Official Google Blog
Bigger, faster spreadsheets
The new Sheets supports millions of cells and kicks many of the old size and complexity limits to the curb. Scrolling, loading and calculation are all snappier, even in more complex spreadsheets.
New features based on your feedback and requests
Filter views is a new feature unique to Google Sheets that lets you quickly name, save and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it.
Whether you’re new to formulas or a whiz at running complex functions, it’s now easier to set up and perform calculations. New function help and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to spot and fix mistakes.
As another time-saving improvement, text now automatically flows into empty adjacent cells—no manual merge needed.
With the improved conditional formatting, you can add rules to change the colors and styles of cells in your spreadsheet based on custom formulas.
No Internet connection? Work offline with Chrome
You shouldn’t have to think about whether you have a WiFi connection when you want to work. So just like Google Docs and Slides, you can now make edits to Sheets offline. When you reconnect to the Internet, your edits will automatically sync. If you've edited Docs or Slides offline in the past, then you’re already set up to edit Sheets offline. If not, follow these one-time instructions for setting up offline in Chrome.
Ready to try it out?
Turn on the new Sheets by checking the “Try the new Google Sheets” box in Google Drive settings. From then on, all new spreadsheets you create will work offline and include these new features. We’ll be adding a small list of missing features in the coming months, so if you rely on any of them, you may want to wait a little longer before opting in.
We hope you enjoy these and the many other updates that come along with the new Google Sheets, including colored sheet tabs, custom number formatting, paste transpose and more. Let us know what you think on our Google+ page!
Posted by Zach Lloyd, Software Engineer
As 2013 comes to a close, these are some of the videos, channels and moments that shaped our year. While each annual list is unpredictable (what's up, Mr. Miley Cyrus impersonator), trending videos just get bigger each year. And with 80 percent of all views on YouTube coming from outside the U.S., the global community is driving pop culture unlike ever before.
You watched The Fox more than 275 million times, making it the top trending video of 2013. You also made it a top searched Halloween costume, and you’ll maybe even read it as a children’s book. You turned out in record-setting numbers to see PSY’s post-"Gangnam Style" performance. You even made more “Harlem Shake” videos than there are people in Manhattan (1.7 million videos if you’re counting).
To celebrate all these moments, more than 60 top creators on YouTube got together and made a little video for everyone:
Here are the top trending and music videos for 2013:
Top Trending Videos for 2013
1. Ylvis - "The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)" by tvnorge
2. "Harlem Shake (original army edition)" by kennethaakonsen
3. "How Animals Eat Their Food" | MisterEpicMann by MisterEpicMann
4. "Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball (Chatroulette Version)" by SteveKardynal
5. "baby&me / the new evian film" by EvianBabies
6. Volvo Trucks - "The Epic Split feat. Van Damme" by VolvoTrucks
7. "YOLO (feat. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)" by thelonelyisland
8. "Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise" by CarrieNYC
9. "THE NFL : A Bad Lip Reading" by BadLipReading
10. "Mozart vs Skrillex. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2" by ERB
Top Music Videos for 2013
1. PSY - "GENTLEMAN M/V" by officialpsy
2. Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball" by MileyCyrusVEVO
3. Miley Cyrus - "We Can't Stop" by MileyCyrusVEVO
4. Katy Perry - "Roar (Official)" by KatyPerryVEVO
5. P!nk - "Just Give Me A Reason ft. Nate Ruess" by PinkVEVO
6. Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell" by RobinThickeVEVO
7. Rihanna - "Stay ft. Mikky Ekko" by RihannaVEVO
8. Naughty Boy - "La La La ft. Sam Smith" by NaughtyBoyVEVO
9. Selena Gomez - "Come & Get It" by SelenaGomezVEVO
10. Avicii - "Wake Me Up (Official Video)" by AviciiOfficialVEVO
... see even more top music videos.
Check out the YouTube Rewind 2013 channel for even more top lists of the year from around the world, and stay tuned at Google.com/zeitgeist next week for Google's annual look at the people, places and events that captured the world's attention this year.
