Category Archives: Inside Search Blog

The official Google Search blog

Achoo! Watch out for seasonal sniffles with pollen forecasts on Google

While most of you out there are enjoying the dog days of summer, some are bracing themselves for the fall allergy season that’s right around the corner. In fact, one in five Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Across the U.S., we see that search interest for allergies spikes each year in April and May and then again in September. To help you get ahead of your seasonal allergies symptoms, now when you search on mobile for pollen or allergy information on Google, you’ll see useful at-a-glance details on pollen levels in your area.

To make the most up-to-date and accurate information available, we’ve worked with The Weather Channel to integrate their pollen index and forecast data information directly into Google. To see more pollen and allergy details, you can tap the link within the pollen experience.

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In addition, when the pollen count in your area is particularly high, you can receive reminders in the Google app. To opt in to these notifications, just search for pollen levels, pollen forecast or a similar query on Google, then tap “turn on” when prompted.

With this pollen info, you can better understand and prepare your seasonal allergy symptoms. Stop sneezing and go out and enjoy those fall colors!

Source: Search


Chillax, it’s National Relaxation Day!

Even though the calendar says it’s only Tuesday, we say it’s time to kick back and relax. After all, National Relaxation Day comes but once a year! And if you’re like the 44% of Americans who feel more stressed than they did five years ago, you may be in need of a break. To help you unwind, we’ve put together some tips and tricks to calm down, free up your mind, and release the stress.

Starting off in Google Search, we have some go-to guides to help you chill out. First, try typing “breathing exercises” into Google, and you’ll see a nice guided exercise right at the top of search results. Cue exhale...and inhale! For the established (or aspiring) yogis out there, you may also want to check out some of the yoga positions that are just a tap away. And don’t worry, if you’re not up for the Chakrasana, Bālāsana still counts. Namaste.

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More of a video viewer? You’re not alone. Guided meditation videos on YouTube are on the rise, with an 84% increase in views since last year. Some popular picks include Blissful Deep Relaxation by The Honest Guys and Guided Meditation for Sleep... Floating Amongst the Stars by Jason Stephenson. Oooohhhmmmmm.

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If you want to pamper yourself on National Relaxation Day, head over to Google Maps. You can now book appointments at spas and salons across the U.S. To get started, do a quick look for a nearby salon, barbershop or spa and look for the “book” button on the business listing. You can also visit the Reserve with Google site to browse recommendations or find serene spots you never knew existed.

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This is just a sample of the serenity that awaits. And if you’re stuck at  your computer, here’s a pro tip: take a breather with the Mindful Break Chrome extension that gives you tips and guides you through some short breathing exercises. Ready, set, chillax!  

Source: Search


It all started with a party: the story behind today’s Hip Hop Doodle

On August 11, 1973, there was a party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx—and four decades later, we’re still talking about it. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of that party, which is widely credited as the birth of the Hip Hop movement.

To learn more about the Doodle and the movement that inspired it, the Keyword team chatted with three of the Googlers behind the Doodle—Kevin Burke, Ryan Germick and Perla Campos. We also talked with two legendary hip hop pioneers who served as close partners in the project: Fab 5 Freddy, former host of “Yo! MTV Raps” and narrator of the Doodle, and Cey Adams, visual artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records, who designed the Doodle logo mage that you see on the homepage today. Here’s what they had to say.

Keyword: How did you come up with the idea for this Doodle?

Kevin: I’m a huge Hip Hop fan. Growing up outside New Orleans, it was a part of my DNA—performing Hip Hop in my high school band, adding Hip Hop to my college radio station’s rotation, and working on the set of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” music video in my first job out of college. Hip Hop has been a constant thread through my life and I wanted to bring my love of it to a Doodle. I developed the concept for interactive turntables, showed it to my manager Ryan (also a fan of Hip Hop), and he lost it. He said, “let’s make it tomorrow!”

OK, so people were into the idea. But Hip Hop is such a big topic. How did you decide what to focus on?

Perla: From the beginning, we were thinking big. I mean, Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture but a lot of people don’t know much about its origins. So, we anchored the Doodle to the birth of Hip Hop, and wanted to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement. We hope to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve, which is what Doodles are all about—shining light on times of history that maybe you didn’t know about.

Kevin: It all started with DJ Kool Herc, an 18-year old Jamaican DJ in the Bronx. He and his sister threw a party in August 1973, and when he DJ’d the party, he used two turntables to extend the instrumental break in the music where people did their craziest dance moves (that’s actually how “break” dancing got its name!). And the Hip Hop movement was born.

