Category Archives: Inside Search Blog

The official Google Search blog

Tru Biz: A conversation with Deaf artist Jessica Flores about sign language, stickers, and more

Gboard, Google’s on-screen keyboard, is a tool that helps people communicate exactly the way they want on a mobile device. Gboard supports over 400 languages, thousands of emoji and stickers, and an endless number of GIFs.


Part of helping people communicate is making sure Gboard is accessible for all people, and the languages they speak. One language not supported by Gboard, however, is American Sign Language. ASL isn’t a written language, so it’s not suited for a typical keyboard. However, ASL is one of the most expressive languages, and similar to other languages, has its own slang and regional variations. This makes it perfect for a visual communication format like stickers.


We collaborated with Jessica Flores, a Deaf artist, advocate and popular YouTube creator, to design a series of animated stickers for Gboard that feature ASL. We talked to Jessica about her background, her experience creating the stickers, and how she hopes people might use them.
Jessica

Ryan: How did you get started doing YouTube videos?


Jessica: I started my YouTube channel about two years ago. At the time, I was working at a coffee shop, and a lot of the customers would ask me the same questions about my hearing loss over and over again, which I totally don’t mind. But once I started noticing this, I began to wonder if there was a way I could educate a much larger audience, instead of just one person at a time.


Ryan: What feedback have you received from other Deaf or Hard of Hearing people on your work?


Jessica: I grew up being the only Deaf person I really knew, so I felt very alone and isolated. When I started my YouTube channel years later, I thought there was only going to be a few people who could relate to my content, but boy, was I wrong! I get messages and comments all the time from both Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults and kids telling me they can relate to my videos. Whenever I get these messages, it’s hands down, one of the best feelings in the world.


Ryan: How do you typically use expressions like stickers/GIFs/emoji? What do you like/dislike about this experience?


Jessica: I use stickers, emojis, and GIFs really often. Some might tell you, too often or, more-than-one-normally-should often. (Insert wide eye, straight big smile emoji here)


Personally, a text message just doesn’t allow me to fully express what I am trying to say, or how I am feeling. I probably feel this way because I am a very animated person. Whenever I sign or talk, I feel like I always need to use all of my facial expressions and body language to express what I am trying to say. Even if it is just something simple like, “Hey can you pass the salt?” it ends up being very animated.


Ryan: What was your vision for these stickers? How did the end product compare to your vision?


Jessica: At the beginning of the project, I had no idea what direction these stickers were going to go in. I thought for sure the stickers would feature one character signing all the words.


But after looking at all of our sketches, I realized I wanted a sticker set that would help spread Deaf awareness and expose American Sign Language to more people, even just a little bit. I knew that if we designed a character for the stickers who signed, only those who knew ASL would know what the signs meant, and those who didn’t know ASL might end up ignoring the set completely.


We settled on the perfect solution: making the words become the characters. Now, if you know ASL, you will understand the whole set, as well as the slang. And if you don’t know ASL you will still be able to follow along with most of the signs their meanings.

asl stickers

Ryan: Were there any challenges you encountered as an artist creating the stickers?


Jessica: A lot of people don’t realize that, in sign language, a simple change in facial expression or body language can change a sign’s meaning completely. Just like how a tone of someone’s voice will allow you to figure out if they are mad at you, or if they’re asking you a question.


So when I had a word like “No”, I had to think about what kind of “No” I wanted to sign. Did I want it to be a sad “no”, a happy “no”, a sarcastic “no”? Then, if I picked sad, I had to ask myself, “How sad is it? Is it so sad it’s crying or is it just bummed out sad?” There are so many ways to sign and say “no” that it was hard to pick just one.


Ryan: How do you hope people will use them?


Jessica: I hope it will inspire people to start learning basic ASL or the other many different types of sign language: Mexican Sign Language, British Sign Language, Filipino Sign Language, etc.


My other hope is that the set will encourage people to start learning about Deaf/Hard of Hearing history, community, and culture. People still have a lot to learn about Deaf people. And the faster we can all learn about each other, the faster we can work towards making the world more accessible for one another.


Source: Search


Fortnite fever and verified Vermonsters: Frightgeist Halloween trends for 2018

We’re a little bit more than a fortnight away from Halloween 2018, so it’s time to head to Search for costume inspiration. This year’s Frightgeist—brought to you by Google Trends—shows what’s brewing in the costume cauldron near you and in other hot spots across the country.

