Author Archives: The Official Google Blog

On the 12th day of holiday shopping, Made by Google gave to me…

On the final days of holiday shopping, Made by Google gave to me … lots of awesome gift options.

Twelve ways (at least!) to make your home smarter and safer

Holiday lights are aglow when you turn them on with Google Home (and a compatible smart plug). And to turn on the rest of the lights using just your voice, get our Smart Home Starter Kit. A Nest Hello video doorbell will help you spot holiday visitors at your front door and our Nest Cam will reveal who’s eating Santa’s cookies.


Eleven personalized My Cases

With My Case, gift-giving gets personal. Create a case from your saved photos, a favorite map location, or pick one of our curated collections from various artists. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone on #teampixel. And while we love a good ugly sweater, all images for My Cases are subject to our copyright and content policy.


Ten levels of volume on Google Home Max

Blast the holiday music with Google Home Max. If you have your hands full making cookies or decorating the tree, you can use your voice to tell it to play your next tune (you may need a subscription to hear your favorite song).


Nine decades of Mickey Mouse

To celebrate 90 years of Mickey, we teamed up with Disney and Otterbox to make your Google Home Mini look like your favorite mouse with a custom base accessory. You can also make storytime more magical with Read Along, which adds sound effects and music to stories like “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Parents can create an account for kids under 13 through Family Link, and then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home.


Eight gigs of Pixelbook RAM

This one is a bit harder to wrap, but it’s the gift that keeps on giving. With 8GB of RAM on your Pixelbook, you can do multi-task with multiple tabs open. And, Pixelbook’s battery lasts all Silent Night.


Seven colors of Nest Thermostats

Our Nest thermostats come in two versions and seven colors. So turn up the heater in style this holiday season, and get the peace of mind that you’re saving energy while celebrating.


Six uses for Pixel Stand

You can do countless things with Pixel Stand, but here are six of our favorites: it provides Pixel 3 with a fast (up to 10W) wireless charge, you can check the weather before you head out, rock out to your favorite carol, get out of bed on dark December days with Sunrise Alarm, check on packages with Nest Hello (sold separately), and display your favorite holiday memories with Google Photos.


Five years of Chromecast

It’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up inside and binge watch your favorite show (but you may need a subscription). Chromecast brings countless hours of entertainment to your TV-loving friend or family member. And isn’t that really the holiday gift that keeps on giving?

Four colors of Google Home Hub

Who needs elves when you’ve got Google Home Hub to bring you help at a glance? With the Google Assistant built-in, you can use your voice to get the best of Google—Calendar, Maps, Search, YouTube, Google Photos, and more—right on Google Home Hub’s display. Compact, and available in four colors —Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua and Sand—Hub’s right for any room at home.


Three generations of Pixel

The best things in life come in threes. This year, we introduced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with the power of Google Assistant. Pixel’s award-winning camera gives you the ability to capture your holiday magic in style. And, Pixel 3 brings the best premium smartphone experience to Android, in—you guessed it—three beautiful colors, including the new Not Pink.


Two accessories to use with Pixel Slate

Pixel Slate—our first Made by Google Chrome OS tablet—is a touchscreen experience that brings the best Google design and Chrome OS functionality together. Whether you’re typing your letter to Santa on the Pixel Slate Keyboard or writing out your holiday wish list using Pixelbook Pen, these two gifts are the perfect stocking stuffers to go along with Pixel Slate.


One place to buy it all

The Google Store is a one-stop shop for all things Made by Google. In addition to the perfect holiday gifts mentioned above, the Google Store also features products from our Made for Google partners. And perfect for the holiday season, you can send gifts on Google Store with custom gift messages printed on Google-branded greeting cards. Check out all of the amazing holiday deals at store.google.com.


New Google Marketing Platform connectors available in Data Studio

When marketers can access all of their data in one place, they are able to make smarter decisions about where and how to spend their resources. While data tends to be siloed and it can be a challenge to connect all of it in one place, your marketing investment will go further if you do.


Data Studio gives marketers access to a diverse and growing catalogue of connectors for over 500 data sources to help centralize your datasets for simple reporting and visualization in one place. And we’ve recently added two more. Earlier this fall we launched connectors for Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360. These two connectors enable access to your Google Marketing Platform advertising data in your Data Studio dashboards and reports. Explore the data independently, or join it with your other marketing data from Google Analytics, Google Sheets, Google Ads, and other first party data sources to surface powerful insights you can easily share and take action on.


Once your Google Marketing Platform data is in Data Studio, you can customize your reports based on your needs. For example, you can add custom branding or repurpose visualizations like charts or graphs that your team already uses elsewhere to make it your own. And, Data Studio reports are easily shareable outside of the interface. With Display & Video 360 and Search Ads 360 data now accessible in Data Studio, you can share dynamic Google Marketing Platform advertising reports with anyone, using Google Drive sharing permissions you have complete control of.