Ryan: With each Doodle, we try to touch a different part of the human experience. But we hadn’t yet touched on a massive part of U.S. and global culture—Hip Hop. And by bringing in elements like “Achievements,” we can also make it about the real people behind the Hip Hop movement.

Speaking of the real people … Fab and Cey, how did you feel when you first heard about this project?

Fab: It was a full circle experience for me. I first went online in 1994—I even remember doing a segment on “Yo! MTV Raps” about email. And going back to when I first got on the internet, I was looking for likeminded people who were part of the culture. And now, Hip Hop is on one of the biggest digital platforms out there, in a way that acknowledges and recognizes what this culture is, and what it continues to be. It’s pretty amazing.

Cey: Everybody on this project was so excited to be a part of it, which made me excited too. I could add an authentic point of view and represent all the people who helped start the movement, even the ones who are no longer here. The project is rooted in honoring the past.

The Doodle pays homage to many early pioneers of Hip Hop. How did you decide who to include?

Perla: We started with a big list of people and narrowed it down based on a ton of research and conversations with close partners versed in all things Hip Hop—like Lyor Cohen, current head of YouTube music and a legend in the music industry who has signed some of the greatest Hip Hop artists ever. We also wanted to make sure we represented the diversity in Hip Hop and featured the women who were a huge part of the early days but often aren’t talked about.

Kevin: Part of the Doodle is a “record crate” that has legendary samples you can listen to. You’ve probably heard these samples in a Jay-Z or Kanye West song but few people know who actually created them. Perla and I were in tears one day because we added a bunch of fresh beats from our childhood—the samples behind the Puff Daddy, Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. songs we loved growing up. We were totally going down memory lane.

How does this compare to other Doodles?

Perla: We’ve never done a Doodle like this before, both because of the technical challenges and the many voices and collaborators we wanted to include. It was both unnerving and exciting to tackle this because so many people have been touched by Hip Hop in some way—so how do you do it justice?

Ryan: There’s a lot that went into figuring out what bitrate of audio you needed to scratch records, how to sync up the beats correctly, and the complexities around animations were firsts for us. We’re always trying to one-up ourselves, to exceed the expectations of people who love our Doodles. This one represented all the things Doodles are good at: storytelling, interactivity and education.

How did you get into Hip Hop? What’s your earliest memory of Hip Hop?

Kevin: I got a lot of exposure to Hip Hop growing up in Louisiana. I was this artist kid in a suburban conservative area—I identified with the spirit, angst and celebratory energy of Hip Hop. I’m also a music trivia nerd—when I was a kid, my dad would quiz me whenever a song came on the radio. I’ve tried to work that music trivia into this Doodle at every chance.

Ryan: Hip Hop was part of the fabric of my upbringing. I grew up in suburban Indiana—in an environment dramatically different from the Bronx where Hip Hop was born—but as soon as we got cable, I started watching “Yo! MTV Raps.” One of the most exciting things about working on this Doodle was that we got to collaborate with people like Fab 5 Freddy and Prince Paul, one of my all-time favorite hip hop producers.

Cey: One of my earliest memories is when I went to the Jamaica Armory to see Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. I realized that Hip Hop belonged to us—it was music for myself and my friends, something that nobody could take away from us.

Fab: The guys who wanted to be DJs and rappers had this sense of wonder and energy about them. They were like engineers in the way they worked with their sound systems—the cables, the speakers, the amps. Those DJs were a bunch of smart cats figuring out something that was advanced and revolutionary during that time. I felt comfortable around them during a time when there was rough stuff going on in the streets.

How do you view the evolution of Hip Hop over the last 44 years? Where is it going?

Fab: The essence of Hip Hop culture at its base is like an algorithm—it can be done in any language and by any nationality out there, and when done right it grows exponentially. From the very beginnings in the 70s, this culture was generated by those who had very little, and took those bare essentials to say: “I’m here, I matter.” And that has reverberated continuously for decades. So I don’t like to think of old school vs. new school, I’m a “now school” person. Hip Hop marches on—it will always reinvent itself.

Cey, you’ve worked as an artist for decades, across a huge variety of mediums. What was it like to design something for the Google homepage?

Cey: Graffiti has always been associated with vandalism to some degree—in the early days, I had to tell people that my art was different from people who were just tagging. But we’re capital “A” artists. All we’re doing is using a spray can instead of a paintbrush. And now Google is putting this piece of art on the homepage, which will be seen by people all over the world. That’s really exciting to me.

