Official Google Blog
Quality of service is a big factor people consider when choosing a place to eat. With that in mind, and with one of the busiest dining nights of the year coming up on Valentine’s Day, we want to help you find the restaurants that get good service right. That’s why today we’re releasing our list of America’s “top service restaurants,” based on ratings from passionate diners like you.
Here’s the full list of top service restaurants in 25 cities throughout the U.S., from the “impeccable hospitality” of the French Room in Dallas, to San Francisco’s Gary Danko where you’ll be treated “like a millionaire”:
We hope this helps you find a restaurant to your liking, and we invite to share your dining experiences—the good, the bad and all that’s in between—by posting a review on Google+. In fact, why don’t you give your favorite restaurant a Valentine’s Day treat and give them props for their great service now? Happy dining.
Posted by Bernardo Hernandez, Zagat Managing Director
Like any good circus, there’s plenty to keep you entertained: compose your own music, play with a fun photo booth and create your own movie with a zoetrope. The path to Oz also involves confronting an ominous tornado; surviving it completes the journey, enabling fans of the movie to watch an exclusive unreleased clip from the film.
Chrome Experiments like “Find Your Way to Oz” would have been impossible a few years ago. Since that time, the web has evolved and allowed developers and designers to create immersive beautiful experiences. For “Find Your Way to Oz” the 3D environment was built entirely with new technologies such as WebGL and CSS3. It’s enhanced by rich audio effects thanks to the Web Audio API. The photo booth and zoetrope were built using the getUserMedia feature of WebRTC, which grants webpages access to your computer’s camera and microphone (with your permission).
For the best experience, you’ll need to use an up-to-date computer built to handle intense graphics. It also works best with a webcam and a modern browser that supports WebGL and WebRTC, like Chrome. For tablet or smartphone users, we have a smaller scale yet equally enjoyable experience that you can try with the latest Chrome browser on your Android device, iPhone or iPad.
If you want to learn more, or run away and join the developer circus, you can get an explanation of the technologies used on the Chromium blog or in our technical case study.
Start your journey towards the yellow brick road at www.findyourwaytooz.com.
Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Marketing Manager
Last year, we launched Good to Know, our biggest-ever consumer education campaign focused on making the web a safer, more comfortable place. Today, on Safer Internet Day, we’re updating Good to Know to include more tips and advice to help you protect yourself and your family from identity theft, scams and online fraud. You can also learn how to make your computer or mobile device more secure, and get more out of the web—from searching more effectively to making calls from your computer. And you can find out more about how Google works to make you, your device and the whole web safer.
For example, we encrypt the Gmail and Google Search traffic between your computer and Google—this protects your Google activity from being snooped on by others. We also make this protection, known as session-wide SSL encryption, the default when you’re signed into Google Drive. Because outdated software makes your computer more vulnerable to security problems, we built the Chrome browser to auto-update to the latest version every time you start it. It gives you up-to-date security protection without making you do any extra work.
Even if you don’t use Google, we work hard to make the web safer for you. Every day we identify more than 10,000 unsafe websites—and we inform users and other web companies what we’ve found. We show warnings on up to 14 million Google Search results and 300,000 downloads, telling our users that there might be something suspicious going on behind a particular website or link. We share that data with other online companies so they can warn their users.
We know staying safe online is important to you—and it is important to us too. Please take some time today to make your passwords stronger and turn on 2-step verification to protect your Google Account. Talk with friends and family about Internet safety. And visit our new Good to Know site to find more tips and resources to help you stay safe online.
Posted by Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering
Overall, the top trending searches on Google during the game were:
- Baltimore Ravens
- San Francisco 49ers
- Colin Kaepernick
The most searched team: The Ravens
As they did in the game, the Ravens narrowly beat out the 49ers as the most searched team during the game on Google. The most searched players of the game were Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, Michael Oher, David Akers and Jacoby Jones—thanks to his 108-yard kickoff return.
The Harbaugh brothers’ on-field battle has been one of the big stories of the game, so it’s no surprise that viewers took to the web to find more information on these coaches. While John Harbaugh took home the trophy, Jim was the most searched brother on Google.
Game day commercials
Lastly, it’s not game day without the commercials. Fans were seeking out commercials online throughout the game, driving searches for big game ads on Google 55 times higher this Sunday than the same time last week. The most searched for commercials on YouTube were ads from M&M’s, Mercedes-Benz, Disney’s “Oz Great and Powerful,” Lincoln, and Audi. Searches for "Gangnam Style" were also trending on YouTube, along with searches for big game performers Alicia Keys and Beyonce.