Let’s say you want to build a report to compare how your advertising is performing across Display & Video 360, Search Ads 360 and Google Ads. You can use the out-of-the-box, new Google advertising performance template to view top-line metrics with your own data, or create a custom report, using connectors to import your data.  From there, you can use the Explorer functionality to experiment with visualizations and organize the data to your liking. You can also blend the data together and do analysis across all three (or more) datasets. Add your Google Analytics data for example, and see aggregate trends in customer behavior on your site alongside your advertising campaign performance. Then share with your media team or agency and take action to optimize your campaigns based on the insights you find.

With Data Studio’s rich visualization and reporting features, marketers can elevate insights from their ad campaigns and breakdown silos among many disparate datasets. By bringing Google Marketing Platform advertising data into Data Studio, you can now see a fuller picture across your customer touchpoints and make more informed, faster marketing decisions.

Six ways to take Playground home for the holidays with Pixel

In October, we launched Playground on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, giving you the power to create and play with the world around you through your camera. Playground helps you bring more of your imagination to your photos and videos with interactive Playmoji—characters that react to each other and to you—and tell a richer story by adding animated stickers and creative captions. Starting today, Playground is available on Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, so now all of #teampixel can join in on the fun.

Just in time for the holidays, we’re also introducing festive new Playmoji and stickers soon that can help bring your photos and videos to life. Whether you’re celebrating at home or hitting the road, here are six ways you can take Playground home for the holidays with the Pixel camera.

1. Share your journey.Whether your holiday travels take you away on a plane, train or automobile, getting there is all the fun with the speedy new Travel Playmoji pack. Document your adventures from the window seat, or spice up snaps from your road trip.

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2. Send a virtual postcard. Wish loved ones a happy holiday from wherever you are with Playmoji, stickers and captions. Or say it all in a selfie by posing with characters who react to you. Once you’ve lined up the perfect shot, sharing with Playground is easy—just a few taps straight from the camera.

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3. Let your creativity snow. Brrr! Chillier temperatures mean a chance to use snowy Weather Playmoji and the Winter Playmoji pack during your favorite seasonal activities like ice skating and hockey.

Oy to the World

4. Put your spin on a scene. Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel! We made you out of…pixels. Hanukkah may be over, but you can use these themed stickers year-round, complete with dancing menorah candles, spinning dreidels and latkes galore.

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5. Deck the halls. Make an old tradition new again by challenging your family to a tree decorating contest with Playground. One tree, endless possibilities!

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6. Tell an imaginative story. Add some flair to holiday scenes with the jolly new “Christmas Cheer” stickers. Throw a Santa hat on your friend, stick mistletoe where it belongs or place a one-of-a-kind “gift” under the tree.

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You can spread the holiday cheer with Playground this season by sharing your creations with #teampixel. We can’t wait to see what you create!

Give back with charitable donations on Google Play

In celebration of the holiday giving season, you can make charitable donations to inspiring nonprofits from the Google Play Store. If you’re in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Taiwan and Indonesia, you’ll see this update over the next few days.

Making a donation on Google Play is quick, easy and 100% of your contributions go directly to the nonprofits you choose. On your Android device, you can head to play.google.com/donate to learn more about these incredible organizations and give to the cause—or causes—that move you.

Take a look at the participating nonprofits below:

American Red Cross: The American National Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

charity: water: charity: water is on a mission to solve the water crisis and reinvent charity for a new generation by bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries.

Doctors Without Borders USA: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provides medical relief to the victims of war, disease, and natural or man-made disasters, without regard to race, religion or political affiliation.

Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

International Rescue Committee: The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and gain control of their future. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 25 offices across the U.S.

Room to Read: Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.

Save the Children: Save the Children works to give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm. From providing emergency assistance to promoting children’s rights, they transform children’s lives and futures.

UNICEF: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories. They help save children’s lives by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.

World Food Program USA: World Food Program USA brings people together to support the lifesaving work of the United Nations World Food Programme, the global leader in the fight to end hunger.

World Wildlife Fund US: World Wildlife Fund US is part of a global network which has worked for more than 50 years to protect the future of nature. World Wildlife Fund’s mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.

We’re inspired by the many ways that the Play community shares resources, supports each other and creates positive change. We hope this update offers a way to help other communities outside of our own in need.

Year in Search: Movies, TV, music and sports we searched for in 2018

Curious which flicks, footballers and masters of falsetto have the fiercest fans? Year in Search might have a clue for you.

You can explore both the global and country-specific trend lists here, but we also wanted to dive deeper into the leagues, genres and styles that captured people’s attention in the world of sports and entertainment in 2018.