Posted by Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture and Trends
Called Trompe l'oeil, which means “fool the eye” in French, these techniques require complete control over every detail of size, color, light and gradation of color so that a two-dimensional work appears to be three-dimensional. You can see several examples amongst the new content being launched by 34 global partners today on the Cultural Institute and across our entire collection of more than 57,000 artworks.
Enter the wonderful world of Adriana Varejão—or not, it’s hard to tell. Varejão’s O Colecionador (Inhotim, Brazil)
Trompe l'oeil has been used on things as large as a ceiling—like this fresco at the National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara which uses clever architectural form to momentarily confuse:
Don’t drop that lute! Treasure Room Fresco, 1503-1506 (National Archaeological Museum of Ferrara, Italy)
And as small as a vase:
Manufacture royale de Sèvres: Vase "ferré" en première grandeur, Vers 1765-1770 (Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa & Gardens, Italy)
Sometimes the trickery lies in the deft organization of the elements in the picture, like this one. Can you find the secret image lurking within this seemingly innocent painting of a young man and woman?
Bernardino Montañés Pérez: Caprice, 1891 (Museo de Huesca, Spain)
Other new works exhibit a similar visual trickery. This relic from the Qing dynasty comes from the National Palace Museum of Taiwan—does the cabbage look good enough to eat?
Unknown: Jadeite Cabbage, Qing Dynasty (National Palace Museum, Taiwan)
Or take a look at the Musée d’Orsay’s exhibition of its unusual history, and then compare the details of the former station to the indoor Street View imagery of today's modern museum:
The station d'Orsay in its heyday. (Musée d’Orsay)The Musée d’Orsay on Street View
From Trompe l'oeil to archaeological artifacts, royal portraits and famous scientists, there’s a lot to discover in the latest collection, which comes from all over the world. Enjoyed the visual trickery? See what else can you spot and tell us your favorite examples on our Google+ page.
Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Cultural Institute
Santa's jet-skiing all the way to the North Pole from his tropical vacation
To join in the flurry of preparations for Christmas Eve, visit the Village every day through December 24. You'll have the chance to join the elves as they catapult presents and race with reindeer—and you'll be able to send holiday wishes to friends and family from Santa himself. The elves make a little more progress each day, so be sure to stop by the Village to see the latest.
Come back to Santa's Village every day to see the newest games and scenes
Meanwhile, a team of Google engineers are working hard to track Santa’s sleigh with the most advanced maps and holiday technology available. On December 24, grab some cookies and apple cider and settle down in front of your computer, phone or TV to follow the big guy across the globe with our Santa Tracker. See where Santa’s going, the number of presents he’s delivered, and what he’s thinking throughout the evening.
Keep up the holiday cheer across all of your screens. Once the elves approve, we’ll launch the Google Santa Tracker app for Android in mid-December. Use your phone for on-the-go flight practice with the elves or cozy up near the fireplace with your tablet to follow Santa around the world as he delivers presents Christmas Eve. If you have Chromecast, cast from the Santa Tracker Android app to explore the Village or track his route right from your TV. Or, worried you’ll forget the big day? Download the Chrome extension to count down to Santa’s takeoff while browsing the web for holiday gifts.
Help the elves get ready across all your devices
Download the Chrome extension for easy Santa tracking from your browser
Be sure to come back to Santa’s Village each day to find new ways to celebrate—and from all of us at Google, happy holidays!
Posted by Sandy Russell, Elf Creative Director
(Cross-posted from the Lat Long Blog)
Starting at 9 a.m. EST tomorrow on the Giving Tuesday Google+ page, you can join nonprofit organizations working to improve clean water access, eliminate bullying, and provide disaster relief in the Philippines. Learn more about their work, ask questions and connect directly to the people they’re helping. Celebrities such as Jennifer Garner, Chris Daughtry and Sophia Bush will stop by to join in on the fun, and you can also donate to the charity of your choice while watching the Hangout.