This year many advertisers turned to YouTube to share game day ads and teaser videos in the weeks leading up to the game. In 2013, big game ads or ad teasers were watched more than 66 million times on YouTube before game day.
Now that you’ve seen all the ads, vote for your favorite one on either the YouTube Ad Blitz channel or ADWEEK.com now through February 11. The winners of the Ad Blitz will be announced on the YouTube homepage on February 16.
Will you be Monday-morning quarterbacking the game or the ads?
Posted by Jeffrey Oldham, Software Engineer
From Feb 7-12, YouTube will bring Carnival to the world for the third year in a row—giving you a front-row seat to the entire celebration on the YouTube Carnival channel.
The best Carnival is the one you choose, anytime, anywhere
What better way to experience a party the size of Brazil than by connecting to the rhythms and local traditions of six different cities—from Rio de Janeiro’s samba and Salvador’s axé to southern Brazil’s frevo. This year, you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities of Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Olinda, São Luís do Maranhão, Ouro Preto and Pirenópolis.
Pick from a series of live feeds, camera angles and performances from the city of your choice, right in the middle of the party. Channel feeds are made possible by a combination of YouTube Live and Google+ Hangouts. In total, you can access a total of 150 hours of live Carnival feeds—from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Here’s a little more detail on some of the celebrations:
- YouTube from Rio de Janeiro—From Feb 8-12, you can dance as much samba as you want, as you watch the attractions of the Circo Voador concert hall or check out the calmer celebrations of Terreirão do Samba, a venue that receives various samba musicians and afternoon concert sessions throughout the year.
- YouTube from Salvador de Bahia—For the third year in a row, you’ll be able to check out the best of Salvador’s famed Carnival route, Barra-Ondina. However this time, you’ll be able to choose from four different camera feeds located throughout the Carnival route, so you don’t miss your favorite carnival band. Follow Salvador’s most famous carnival artists such as Claudia Leitte, Chiclete com Banana, Asa de Águia, Ivete Sangalo and others as their mobile stages advance through the circuit.
Google+ joins the party
Everyone knows that a good party generates great photos. That’s why we’ve also joined with photographers who will be uploading pictures daily of Carnaval’s best moments from 20 different Brazilian cities at Google+ Carnaval.
Find the entire agenda of this year’s Carnival events at www.youtube.com/carnaval. To keep track of your favorite events and the artists you want to see, download the Carnaval 2013 extension from the Chrome Web Store, and make sure not to miss a beat.
Posted by Lauren Pachaly, Consumer Marketing Manager, Google Brazil
Google creates €60m Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to support transformative French digital publishing initiatives
Today I announced with President Hollande of France two new initiatives to help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers. First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.
This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France—including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.
Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman
Take a walk down the narrow trails and exposed paths of the Grand Canyon: hike down the famous Bright Angel Trail, gaze out at the mighty Colorado River, and explore scenic overlooks in full 360-degrees. You’ll be happy you’re virtually hiking once you get to the steep inclines of the South Kaibab Trail. And rather than drive a couple hours to see the nearby Meteor Crater, a click of your mouse or tap of your finger will transport you to the rim of this otherworldly site.
View Larger Map The Colorado River, one of the many impressive scenes in the Grand Canyon
This breathtaking imagery collection was made possible with the Trekker. Our team strapped on the Android-operated 40-pound backpacks carrying the 15-lens camera system and wound along the rocky terrain on foot, enduring temperature swings and a few muscle cramps along the way. Together, more than 9,500 panoramas of this masterpiece of nature are now available on Google Maps.
View Larger Map A breathtaking 360-degree view from the famous Bright Angel Trail
So no matter where you are, you don’t have to travel far or wait for warmer weather to explore Grand Canyon National Park. Check out some of our favorite views on our World Wonders site where you can find more information, facts and figures about the Grand Canyon, or in the updated Street View gallery, and happy (virtual) hiking!
Posted by Ryan Falor, Product Manager, Google Maps
Google Science Fair: Looking for the next generation of scientists and engineers to change the world
Today, we’re launching the third annual Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, the LEGO Group, National Geographic and Scientific American to find the next generation of scientists and engineers. We’re inviting students ages 13-18 to participate in the largest online science competition and submit their ideas to change the world.
For the past two years, thousands of students from more than 90 countries have submitted research projects that address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Previous winners tackled issues such as the early diagnosis of breast cancer, improving the experience of listening to music for people with hearing loss and cataloguing the ecosystem found in water. This year we hope to once again inspire scientific exploration among young people and receive even more entries for our third competition.