Frightgeist homepage

The top searched costumes for 2018 are a not-so-macabre mix of Halloween classics (where my witches at?) and contemporary looks the kiddos will go crazy for. Here’s your top ten, just a click away from Google Images ideas to bring each of these to life (or back from the dead):

  1. Fortnite

  2. Spider-Man

  3. Unicorn

  4. Dinosaur

  5. Witch

  6. Harley Quinn

  7. Superhero

  8. Pirate

  9. Rabbit

  10. Princess

Fortnite costume ranking

As you can see, Fortnite fever has swept the country-- so much that it’s a top search costume in a whopping 43 states. Here are seven states that stand apart and the costumes that are capturing people’s attention--look forward to some Utahcorns and Vermonsters in your neighborhood this year:

  • Alaska: Mermaid

  • Arkansas: Dinosaur

  • Idaho: Unicorn

  • Oregon: Dinosaur

  • South Dakota: Spiderman

  • Utah: Unicorn

  • Vermont: Monster

This year’s top spot is occupied by a new-to-Frightgeist costume trend. Here are other additions to the top 100 for 2018, in order of popularity:

14. The Incredibles

23. Black Panther (Wakanda forever!)

44. Nun

59. Vampirina

70. 1970s (what a coincidence!)

Not all costumes have the staying power of pirates and princesses. Here are a few of the looks that fell from the top 100 for this year’s list:

  1. Princess Leia

  2. Daenarys Targaryen

  3. Darth Vader

  4. Minions

  5. Emoji

If this sampling of scary isn’t what you had in mind to land your perfect Halloween look, head to the Costume Wizard fright now and amp up the spookiness or uniqueness to find the ghoulish get-up you desire.


Have a gourd time this Halloween!

Source: Search


Promoting inclusive storytelling with the Google Podcasts creator program

Podcasting has quickly become one of the best ways to share and listen to stories, but its future depends on a diverse array of stories, voices and creators. With the launch of the Google Podcasts app in June, we’re working to make it easier for people around the world to find and access podcasts. While there are more podcasts than ever before, there continues to be an imbalance in who is creating them. Women and people of color are still underrepresented as hosts, and many of the world’s most popular podcasts hail from western, urban areas. In June we announced the Google Podcasts creator program, which aims to support these underrepresented voices in podcasting, and make it easier for people to learn how to get into this growing medium.


Beginning today, through November 18th, the application window is official open globally for the first round of the Google Podcasts creator program, which will kick off in January 2019. We’re partnering with one of the best in the podcasting industry, PRX, who will lead and manage the program. PRX has demonstrated a long-time commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the space. As a pioneer of the podcasting space, PRX will lend this valuable expertise to the podcasters in the program..


The Google Podcasts creator program is focused on three main pillars: empowering and training underrepresented voices through an accelerator program, educating a global community with free tools, and showcasing participants’ work as a model for others. PRX, alongside a global advisory committee, will select teams to receive mentorship, seed funding, and an intensive 20-week training. Applications will be accepted from around the globe. You can learn more and apply to the program on PRX’s Google Podcasts creator program website.


For podcast enthusiasts that want to learn more about what it takes to create a podcast, but are not yet ready to apply to the program, PRX will draw on learnings from the program to develop a series of broadly accessible podcasting 101 videos in multiple languages, as well.


Podcasts are a way to bring additional voices, perspectives and experiences into your day-to-day life. The Google Podcasts creator program is designed to help support these voices, so that everyone can find a story that resonates with them.

Source: Search


Image rights metadata in Google Images

As part of a collaboration between Google, photo industry consortium CEPIC, and IPTC, the global technical standards body for the news media, you can now access rights-related image metadata in Google Images.

It’s traditionally been difficult to know the creator of images on the web, as well as who might own the rights. This information is often part of image metadata, and is key to protecting image copyright and licensing information.

Starting today, we’ve added Creator and Credit metadata whenever present to images on Google Images. To see this information on Google Images, you can click on the “Image Credits” link to view the metadata fields. Over the coming weeks, we will also add Copyright Notice metadata.