What do you hope the audience gets from this Doodle?

Perla: My biggest aspiration for the Doodle is that people see themselves in it, that there’s something that speaks to and represents them on the Google homepage. Hip Hop originated as a way for young people to focus on something positive in the midst of the negative forces around them, so I want people to feel that same hope and positivity from this Doodle.

Ryan: I hope people can cut through some of the negative stereotypes associated with Hip Hop —it’s not without its shortcomings but it’s such an important part of our culture. The Bronx was not an easy place to grow up in the 70’s, but such a vibrant culture was born out of it.

Cey: I want people to get a Hip Hop education, and to understand that the music, the art, the dance, the fashion, it’s all part of a collective lifestyle of people who wanted to change their circumstances. And it will always be there—and will continue to spread around the world—because there’s always some young person who wants to change their circumstances.

Fab: For those who have have grown up with this, they’re gonna be amazed to see such a huge part of their lives acknowledged. I want people to see that Hip Hop affects everybody, not just youth culture. It continues to be important, relevant and alive. And it’s happening in every corner of the globe.

Kevin: I love that we’re celebrating a party—people dancing and performing, there’s something really positive about that.

Source: Search


Celebrate El Clasico on Google Search

With more than 400 million viewers worldwide, El Clasico is one of fútbol’s (or soccer here in the U.S.!) storied matches. The head-to-head challenges between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are often remembered for the glittering performances of their protagonists on the pitch—of Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Zidane. This week, Real and Barça meet again in Miami at the Hard Rock Stadium for a pre-season friendly, as the world watches. To honor the moment these two teams will meet outside Spanish borders for the first time in more than thirty years, we’ve added some special features to Google Search.

Now globally on the Google app for Android and iOS and the mobile web, when you search for “El Clasico” or “Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona” (or a similar query), you’ll see detailed information about the game, real-time content posted by the clubs, special videos created by the teams—and you’ll even get to vote for your all-time favorite goal from El Clasico past.

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This feature will be available today through the game on Sunday, so be sure to check back for updates. And of course, be sure to tune in for kick-off on Sunday!

Source: Search


Helping people in a crisis

In times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is crucial. Working alongside trained responders and volunteers on the ground, technology plays a vital role in providing information to help keep you and loved ones safe and informed. SOS alerts is a new set of features in Google Search and Maps to help you quickly understand what’s going on and decide what to do during a crisis.

How SOS Alerts Work

During a crisis, you may see an SOS Alert at the top of search results when searching for the incident or location. You’ll see maps, top stories and—when available—authoritative local information such as emergency phone numbers, websites, and translations of useful phrases. Depending on how close you are to the affected area, you may also get a notification on your mobile device that directs you to this information.

If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis. Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.

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Google Maps on mobile can also show SOS Alerts. In Maps, you’ll see a specific icon on the map and a tappable card with more information about the crisis, such as helpful phone numbers and websites. The map will also include real-time updates, like road closures and traffic and transit updates.

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As we’ve developed our crisis response products, we’ve worked closely with organizations and government agencies that are on the front lines of relief efforts, including the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration and many others. "Radio and television were once the only channels to quickly provide information in an emergency, but the internet and mobile phones have become increasingly important,” said Robert Glenn, Director at FEMA.

In addition to SOS Alerts and other crisis response features—including Google Person Finder, Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts—our philanthropic arm Google.org provides grants and volunteers for communities impacted by crises. We hope you never need to use crisis response features, but if you do, they’re designed to help keep you, and those you love, safe and informed.

Source: Search


The High Five: The Seven Kingdoms at war and Floridians band together

This week, we’re eagerly awaiting the return of “Game of Thrones,” where some alliances come together like Floridians at the beach and others break off like the Larsen C ice shelf. Here are five of this week’s top searches, with data from Google News Lab.

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My search has just begun

The Great War is here, and ahead of the “Game of Thrones” season seven premiere, fans are getting ready for the episodes to come (some context: for the weeks leading up to their final seasons, “Game of Thrones” was searched 300% more than “Breaking Bad,” and 1000% more than “Mad Men”). GoT’s most searched creatures are “dragons,” “direwolves” and “three-eyed raven,” and Jon Snow was the most searched character, followed by Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons. And of last night, the internet is fired up about another queen, Mother of Twins.

In queso you hadn’t heard…

Chipotle introduced a new cheese dip this week, making “queso” a more popular search term than other dips, like hummus and guacamole. Cheese lovers turned to Google to scoop up answers to their questions, including “Is Chipotle queso gluten free?” and “Is Chipotle queso good?” For those who prefer homemade queso, the top searched queso recipes this week were white queso, queso fundido, queso fresco and chili con queso.