Here’s a preview of what you can do:
- Connect with people engaging in relief efforts on the ground in the Philippines through Save the Children and UNICEF
- Join conversations with the founders of Warby Parker and TOMS about gifts that give back, moderated by our partner Mashable
- Get inspired during a morning yoga tutorial with the Africa Yoga Project in Kenya
- Hear how the Malala Fund is working to promote education as a peace-building tool in developing nations
- Participate in a quick coding lesson from Code.org, Girls Who Code and Code2040 and learn what you can do to support digital literacy
We hope you’ll participate by watching the Hangout-a-thon, donating to a cause you care about and posting about the event with #givingtuesday on Google+. And to keep the giving going throughout the holiday season, download One Today, our Android app that lets you donate to a different nonprofit every day.
Posted by Ramya Raghavan, Head of Politics and Causes for Google+
Neil Gershenfeld holding up a "Pop FabLab" with Nadya Peek as an example of how 21st century manufacturing won’t just happen in large factories, but out of portable briefcases like this one.
Solve for X is a community of individuals and organizations that work together to accelerate progress on moonshots—and what better group of people to work with than those already thinking about our country’s future? As Susan Molinari, our VP of public policy and government affairs, said at the event: "Policymakers are trying to solve big, intractable problems—and so are engineers. Engineers are tackling challenges that have no answers to date, and so are our policymakers.”
The D.C. event brought together a group of exceptional technologists, entrepreneurs, polymaths-at-large, AAAS fellows, Members of Congress and their staff. Pioneers in their respective fields proposed moonshots in manufacturing, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and access to natural resources:
- Neil Gershenfeld and Nadya Peek from the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms proposed setting up FabLabs to bring manufacturing back to America—and in a way appropriate to the 21st century
- Theresa Condor from NanoSatisfi proposed an inexpensive way to give all students direct access to personal satellites to conduct their own science experiments and to transform adoption of STEM
- Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources proposed mining asteroids for natural resources
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (above) said in his opening remarks: “We work in a world of problems, that frankly, any given day somebody could tell you we’ve got a solution for—it’s just about summoning the will to try and actually accomplish it.”
Following the moonshot proposals, we broke into small groups to brainstorm resources, technology and people that could help make the ideas better and happen faster. At Solve for X, brainstorming means two-thirds "yes and"—creating stepping stones to build on an idea—and one-third "yes but—providing critical feedback on blind spots or suggesting alternate implementations.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told us: “You have a psychology of creation. A psychology of ‘what can we imagine?’ And then make it be reality. And that of course is the kind of thinking we need.”
Solve for X co-creators Astro Teller and Megan Smith closed out the event reminding us that moonshots can come from anywhere—people of all ages and places, companies, academia, government, inspired experts, enthusiastic newcomers, even accidental discoveries. So join our 160 moonshot pioneers by submitting your own moonshot video, and contribute to our conversations on Google+ and Twitter—we'd love to hear from you.
Posted by Puneet Ahira, Moonshot Evangelist and Project Lead, Solve for X
Find the hottest toys and get inspired with our holiday shortlists
We’ve curated holiday shortlists for top gift categories including Hot Toys, Electronics, Google & Android Gadgets, Gifts for the Home, Gifts for Her and Gifts for Him. For those of you looking for something to delight the kids in your life, here are some of the top trending toy searches on Google Shopping this month:
- Rainbow Loom
- Minecraft Legos
- Monster High Sets
- Doc McStuffins Playsets
- Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow Blaster
And for those of us wanting to relive our childhoods, we’re also seeing many nostalgic toys making a comeback this year:
Browse more quickly and easily
A new shopping experience on desktop, tablet and mobile makes it easier than ever to browse and hone in on items you want to buy, whether it’s a camera, a ski jacket or an ice cream maker. Click on a product to preview details like sizes, colors and description, and find out if it’s available at a nearby local store. If you see an item that’s almost perfect but not quite, click to view “visually similar” items.
Make your shortlist and check it twice
Shortlists help you keep track of products that catch your eye, compare them at a glance, and share ideas with friends and family. Your shortlist now also stays with you at the top of each page while you browse Google Shopping, so you can keep track of items as you go.
Check out the product from all angles
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what an item actually looks like from the online picture. Now, for many items on Google Shopping, you can see a 360° view of the products. These interactive images bring you the in-store feeling of holding and touching a product.