Music

Our feet were tapping and our fingers were typing as we searched for these artists, the top trending in each major musical genre this year:

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Movies

These are the big gainers from the big screen, trending the most in 2018:

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TV

Any of these shows have you glued to the tube? Here are the binge watches that shot up the charts as top trending shows in 2018.

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Sports Teams

From championship teams to blockbuster trades, these are the franchises that got people searching this year and are top trending within their leagues:

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Some changes to our service model in Europe

Today, we started notifying our users in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland about some changes we’re making to how we provide our services.  These changes will be reflected in updates to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy that you can read now, but that will come into effect on January 22, 2019.

The first change we’re making is that for users based in the EEA and Switzerland, Google Ireland Limited—based in Dublin, where Google has its European headquarters—will become the “service provider” responsible for most of our consumer services, from Search to Gmail to Maps and beyond. These changes will be reflected in our general Terms of Service, where the “service provider” that offers these services is currently Google LLC, based in the U.S. We are also making similar changes in the separate terms for Drive, Play, YouTube, and YouTube Paid Service.

We’re also making a number of updates to Google’s Privacy Policy. The most important of these is that Google Ireland Limited will become the “data controller” legally responsible for EEA and Swiss users’ information. This means that Google Ireland Limited becomes responsible for responding to requests for its user data, including from EU law enforcement, consistent with Irish law. It is also responsible for compliance with applicable privacy laws, including Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

We’re making the data controller change to facilitate engagement with EU data protection authorities via the GDPR’s “One Stop Shop” mechanism, which was created to ensure consistency of regulatory decisions for companies and EU citizens.

It’s important to note these changes do not in any way alter how our products work or how we collect or process user data within our services. Nothing changes about your current settings, and you will continue to have granular control over the data you share with us when you use our services. And of course, we remain fully committed to compliance with the GDPR across all of the services we provide in the European Union.

The Year in Search 2018

Every day, people turn to Search to explore the world of information on the web. They come looking for everything from news and helpful how-tos to song lyrics and easy dinner recipes.


As each year closes, Google Trends data reflects not only these everyday queries, but also the moments, people, ideas, and questions that made that trip around the sun so unique. During a year of highs and lows, the Year in Search highlights all the ways people continued to search for “good”—and this year, it was more than ever.
Searching for good

2018 saw a number of major elections around the world—in the U.S. the top searched “how to” question was “how to register to vote.”  In a year when we said goodbye to many cultural icons, like Anthony Bourdain and Aretha Franklin, people searched for how they, too, could influence the next generation, asking ”how to be a good role model.” And when first responders rescued a team of soccer players from a cave in Thailand, the world was inspired — searches for “scuba diving lessons near me” increased by 110% that week.


We searched for good news of championships, medal counts and royal weddings, and sought out bright spots throughout the year. We also searched for how to be a good citizen, how to be a good friend, and how to be a good dancer. (Perhaps with the help of some Fortnite GIFs.)


Celebrate all the good the world searched for in 2018, and explore the top trending lists this year at Google.com/2018.

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Unwrap the season’s trending holiday gifts

As the year wraps up, holiday shoppers are getting busy wrapping, too. And they’re looking for a wide range of gifts, according to data from Shopping Insights over the last few weeks. Here are just some of the trends we’ve seen nationwide for toy tinkerers, bookworms, makeup pros, sneakerheads and home decorators.

Tech toys cast a spell

While holiday favorites like dolls and LEGO kits remain popular, tech toys are drawing lots of attention—from the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch DX to the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit, which teaches kids to code using a programmable magic wand. Among other trending products, we see three L.O.L. Surprise! toy sets: Pearl Surprise, Bigger Surprise and Pets Series 3—all very popular in YouTube unboxing videos.


trending toys

Books to read on holiday vacation

The winter months are perfect for curling up on the couch with a mug of cocoa and a good read.  This year, the most popular book for adults is former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming,” and the book they’ll most likely be reading to their kids is The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, the illustrated storybook that comes with the Elf itself.

Worth watching

Newcomer analog watch brand MVMT steals the show this year. Vans Old Skool sneakers, Nike’s classic Windrunner jacket for men, and Canada Goose’s Solaris parka for women also stand out as winter favorites. The Ray-Ban Erika Classic has a sunny outlook—but the retro, round Ray-Ban Ja-Jo style is quickly catching up.

A fresh look

The eyeshadow palette is a makeup bag staple and a favorite stocking stuffer. Urban Decay’s “Naked 12-Color” palette and Huda Beauty’s “The New Nude” palette are among the most searched. Meanwhile, Urban Decay’s new “Naked Petite Heat” palette is on the rise, adding warm hues to the trend.

Setting the bar

Wireless soundbars get lots of attention in December, perhaps because a cozy movie night has special appeal during the cold winter months. The Sonos PLAYBAR is hugely popular among audio aficionados, while the Vizio SB3621N-E8 is piquing interest. We also see a growing demand for waterproof, shower-ready Bluetooth speakers, with Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM making a big splash. As for headphones and headsets, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Jabra Elite 65t are in demand, with Under Armour’s Project Rock Sport On-Ear Headphones growing very fast.