IPTC

Also in partnership with CEPIC and IPTC, we hope to create better usage guidance for photographers, photo agencies and publishers to include copyright and attribution information in image metadata. For more on how to best implement IPTC metadata, refer to the IPTC Guidelines.

Andrew Fingerman, CEO of PhotoShelter, a provider of digital asset management tools for photographers and brands, describes why this is a big step for Google Images: “Employing IPTC metadata standards in Google Images results will help ensure proper attribution of credit and support photographers’ copyright, while also boosting the discoverability of content and creators. This is a win for the professional photo community.”

If you have questions, feedback or suggestions, please let us know through the Webmaster Tools Help Forum.

Source: Search


Throwbacks and thank yous on our 20th birthday

On Google’s 20th birthday, Thursday is not just for throwbacks. It’s also for thank yous.

Google wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for you: a curious crowd that comes to Search with all of life’s questions. Today’s birthday Doodle is dedicated to you, and the 20 years of searches that represent the inquisitiveness of people everywhere.

In today’s Doodle and hidden in Search for a limited time, you’ll be thrown back to (and flashed forward from) the days when “what is Y2K?” was your most burning tech question, Pluto was still a planet, and clip art was a critical part of visual communication.

Google Doodle Searches

The days when the music format du jour was the MP3 file and it was cutting-edge to watch a DVD. When you had to choose a screen name before hopping into a chat room.

All the kids had to have a digital pet, and girls were rocking the latest butterfly clip styles in their hair. Everyone was keepin' it real and gettin' jiggy wit it on the dance floor. And googol was just a really big number.

You can also peer back into the last two decades through the lens of trends by visiting 20years.withgoogle.com and seeing many of the people, pop culture and pizza (yes, pizza) that inspired your searches from 1998 to now.

We hope this jaunt down memory lane reminds you of your own magical moments when you found just what you were looking for with Google. For the next 20 years and beyond: Search on.

Source: Search


Searching for Tuva: Before the internet and now

“So you think you know every country in the world?” my late friend and drumming partner Richard Feynman said with a twinkle in his eye, back in 1977.“Well, then, whatever happened to Tannu Tuva?”

I replied, “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman—there is no such country!”

But there was: Feynman remembered Tuva as a purple splotch on the map just outside of Outer Mongolia. In the 1930s Tuva issued dozens of marvelous triangular- and diamond-shaped stamps that he collected as a boy. Then the country mysteriously disappeared.

His question turned into a quest—to learn everything we could about Tuva, and to get there ourselves. On the occasion of Google's 20th anniversary this month, I've been thinking about how different our search was then compared to today.

Back then our main source of information was libraries—local, university, even the Library of Congress. Much of the information was in Russian (Tuva had been absorbed into Stalin’s Soviet Union during World War II), so we recruited a linguistic wizard named Glen Cowan to help. (Today you can use Google Translate.) We scoured card catalogs, microfilm reels, cross-library listings—and books that literally needed the dust blown off—in hopes of finding a useful nugget of information. Each nugget, rare and unexpected, delivered a small delight of discovery, and kept our quest alive.

Search for “Tuva” today on Google and you’ll be showered with so many nuggets that you can’t possibly treasure them all.

Back then it took us months to find a single grainy black-and-white photograph of Tuva; search for “images Tuva” on Google today and you’ll find a hundred color photographs in a second.

Back then it took us a year to find a single hand-drawn map of Tuva’s exotically spelled capital; today, you can instantly see a detailed street map of Kyzyl based on satellite imagery, with current traffic conditions.

Because information about Tuva was so difficult to find in the pre-Internet era, our quest was full of twists—much like a Feynman diagram (go ahead, search!). One twist took us to Moscow, where Cowan and I discovered and then brought the largest archaeological and ethnographic exposition ever from the Soviet Union to the United States. It included spectacular items from Tuva, of course. We thought the Nomads exhibition would provide us the key to finally setting foot in Kyzyl; it actually was the key for a dozen Soviet academicians to visit the mysterious Disneyland. No matter: we learned the meaning of the Taoist saying, “The reward is in the journey.”

Undaunted, we spread our enthusiasm by sending out Xeroxed newsletters to our friends, encouraging them to pass them on and send back SASEs (self-addressed stamped envelopes) for future newsletters. We also set up a “Friends of Tuva hotline” (221-TUVA) to spread the latest information about the singing cowboys from Tuva riding in the 1993 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Each Tuvan cowboy could sing two notes simultaneously, something we could scarcely imagine when we read about it in books; today, YouTube has dozens of “Tuvan throatsinging” music videos, and the “Friends of Tuva” newsletters are online.