Once you’ve got something for everyone on your shopping list, we encourage you to buy something for yourself. You’ve earned it.
Posted by Karen Corby, Senior Product Manager, Google Shopping
Inspired by the upcoming motion picture "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Journey through Middle-earth” brings the locations and characters from the movie trilogy to life with a mix of modern web technologies. It was developed by North Kingdom in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.
Your adventure starts on a beautiful, interactive map of Middle-earth. Zoom in to explore Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell and Dol Guldur (with more locations to come in the next few weeks). Click on each one to learn its history and meet the characters who inhabit it, or dive further to test your wits on a unique survival challenge.
The immersive 3D graphics in “Journey through Middle-earth” were built with CSS3 and WebGL, which you might recognize from previous Chrome Experiments. But “Journey through Middle-earth” is the first Chrome Experiment designed to bring this beautiful, 3D experience to mobile, thanks to support for WebGL in Chrome for Android on devices with high-end graphics cards.
The rich audio effects and sound manipulation are delivered through the Web Audio API, which is now supported on both Chrome for Android and Chrome for iPhone and iPad. Although WebGL isn’t supported on iOS, Chrome users can still experience most of “Journey through Middle-earth” on their iPhones and iPads. We can’t wait to see what sort of rich experiences developers will build as modern web technologies become available on more types of devices.
Circle +Google Chrome to stay updated as more Middle-earth locations get released in the coming weeks. You can also check out the Chromium Blog and read the team’s technical case study if you feel like geeking out a bit more.
Adventure is a click away. Just watch out for the trolls!
Posted by Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Product Marketing Manager & Part-time Dragon-slayer
Today, on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, we’re helping make the past come a little bit more alive. Three new exhibits now available on the Google Cultural Institute focus on President Lincoln and the 272 words that shaped a nation’s understanding of its identity. Thanks to our friends at the White House, the Lincoln Library, Cornell University, Dickinson College and the Library of Congress, you can browse high-resolution digital versions of all five Lincoln-handwritten copies of the address. You can also:
- Learn why there are five different versions, and explore how they differ
- See the copy that hangs in the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom
- Enjoy multimedia exhibits written by Lincoln experts for interpretation of and context around the speech
- Read the 272-word reflections of our contemporaries like former President Jimmy Carter, former chairman of the NAACP Julian Bond, and our very own Eric Schmidt on the legacy of Lincoln and his address
Comparing two copies, side by side
You can also contribute your own version of the Gettysburg Address to Learn the Address, a project by documentarian Ken Burns, who has also been reaching schoolchildren across the U.S. with Google+ Connected Classrooms.
Most of us will never stand in the Lincoln Bedroom and see the handwritten draft exhibited there. But now anyone with access to an Internet connection can explore all these artifacts from this defining moment in history—perhaps a bit more accurately than when I gazed at that map.
Posted by Amrit Dhir, Partner Development Manager
For the next seven weeks students from around the world will be able to choose from an extensive list of tasks created by 10 open source projects. Some tasks require coding in a variety of programming languages, creating documentation, doing marketing outreach or working on user interfaces.
Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete to win T-shirts and certificates. At the end of the contest, 20 students will be selected as grand prize winners and flown to Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. Winners will receive a trip to San Francisco, a tour of the Googleplex and a chance to meet with Google engineers.
Google Code-in 2012 grand prize winners at the Googleplex with a self driving car
More than 1,200 students from 71 countries and 730 schools have participated in Google Code-in over the past three years. Last year, our 20 grand prize winners came from 12 countries on five continents!
We hope this year’s participants will enjoy learning about open source development while building their technical skills and making an impact on these organizations. Please review our program site for contest rules, frequently asked questions and to get started.
Posted by Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs
It was impossible for us to collect images of Venice with a Street View car or trike—blame the picturesque canals and narrow cobbled walkways—but our team of backpackers took to the streets to give Google Maps a truly Shakespearean backdrop. And not just the streets—we also loaded the Trekker onto a boat and floated by the famous gondolas to give you the best experience of Venice short of being there.