Here’s some key information for this year’s Science Fair:
- Students can enter the Science Fair in 13 languages.
- The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm PDT.
- In June, we’ll recognize 90 regional finalists (30 from the Americas, 30 from Asia Pacific and 30 from Europe/Middle East/Africa).
- Judges will then select the top 15 finalists, who will be flown to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. for our live, final event on September 23, 2013.
- At the finals, a panel of distinguished international judges consisting of renowned scientists and tech innovators will select top winners in each age category (13-14, 15-16, 17-18). One will be selected as the Grand Prize winner.
- In August, the public will have the opportunity to get to know our 15 finalists through a series of Google+ Hangouts on Air and will then vote for the Inspired Idea Award—an award selected by the public for the project with the greatest potential to change the world.
- We also recognize that behind every great student there’s often a great teacher and a supportive school, so this year we’ll award a $10,000 cash grant from Google and an exclusive Google+ Hangout with CERN to the Grand Prize winner’s school.
Visit www.googlesciencefair.com to get started now—your idea might just change the world.
Posted by Sam Peter, Google Science Fair Team
The transformation of the maps we use everyday is driven by a growing industry that creates jobs and economic growth globally. To present a clearer picture of the importance of the geo services industry, we commissioned studies from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Oxera. What we found is that maps make a big economic splash around the world.
In summary, the global geo services industry is valued at up to $270 billion per year and pays out $90 billion in wages. In the U.S., it employs more than 500,000 people and is worth $73 billion. The infographic below illustrates some examples of the many benefits of maps, whether it’s improving agriculture irrigation systems or helping emergency response teams save lives.
Click the image for a larger version
1.1 billion hours of travel time saved each year? That’s a lot of time. Also, consider UPS, which uses map technology to optimize delivery routes—saving 5.3 million miles and more than 650,000 gallons of fuel in 2011. And every eight seconds, a user hails a taxi with Hailo, which used maps and GPS to deliver more than 1 million journeys in London alone last year. Finally, Zipcar uses maps to connect more than 760,000 customers to a growing fleet of cars in locations around the world.
Because maps are such an integral part of how we live and do business, the list of examples goes on and on. That’s why it’s important we all understand the need to invest in the geo services industry so it continues to grow and drive the global economy. Investments can come from the public and private sectors in many forms—product innovation, support of open data policies, more geography education programs in schools and more.
We’re proud of the contributions that Google Maps and Earth, the Google Maps APIs and our Enterprise solutions have made to the geo services industry and to making maps more widely available, but there’s a long way to go. To learn more about the impact of the maps industry, see the full reports.
Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Google Geo
If it’s like most other days, Google—like many companies that provide online services to users—will receive dozens of letters, faxes and emails from government agencies and courts around the world requesting access to our users’ private account information. Typically this happens in connection with government investigations.
It’s important for law enforcement agencies to pursue illegal activity and keep the public safe. We’re a law-abiding company, and we don’t want our services to be used in harmful ways. But it’s just as important that laws protect you against overly broad requests for your personal information.
To strike this balance, we’re focused on three initiatives that I’d like to share, so you know what Google is doing to protect your privacy and security.
First, for several years we have advocated for updating laws like the U.S. Electronic Communications Privacy Act, so the same protections that apply to your personal documents that you keep in your home also apply to your email and online documents. We’ll continue this effort strongly in 2013 through our membership in the Digital Due Process coalition and other initiatives.
Second, we’ll continue our long-standing strict process for handling these kinds of requests. When government agencies ask for our users’ personal information—like what you provide when you sign up for a Google Account, or the contents of an email—our team does several things:
- We scrutinize the request carefully to make sure it satisfies the law and our policies. For us to consider complying, it generally must be made in writing, signed by an authorized official of the requesting agency and issued under an appropriate law.
- We evaluate the scope of the request. If it’s overly broad, we may refuse to provide the information or seek to narrow the request. We do this frequently.
- We notify users about legal demands when appropriate so that they can contact the entity requesting it or consult a lawyer. Sometimes we can’t, either because we’re legally prohibited (in which case we sometimes seek to lift gag orders or unseal search warrants) or we don’t have their verified contact information.
- We require that government agencies conducting criminal investigations use a search warrant to compel us to provide a user’s search query information and private content stored in a Google Account—such as Gmail messages, documents, photos and YouTube videos. We believe a warrant is required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and overrides conflicting provisions in ECPA.
We’re proud of our approach, and we believe it’s the right way to make sure governments can pursue legitimate investigations while we do our best to protect your privacy and security.
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer