step, thereby helping prevent attackers from observing what sites you visit or sending you to phishing websites. By default, Chrome will automatically upgrade you to DNS-over-HTTPS if your current service provider supports it. You can also configure a different secure DNS provider in the Advanced security section, or disable the feature altogether. 

Secure DNS can be configured to use your current ISP's service if available (default), another provider from a list, or a custom provider.

These new updates and features, including our redesigned Privacy and Security settings, will be coming to Chrome on desktop platforms in upcoming weeks. We’ll continue to focus on features that protect your privacy and security as you’re browsing the web with Chrome, in addition to giving you clear and useful choices around managing your data.

We’ve started rolling out new tools and a redesign of Chrome’s privacy and security settings on desktop, to help you control your safety on the web.
Categories: Technology

New controls for how you share albums in Google PhotosNew controls for how you share albums in Google Photos

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 10:00

While sheltering in place, I’ve been using Google Photos to share snapshots of my daughter with our family, so we can stay connected when we can’t physically see each other. And this has been the case for many people—since the start of COVID-19, sharing in Google Photos has increased by 50 percent in some regions.

Last December, we launched direct sharing to make it easy to share one-off photos and videos in Google Photos by adding them to an ongoing, private conversation in the app. Today, we’re bringing a similar experience to shared albums. Rolling out this week, when sharing an album, the default option will be to share with a specific person or people via their Google account. This gives you more control over who’s added to the album.

You’ll still have the option to share albums in Google Photos via a link, which you can embed in an email, text, or blog to make it easy to share photos with people who don't use Google Photos or have a Google account.

You have the option to turn link sharing on or off at any time and you can decide if you want to let other collaborators add photos to an album. You’ll also be able to remove someone from the album, which will remove the photos and videos they added.

Google Photos helps me share my toddler’s latest adventures and connect with the people I love. Whether I share an album via a link or with specific people, these controls make it easy and secure to share personal moments with my loved ones.

Categories: Technology

Deliver the best ad experience every timeDeliver the best ad experience every time

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 09:47

This post is the fourth in a series exploring several of Ad Manager’s key features and how they help our publisher partners maximize their ad revenue. To learn more, read posts one, two, and three.

Ten years ago, it was difficult for most to imagine how quickly ad formats would change, or how the rise of mobile and proliferation of video would create so many moments for people to engage with content. I talk to partners every day about how they can’t just keep up with these changes, but must make the most of them to grow their revenue. Key to this is delivering the right ad, in the right format, at the right moment. 

From in-app rewarded video to connected TV ads, Google Ad Manger was built to power the full scope of your digital advertising business. Instead of having to pull together standalone solutions for different types of ads, our publisher partners can select from a full suite of premium formats on Ad Manager to serve ads that add value and help boost revenue. We’ve also made it possible to integrate and manage inventory and formats from third party ad serving platforms, should you choose to use them. 

Here’s an overview of some of the formats you can use and serve through Ad Manager.


Video ads delivered seamlessly, inside and outside of the player

The data is in, both audiences and advertisers love digital video. To help you make the most of video’s growth, we’ve been steadily investing in new ad formats, delivery improvements, and platform integrations on devices like connected TVs and smart devices. 

Here are a few features and formats that work to ensure you can extract the most value from your content with video ads.

Dynamic Ad Insertion delivers personalized in-stream video experiences at scale
Dynamic Ad Insertion brings the quality of TV ads to any digital device, including internet enabled televisions. It helps you earn more revenue for your video inventory by delivering a seamless and personalized viewer experience. 

Because it’s built directly into Ad Manager, Dynamic Ad Insertion helps you take advantage of advanced monetization software and machine learning to maximize your revenue across devices, for live and on-demand content. It reliably supports millions of concurrent viewers with advanced pre-fetching of ads, sophisticated failure mitigation systems, and Google infrastructure and serving capacity. Our partners have used it during the World Cup, the Winter Olympics, the NFL Playoffs, and more.