Our Trekker operator taking a well-earned rest while the gondolier does the hard workThe beautiful Piazza San Marco, where you can discover Doge's Palace, St. Marks' Cathedral, the bell tower, the Marciana National Library and the clocktower
We covered a lot of ground—about 265 miles on foot and 114 miles by boat—capturing not only iconic landmarks but several hidden gems, such as the Synagogue of the first Jewish Ghetto, the Devil’s Bridge in Torcello island, a mask to scare the same Devil off the church of Santa Maria Formosa and the place where the typographer Manutius created the Italics font. Unfortunately, Street View can’t serve you a cicchetto (local appetizer) in a classic bacaro (a typical Venetian bar), though we can show you how to get there.
The Devil’s Bridge in Torcello Island
Once you’ve explored the city streets of today, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Venice’s past by diving deep in to the artworks of the Museo Correr, which has joined the Google Cultural Institute along with Museo del Vetro and Ca’ Pesaro - International Gallery of Modern Art.
Click on a pin under "Take a tour" to compare the modern streets with paintings of the same spots by artists such as Carpaccio and Cesare VecellioOr delve into historical maps of Venice, like this one showing the Frari Church, built in 1396
Finally, take a look behind the scenes showing how we captured our Street View imagery in Venice.
The Floating City is steeped in culture; it’s easy to see why it’s retained a unique fascination and romance for artists, filmmakers, musicians, playwrights and pilgrims through the centuries—and now, we hope, for Street View tourists too.
Posted by Daniele Rizzetto, Street View Operations Manager (and proud Venetian!)
The 17.5 MWac/22 MWp Victor Phelan project (pictured), located in San Bernardino, Calif., is part of six Recurrent Energy developed projects acquired by Google and KKR. The six-project portfolio is expected to operational by early 2014 and will generate enough clean electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.
This investment is similar to one we made back in 2011, when we teamed up with KKR and invested $94 million in four solar facilities developed by Recurrent. Those facilities have since started generating electricity, and we’ve committed hundreds of millions more—more than $1 billion in total—to renewable energy projects around the world.
These investments are all part of our drive toward a clean energy future—where renewable energy is abundant, accessible and affordable. By continuing to invest in renewable energy projects, purchasing clean energy for our operations and working with our utility partners to create new options for ourselves and for other companies interest in buying renewable energy, we’re working hard to make that future a reality.
Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Head of Corporate Finance
Over the past three years, we’ve continued to add more details to the report, and we’re doing so again today. We’re including additional information about legal process for U.S. criminal requests: breaking out emergency disclosures, wiretap orders, pen register orders and other court orders.
We want to go even further. We believe it’s your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies. However, the U.S. Department of Justice contends that U.S. law does not allow us to share information about some national security requests that we might receive. Specifically, the U.S. government argues that we cannot share information about the requests we receive (if any) under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But you deserve to know.
Earlier this year, we brought a federal case to assert that we do indeed have the right to shine more light on the FISA process. In addition, we recently wrote a letter of support (PDF) for two pieces of legislation currently proposed in the U.S. Congress. And we’re asking governments around the world to uphold international legal agreements that respect the laws of different countries and guarantee standards for due process are met.
Our promise to you is to continue to make this report robust, to defend your information from overly broad government requests, and to push for greater transparency around the world.
Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security
Today, we’re granting a $3.2 million Global Impact Award to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Student Veterans of America, the Posse Foundation and Veterans of Foreign Wars to support data analysis of U.S. veterans’ higher education. The study will be made public and answer critical questions:
- Which colleges are most successful at supporting veterans through to graduation day?
- What on-campus programs have the biggest impact?
- How do veterans’ education majors stack up against employment opportunities?
Based on the report, we’ll fund the expansion of the veterans’ programs found to be most effective—whether it’s on-campus child care, access to dedicated mental health services or physical gathering spaces—and will also provide Googler support to make this project a reality.
This award builds on our work to train and mentor student veterans through the Google Veterans Network. We’re proud to serve those who’ve served.
Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google Giving
This Veterans Day, on behalf of the Google Veterans Network and all Googlers, we’re proud to share some of the new ways we’re working with partners to support the military veteran community.