Caffeine fiends

If holiday shopping gives you the urge to have a strong cup of coffee, you’re not alone: coffee makers are hot this winter, especially in black. The Keurig K-Select B Single Serve and the Cuisinart Coffee Center are favorites, but the contemporary Ninja Coffee Bar CF091 is also on the rise.

trending gifts

For more insights behind this season’s trends, and to see how a product is trending in your region, check out the Shopping Insights tool. 

That's a wrap!

ICYMI in November: here’s what happened in G Suite

Sorry we missed you these past two months. Next Tokyo and London were at the top of our to-dos. Check out the keynotes to catch the highlights.

In case you’re curious, we improved the G Suite Developer hub this past month to make it easier for developers to track projects from one place. We also launched a way for you to integrate content from third-party apps directly into your email drafts. With Compose Actions in Gmail, you can do things like add attachments from other apps into emails.

Subhead 1 ICYMI G Suite

Now you can make a Google Doc even faster. Type in “doc.new,” “docs.new” or “document.new” into your web browser and a new Google Doc will appear. Less clicks!

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Subhead 2 ICYMI G Suite

→With one click, you can get others to join your meeting as you’re hosting it. Click “add people” at the top of your participant list in Hangouts Meet—up to 100 people can join now. Bring your friends!

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→ Admins can make even stricter password requirements for users. Check it out.

→ Formatting presentations takes time, but we’re making it even easier in Slides. Now, you can double-click the tool icon to enter “persistent” mode to make changes all at once.

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→ You might’ve noticed a new icon at the top of your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides or Drawings. Use the squiggly-line icon to access the activity dashboard—a great place to see stats or adjust privacy settings in documents.

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Check out the full recap of product updates in November. See you next month.

Expediting changes to Google+

In October, weannounced that we’d be sunsetting the consumer version of Google+ and its APIs because of the significant challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations, as well as the platform’s low usage.

We’ve recently determined that some users were impacted by a software update introduced in November that contained a bug affecting a Google+ API. We discovered this bug as part of our standard and ongoing testing procedures and fixed it within a week of it being introduced. No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the app developers that inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

With the discovery of this new bug, we have decided to expedite the shut-down of all Google+ APIs; this will occur within the next 90 days. In addition, we have also decided to accelerate the sunsetting of consumer Google+ from August 2019 to April 2019. While we recognize there are implications for developers, we want to ensure the protection of our users.

Details about the bug and our investigation

Our testing revealed that a Google+ API was not operating as intended. We fixed the bug promptly and began an investigation into the issue.

Our investigation into the impact of the bug is ongoing, but here is what we have learned so far:

  • We have confirmed that the bug impacted approximately 52.5 million users in connection with a Google+ API.
  • With respect to this API, apps that requested permission to view profile information that a user had added to their Google+ profile—like their name, email address, occupation, age (full list here)—were granted permission to view profile information about that user even when set to not-public.
  • In addition, apps with access to a user's Google+ profile data also had access to the profile data that had been shared with the consenting user by another Google+ user but that was not shared publicly.
  • The bug did not give developers access to information such as financial data, national identification numbers, passwords, or similar data typically used for fraud or identity theft.
  • No third party compromised our systems, and we have no evidence that the developers who inadvertently had this access for six days were aware of it or misused it in any way.

We have begun the process of notifying consumer users and enterprise customers that were impacted by this bug. Our investigation is ongoing as to any potential impact to other Google+ APIs.

Next steps for Consumer Google+

We will sunset all Google+ APIs in the next 90 days.  Developers can expect to hear more from us on this topic in the coming days, and can stay informed by continuing to check the Google+ developer page.

We have also decided to accelerate sunsetting consumer Google+, bringing it forward from August 2019 to April 2019.  We want to give users ample opportunity to transition off of consumer Google+, and over the coming months, we will continue to provide users with additional information, including ways they can safely and securely download and migrate their data.

A note for our enterprise customers

We are in the process of notifying any enterprise customers that were impacted by this bug. A list of impacted users in those domains is being sent to system administrators, and we will reach out again if any additional impacted users or issues are discovered.

G Suite administrators are always in control of their users’ apps. This ensures that G Suite users can give access only to apps that have been vetted and are trusted by their organization. In addition, we want to reiterate that we will continue to invest in Google+ for enterprise. More details were announced in October.

We understand that our ability to build reliable products that protect your data drives user trust. We have always taken this seriously, and we continue to invest in our privacy programs to refine internal privacy review processes, create powerful data controls, and engage with users, researchers, and policymakers to get their feedback and improve our programs. We will never stop our work to build privacy protections that work for everyone.