In-article and in-feed video formats
Historically most video ad opportunities have been limited to players and in-stream content. But that’s changing, and fast. We’ve introduced five programmatic video formats on Ad Manager that can be served to people outside of the player. Partners using the platform can easily serve video ads within all of their content feeds and articles programmatically by opting into video ad experiences in protections.

Both the in-feed and in-article versions of these video ads seamlessly fit a user's scrolling behavior on both web and apps. They’re muted by default to ensure they don’t disrupt the user, and they only play when 50 percent or more of the ad is in view, ensuring higher viewability rates. If users choose to engage with an ad, they can tap to unmute the video

Rewarded ads create a better ad experience

Ads that users can choose to view in exchange for an in-app reward—such as watching a video ad to get an extra life in a game—are called rewarded ads. These ad experiences can keep users more engaged, offer a better overall app experience, and can deliver more revenue for your business. 

In a recent Google study, 50 percent of users reported that they would be less satisfied with their app experience if rewarded ads were removed. With Ad Manager, you can set up and choose from a range of ad formats and sizes, from video to interactive ads, as well as different rewards.

Native ads match the design of your site

Native ads are highly effective because they’re formatted to match the look and feel of the sites and apps they appear on. According to a 2017 Google study, users found native ads less distracting than banners because they present a more cohesive experience overall. 

In contrast to conventional banners, Native ads are built with components—pieces of creative that the advertiser provides, like headlines and images. Ad Manager makes it easy for publishers to take these components and style them to create ads that are unique to their site or app. From news feeds to shopping sites, you can customize and optimize your native ads with Ad Manager to determine which formats look the best and earn the most.

Our team continues to innovate with solutions like these, so you can cater to consumers’ changing preferences and take advantage of evolving formats to grow ad revenue.

To learn more about how Ad Manager can help you manage, protect, and grow your advertising business, visit our new feature brief archive in the resources section of our website. And we’ve got one more post in store for this series, Use insights to make better business decisions.

Deliver compelling and engaging ad experiences everywhere
Categories: Technology

How Search WorksHow Search Works

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 08:00
Categories: Technology

Make the best of YouTube yours with YouTube SelectMake the best of YouTube yours with YouTube Select

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 07:00

Helping you connect with your audience is our top priority. This is especially important as digital takes precedence in how we interact, communicate and stay connected.

To make this even easier for your brand, today we’re announcing a new global content solution called YouTube Select—a reimagination and unification of solutions like Google Preferred and prime packs. It offers more flexibility to reach the audiences you can’t find elsewhere in the content and places they choose to watch—with the confidence that your buy is brand-safe.  

More content for greater relevance at scale

Viewers say YouTube offers the most extensive video library.1 To help you find the right content for your brand, YouTube Select surfaces a diverse mix of content packages called lineups—each tailored to globally and locally relevant needs like beauty & fashion, entertainment, technology, sports and everything in between.

This year, we’re introducing a new offering called emerging lineups in the U.S. Emerging lineups provide an easy way to efficiently extend the reach of your campaigns among up and coming or niche channels, with the added benefit of brand suitability controls. 

Beyond our lineups offerings, YouTube Select can now help advertisers reach new audiences across top YouTube apps and verticals like YouTube Kids, Sports, Music and Originals with sponsorships and programs. Across markets, advertisers should work with their local teams to customize the right YouTube Select plan for their needs.

More capabilities for the TV screen, and how you buy

Around the world, people are turning more and more to YouTube on the biggest screen in their home. This shift in viewing behavior means lineups contain more TV screen inventory than ever before.

For example in the U.S., over 100 million people watch YouTube and YouTube TV on their TV screen each month.2  And according to Comscore, YouTube has a higher household reach and share of watch time than the next 3 ad-supported streaming services combined.3  

That’s why we’re introducing a dedicated streaming TV lineup as part of YouTube Select in the U.S. to help brands reach their audiences where they are watching. Streaming TV combines the best of YouTube TV and lineups content, both on TV screens. That means being able to easily reach your audience with a single, scalable offering on the big screen across the best content, including popular creators, YouTube Originals, live sports, feature length movies, timely news and more.

We also recently announced Brand Lift measurement on TV screens, which will be available globally for the YouTube app and coming soon for YouTube TV, to better help brands measure their results.

In addition to more capabilities on the TV screen, we are also bringing more choice to how you buy. Many countries, including most across Europe and Asia-Pacific, are making certain YouTube Select lineups available via Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and reservation. Connect with your Google sales team to learn more about the buying methods available in your region.

More certainty in your campaigns

With YouTube Select, you can be confident that your ad buys are brand-safe. You’ll have access to advanced brand suitability controls, as well as the option to only serve ads on videos that have been machine classified and human-verified across all lineups (lineup/market dependent).

Harriet Perry, General Manager at OMG Digital says "For Omnicom Media Group UK, the ability to build relevant and customized content plans to support the unique needs of each of our clients is critical. The YouTube Select product will allow us to achieve this, and will also provide us added controls like human verification and brand measurement. Additionally, we are excited about YouTube Select’s audience and scale on OTT/connected TV devices, which will be a core part of our overall connected TV strategy."

With more content, capabilities and certainty, YouTube Select offers an easier way for you to authentically connect with your audience at scale. Most importantly, YouTube Select helps drive real results for your business. In 2019, global lineups delivered an average awareness lift of 13 percent and an average purchase intent lift of 9 percent.4 And in an MMM meta-analysis we commissioned with Nielsen in the U.S., YouTube Select lineups had greater ROI than TV in 73 percent of MMMs that measured YouTube Select lineups, Other Digital, and TV in 2016-2018.5

Make the best of YouTube yours with YouTube Select. 

Explore YouTube Select programming on our website. Connect with your Google sales team to learn more about YouTube Select offerings and rollout timing in your region.

1. Google/Talkshoppe, US, whyVideo study, n=2000 A18-64 Genpop video users, Feb 2020

2. YouTube Internal Data, US, March 2020

3. Comscore OTT Intelligence, Oct. 2019, US

4. YouTube Select Brand Lift (formerly Google Preferred lineups), 2019, Global

5. Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2016-2018. Base: a list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2016-2018 that contain YouTube Select Lineups (formerly Google Preferred), Other Digital, and TV results. This list includes 45 studies for US Brands across all CPG categories. ROI is “Retail ROI,” defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters.

Categories: Technology

Take a virtual travel day with Street ViewTake a virtual travel day with Street View

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 07:00

As a program manager for Street View, I’ve had the opportunity to work in more than 20 countries around the world, collecting imagery that transports people to new places and powers Google Maps. 

You can even find my blurred face from time to time in Street View. I’ve trekked a desert in Abu Dhabi (with a camel no less) and walked around the Great Pyramids of Giza (I’m the blurred face to the right). You can see my reflection throughout the 152nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, as I operate the Street View camera, and you can see me playing tourist in the canals of Venice

Like many people though, life and work look different for me now than it did last year. While travel is now out of the question for many, that doesn't mean exploring and learning about our world has to stop. 

Over the past 60 days we’ve seen Google Search interest spike more than 700 percent for virtual tours worldwide. People are looking to discover world famous museums, with the Louvre, the Smithsonian and the MoMA among the five most searched virtual tours globally. Alongside museums, people are also searching for a little bit of whimsy and beauty with searches for Disney virtual tours and Versailles virtual tours rounding out the list.

Those destinations only scratch the surface of what you can explore in Street View. There’s more than 10 million miles of Street View imagery you can freely explore by yourself or with professional guides who are taking their walking tours virtual. Today, I’m inviting people worldwide to take time for a virtual travel day on Street View. 

When I drop into a new place with Street View, it shakes up my routine, broadens my perspective, makes me feel more creative and brings a smile to my face. If you’re like me, sometimes you need an idea of where to go before you, well, go. So here are a few virtual travel itineraries with pictures of my favorite places to travel to in Street View:

Picture perfect landscapesStreets with a viewPlaces of worshipAncient sitesWhile many of us are staying at home, we're encouraging people worldwide to take a virtual travel day with Street View
Categories: Technology