- Helpouts by Google allows anyone to give and receive help over live video, and we think it can be an effective platform for nonprofit and veteran service organizations to connect with veterans and their families. Helpouts for veterans are already available, ranging from guidance for veteran education benefits to entrepreneurship/business planning. Because Helpouts is HIPAA-compliant, providers such as Give an Hour can provide secure and confidential mental health care sessions online—particularly useful for those veterans who are physically unable to travel from their homes.
- Tour Builder is a storytelling tool in beta that enables anyone to record memories of their travels in Google Earth. Tour Builder was inspired by the accomplishments of military service members around the globe. We hope it will give veterans an easy way to share their journeys with loved ones at home and to preserve the legacy of their service for generations to come.
- 13.5 percent of the nation's businesses are run by veterans, employing a collective 8.2 million people. In recognition of the contributions veterans make to the economy, the Google Enterprise blog and Google+ page will share stories throughout the week from veteran-owned business and service organizations that achieved success with the help of Google Apps—like RuckPack Combat Nutrition:
Our professional development programs that pair Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with Google mentors continue to grow. This past summer, we hosted resume writing workshops for 350+ student veterans in 12 Google offices in partnership with Student Veterans of America and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Last week, working collaboratively with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, we welcomed more than 100 injured post-9/11 veterans and their loved ones to Google NYC for a tech immersion and mentoring day. Finally, VetNet, the Google+ career services platform we launched last year with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Hire Heroes USA, has helped thousands of veterans prepare for civilian careers.
Follow us at google.com/+GoogleForVeterans to let us know how else we can help and to stay up to date on our activities througout the year. Happy Veterans Day!
Posted by Carrie Laureno, Audience Evangelist & Founder, Google Veterans Network
The next time you open an email with attachments, you’ll see new previews of the files at the bottom of the email, from photos and videos to spreadsheets and PDFs.
When you click on one of those previews, a full-screen view of the image or document will appear. You can read, search for a particular phrase, and even browse through multiple attachments right in Gmail.
You can now also save your attachments directly to Drive simply by clicking the Drive button that appears when you hover over the preview. Of course, if you prefer to download the attachment to your computer, you can—just click the arrow button.
This new attachment experience is available on desktop and will be rolling out over the next week. If you’re one of the more than 120 million active Drive users, you know that saving your files to Drive lets you get to them from any computer, phone or tablet. And if you aren’t taking advantage of Drive just yet, give it a try with your next Gmail attachment.
Posted by Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management
(Cross-posted on the Gmail Blog and Google Drive Blog)
Today, we’re announcing Helpouts—a new way to get and give help over live video. Our goal is simple: help people help each other. We want to use the convenience and efficiency of the web to enable everyone, no matter where they are or what time it is, to easily connect with someone who can help.
Help might be a quick answer to a problem you’re having right now, like how to fix your garage door, or how to remove a computer virus; or it might be guidance completing a project, like building a deck. It might be learning a new skill, like how to speak conversational French or how to draw cartoons; or it might be general advice on how to improve your fitness or your writing (I could use this right now).
With Helpouts, you can choose who you get help from based on their qualifications, their availability, their price, their ratings and reviews. You can connect instantly or book in advance. You can get help from individuals or from brands you already know and trust, like Sephora, One Medical, Weight Watchers, Redbeacon (a Home Depot company), and Rosetta Stone. Once you’re in a Helpout, you can do more than just talk—you can share your computer screen, collaboratively edit a presentation, or record your Helpout. And if the experience doesn’t meet your expectations, we offer a full money back guarantee.
Today is just the beginning. We’re starting small and in a few categories. The number of people giving help on Helpouts and the type of help available will grow over time. Helpouts may not be suitable for every occasion, and it will take time to get used to interactions via real time video. We hope that the efficiency, convenience and global reach of Helpouts will make people’s lives easier in the long term.
We hope you’ll give Helpouts a try and give us your feedback through ratings and reviews, or talk to us on Google+, Twitter or Facebook. And if you’re interested in giving help on Helpouts yourself, let us know.
It’s time to make getting good help a whole lot easier.