Humanity at its finest

In Panama City, 80 Florida beachgoers banded together to save a drowning family in a rip current, leading people to search for “human chain Panama city beach.” Search interest in rip currents currents swells every July with related questions like, “what to do in a riptide” and “how to spot a riptide.”

Chilling news

This week a trillion ton iceberg separated from the Larsen C Ice shelf in Antarctica, forming one of the largest icebergs ever recorded. Top searched questions include, “Where will Larsen C go?” and “What will happen when Larsen C raises sea levels?” This great frozen schism caused search interest  in “climate change” to spike by 195 percent, reaching its highest point this month.

Let’s take a selfie

… said a monkey. And now a federal appeals court in California is expected to rule whether that monkey can sue over the rights to its selfie. It’s bananas! Even with all the hype about the selfie-taking monkey this week, “dog selfie” was still a more popular search term than “monkey selfie.”

Source: Search


Keep up with the Tour—or create your own—with Search and Maps

The 104th edition of cycling’s most famous Grand Tour is well underway, with nearly 200 riders from around the world racing through 3,540 kilometers of the French countryside for the coveted yellow jersey. We’ve made a few tune-ups to Google Search to help you keep up with every stage of the Tour. And if the grueling mountain climbs inspire rather than intimidate you, hit the road on your own two wheels with Google Maps biking directions as your guide.

Now globally on the Google app for Android and iOS and the mobile web, when you search for Tour de France (or a similar query) on Google, you’ll see detailed information about the race and athletes as well as see the latest news stories. Most notably, you’ll also see the current standings of the race, which show jersey holders along with stage-by-stage results. As an added bonus, you’ll also have access to real-time update posts from the Tour de France directly in the search results.

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Not everyone has the chance to make that triumphant roll down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. Lucky for us mere mortals, Google Maps makes it easy to find the best bike routes to let our inner cyclist shine—or just get from point A to point B.

To get bike directions on Google Maps, just enter your destination and tap on the bike icon. We give route suggestions based on the availability of dedicated bike trails in the area, and when possible we prioritize those routes. In case you’re not aiming to be “King of the Mountain,” we factor in variables like hills as well as size of the road, availability of bike lanes, and number of turns.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to map out your own path, the bike layer will show color-coded routes according to their suitability for biking: dark green indicates a dedicated bike-only or multi-use trail; lighter green indicates a dedicated bike lane along a road; and a dotted green line indicates roads that don’t have bike lanes but tend to be more suitable for biking. To turn on the bike layer, tap the button above the compass icon and then tap the bike icon (on iOS) or open the main menu and then tap the bike icon (on Android).

Now grab your helmet, pump up your tires, and hit those hills!

Source: Search


The High Five: an old photo and a new world record

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Search trends this week—with data from Google News Lab—made us re-think history, re-evaluate what it means to be “full” and reconsider what to eat for dessert today.

Could it be?

Eighty years after her mysterious disappearance, legendary aviator Amelia Earhart is back in the news. A recently discovered photograph suggests that she may have survived the crash in which she was thought to have died. Searches for the History Channel spiked 200 percent after the network’s documentary revealed the photograph, and the most common search queries included, “When did Amelia Earhart die?” “What happened to Amelia Earhart?” and “When did Amelia Earhart disappear?”

Frank-ly impressive

Search interest for hot dogs heats up every July, but this year it peaked after Nathan’s annual Hot Dog Eating contest. Joey Chestnut relished in his record-setting victory of 72 hot dogs and buns consumed in 10 minutes. Will competitors ever ketchup? Top search queries about this hot-dog eating feat include “How much money did Joey Chestnut win?” ($10,000) “How many calories did Joey Chestnut eat?” (approximately 11,520) and “How does Joey Chestnut eat so many hot dogs?” (We’re stumped on that one.)

Getting the (arti)facts

Turns out “tile samples” that traveled from Israel and the United Arab Emirates to Hobby Lobby-owned stores in the U.S. are not actually tile samples. They’re ancient clay cuneiform tablets that had been smuggled into the United States from Iraq, and now Hobby Lobby has agreed to forfeit the artifacts. After the incident, queries for Hobby Lobby artifacts spiked 19x higher than Hobby Lobby coupons, and people also searched for “Hobby Lobby smuggling,” “Hobby Lobby cuneiform” and “Hobby Lobby fined.”