Posted by Udi Manber, VP Engineering
Today we’re launching a new initiative on Google+ called Connected Classrooms that enables students around the world to take “virtual field trips” through Google+ Hangouts, visiting places they would otherwise never be able to explore. We’re kicking things off today with field trips to the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo and the Solar Impulse hangar. Later, teachers can sign up to take their classrooms on virtual field trips hosted by organizations like National Geographic, Matilda the Musical, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and more than 20 other partners.
Teachers are already using Google+ to make learning more relevant, collaborative and accessible—from exploring a world-class art museum to staging a play to venturing into space. Connected Classrooms aims to make it easier for teachers to access exciting educational content to share with their students. In addition to the virtual field trips, teachers who visit the Connected Classrooms site will have the opportunity to join a Google+ Community with other educators to collaborate on field trips and share best practices for using digital tools in the classroom.
If you’re a K-12 teacher, head over to the Connected Classrooms site and learn how your classroom can participate.
Posted by Lisa Jiang, Google+ Education Partnerships Lead
The first thing you’ll notice about KitKat is we’ve made the experience much more engaging: the book you're reading, the game you're playing, or the movie you're watching—now all of these take center stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see.
Bringing more Google smarts to Android
Behind the polish on the screen is the power under the hood. Take the Phone app, which for most people hasn’t really changed since the days of flip phones. Now, we’re making calling easier than ever, by helping you search across your contacts, nearby places, or even Google Apps accounts (like your company’s directory), directly from within the app. And with the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same place, alongside your other conversations and video calls, so you’ll never miss a message no matter how your friends send it. This is just a small taste of KitKat—learn more on our site.
Google has always focused on helping users get immediate access to the information they need, and we want to bring this same convenience and power to users on Android. With the new Nexus 5 launcher, Google smarts are deeply integrated into the phone you carry around with you, so getting to the information you need is simple, easy and fast. Swipe once from the home screen to get Google Now literally at your fingertips. Put Google to work for you by saying “OK, Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song you want to hear. And in the coming weeks, we’re enhancing Now with important new card types that bring you information about contextual topics that interest you such as updates from a favorite website or blog.
Reaching the next 1 billion users
Building a platform that makes mobile phones accessible for everyone has always been at the heart of Android. Until now, some lower-end Android phones couldn't benefit from more recent Android releases due to memory constraints. With KitKat, we've slimmed down Android’s memory footprint by doing things like removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time. We did this not only within Android but across Google services like Chrome and YouTube. RAM (or memory) is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, and now Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users.
Introducing Nexus 5
Along with our sweet naming tradition, we also introduce a new device with each platform release to showcase the latest Android innovations. For KitKat, we partnered with LG to develop Nexus 5 -- the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. Its design is simple and refined to showcase the 5” Full HD display. Nexus 5 also keeps you connected at blazing speeds with 4G/LTE and ultra fast wifi. The advanced new lens on Nexus 5 captures more light for brighter night and sharper action shots. And with optical image stabilization, you no longer have to worry about shaky hands and blurry pictures. A new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot. Learn more on our site.
Nexus 5 is available today, unlocked and without a contract, on Google Play in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. Just in the time for the holidays, Nexus 5 will be available soon at the following retailers: Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.
Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.
How’s that for a treat?
Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps
Even though our favorite month of the year is about to end, it’s good to know how to stay safe all year round. Here are the top five most popular tips from the month:
- Add 2-step verification to keep the bad guys out of your Google account.
- Use a password to secure your router.
- Avoid malware—review permissions and ratings before installing a new app.
- Think before you share.
- Learn how to locate and remote wipe your mobile device in case it’s lost or stolen.
Security and privacy are important and Google provides tools to help you protect yourself and your information. For example, 2-Step Verification adds another layer of security to your Google Account. Google+ Circles and YouTube settings help you control what you share and keep your information private if you want to keep it to yourself. Verify Apps helps protect your phone from malware, and Android Device Manager will ring your phone and locate it on a map to help you find your device if you lose it (and remotely delete your information from the device if you can’t get it back).
For more information on how to stay safe and improve your online security and privacy, visit our Good to Know site, which has more information and details about Google’s tools and helpful advice on staying safe.
Posted by Diana Smetters, Software Engineer