Swinging rackets and swatting ants

People were buggin’ out at Wimbledon this week when hundreds of amorous flying ants swarmed the courts. Love was in the air for the male ants, who swarmed and followed the queen ant as she set off to create a new nest. People in the U.K. were searching the most about the flying ants, but worldwide, search interest spiked 400 percent higher than search interest in termites. People are curious about, “How to get rid of flying ants?” “How to treat flying ant bites?” and “When do flying ants mate?”

Would you like some coffee with dessert?

We’ve been dunking our Oreos in milk for years, and now Dunkin’ Donuts and Oreo have come together to create a new snack—classic chocolate Oreo cookies on the outside, with mocha-flavored creme on the inside. Sweet tooths and caffeine-fiends are searching for “Dunkin Donuts Oreo review” and “Dunkin Donuts Oreo near me,” and they may be more interested in sweet snacks than sweet drinks. Search interest in Oreo Mocha was over 300 percent higher than Mocha Frap.

Source: Search


The High Five: wave your wand and your flag

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Accio, trends! Translation for non-Harry Potter fans: we’ve summoned five of the top search trends this week, with data compiled by the Google News Lab team. 

20 years of magic

June 26th marked the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series—shall we celebrate with some butterbeers? At Hogwarts, Harry and friends got their answers from the Sorting Hat, but fans are turning to Google to learn more about the four Hogwarts houses. This week search interest in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw was at its highest in the past five months, with interest in Hufflepuff slightly above the others. Did someone say Wingardium Leviosa? Because search interest in Kings Cross Station (where Platform 9 and ¾ was filmed) reached new heights this week.

McEnroe gets served

Serena Williams was in the news this week after John McEnroe claimed that Williams is the best female tennis player, but she’d be ranked 700th on a list of men. His comment prompted people to search, “How fast does Serena Williams serve?” and “What would Serena Williams be ranked in men’s tennis?” Despite McEnroe’s contentious comments, search interest in Williams was still 258 percent higher than him this week.

Oh, say can you search?

It’s America’s 241st birthday, and the country is throwing a big party. And it’s not a party without cupcakes, cookies, jello shots, cheesecake and deviled eggs (top-searched Fourth of July recipes). During this time of year, Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, Ocean Beach, Washington D.C. and Catalina Island are the most searched destinations, and according to YouTube, the most popular Fourth of July songs are Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA, Bruce Springsteen’s Born and Toby Keith’s Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.  

Pooches with paunches

Exercise isn’t just for the two-legged among us. A study from the Banfield Pet Hospital revealed that one in three cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight due to poor diet and lack of exercise, and pet-lovers unleashed their searches, like “Banfield state of of pet health obesity by state” and “Banfield vet and obese pets.” Though all of our furry friends need to watch their figures, search interest in “dog weight” was 149 percent higher than “cat weight.”  

Literally surreal

This week a judge ordered Salvador Dali’s body to be exhumed for a paternity test, to investigate the claim of a 61-year-old woman who says that Dali is her father. After the judge’s order, search interest in Dali reached its reached its highest peak in five years, with queries like “How old was Salvador Dali when he died?” “Did Salvador Dali have children?” and “How much is Salvador Dali’s estate worth?”

Source: Search


Brush up on Gboard’s latest tips and tricks

Today Gboard for Android is getting an upgrade. In addition to our continued efforts to improve typing quality with machine intelligence, this update brings new ways to get creative and cut down text time.

In the emoji search box, you can now tap the emoji handwriting icon to draw emoji directly onto the screen. Your drawing will automatically be recognized and show results for your favorite emoji.😎

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To help you up your texts per minute, Gboard now includes phrase suggestions to predict what you plan to type next. For example, try typing “looking forward” and Gboard suggests “to seeing” or “to it” as you type. This is supported in English today and will be rolling out to more languages soon.

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When you’re searching in the keyboard, we’ll now offer multiple results for you to browse through, making it easier to search and share in any app. In addition, on a card, you can click through to go to Maps, call a business, or watch a YouTube video. Just press the G or arrow->magnifying glass in the suggestion strip to start searching.

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Finally, Gboard now supports more than 200 language varieties, and we’re also adding suggestions and gesture typing for Azerbaijani (Iran), Dhivehi, French (Belgium), Hawaiian, Maori and Samoan, and simple keyboards so you can type and text in Dzongkha, Ewe, Navajo, Tsonga, and K'iche'.

To test drive these updates to Gboard for Android, head to the Google Play Store and make sure you’re running the latest version of the app (version 6.3).

Source: Search