Sadly, Feynman died in 1988, just weeks before receiving the coveted formal invitation that would allow us to set foot in Tuva at last. But his memory lives on, here and in the land of his dreams. Today, you can find an article online about “Feynman Rock” in Tuva, carved to commemorate the centenary of Feynman’s birth in May this year. At a related event in Kyzyl, Cowan gave a talk in Russian about the work that won Feynman the Nobel Prize, while a simultaneous commemoration live-streamed into Kyzyl from Caltech.

panorama from feynman's rock in tuva

The view from Feynman Rock in Tuva

Today I embark on dozens of quirky diversions every week, usually ending up happily lost in the world of Wikipedia (to which I contribute a dollar a day for my habit). But these easy jaunts seem more like sugar highs than the satisfying meal that Tuva provided, so in an effort to recapture that spirit of adventure, I’ve begun to frequent my local library and read good old-fashioned books again.

Nevertheless, I'm thankful for the embarrassment of riches and fools gold that is today’s Internet. And on Google's 20th anniversary, I offer up a fervent hope: let us never stop pursuing the mysteries that surround us—wondrous mysteries that await sustained, serendipitous, and joyful investigation. Quests can still begin with an intriguing question; adventures still await the curious mind.

Find your Tuva.

Source: Search


Oh, The Things You’ll Find

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to great pages!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
and fingers on your hands.
You can search for whatever
and see where it lands.
You're on your own. With an empty white box.
Roll a dice, flip a coin, if you’re feeling lucky (or not).

You'll spin around pages. “Do a barrel roll” with care!
About anagram you’ll say: "did you mean” isn't right there...
With your head full of brains and your hands full of fingers,
You're too smart to tap any Super Mario box figures.

And if you do not find links
That you want to click on.
You'll go back to the start,
Type again and #SearchOn.

But searchers, beware!
We've hidden more things
in the wide open air ;)

In Search, things can happen,
sometimes go askew,
Atari breakouts, Zerg rushes,
Blink <html> blink blinks too.

And when you have questions,
about lonely numbers or unicorn horns.
Or the answer to life the universe
and everything … again, #SearchOn

OH!
THE THINGS YOU’LL FIND!

Because, once in a blue moon,
Bletchley Park will be scrambled
sending PAC-MAN and snakes
on a big fullscreen amble.

Hooting owls will hoot hoot,
Mooing cows will moo moo,
Google in 1998 will send you back
20 years or so too.

And if that means you need balance,
Why not play solitaire?
Take a moment to spin a dreidel
and catch your breath there. 

Reset your bubble levels,
Turn your metronome back on,
(sqrt(cos(x))*cos(500*x)
+sqrt(abs(x))-0.4)*(3-x*x)^0.1

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL FIND ANSWERS!

So…
Whether you’re Aussie or Kenyan or mostly Hungarian
Or an Indo-Peruvian-Czech vegetarian.
You're off to great pages!
Today is your day!
Your search page is waiting.
So...get on your way!

easter eggs 2

Source: Search


With the help of Google Search, one woman finds her way

Robin Máxkii always felt caught between worlds—her reservation in Wisconsin, where she lived until age 11, and the urban sprawl of Houston, where she went to high school. During her late teens and early 20s, she maintained a blog, Native Notes, where she wrote passionately about native issues. One day, she received an anonymous comment that would change her life. It stated that if she wanted to actively change the community she wrote about, she should go to college. The seed was planted—she just needed to figure out how.


Robin turned to Google Search and before she knew it, she found her place at a tribal college. There, she became a campus leader, and took internships that helped her advocate for greater access to tech for her community.


Robin’s journey is the subject of our latest episode of “Search On,” Google’s original documentary series that tells the stories of people on a quest for better answers and the magic that happens when they find them at the intersection of tech and humanity. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Google and Google Search, we couldn’t think of a story that better exemplifies the tremendous possibilities that come when people have access to information. Watch Robin’s story above, and read more at g.co/betweenworlds.

Source: Search


Helping people find Pathways to their next job through Search

Last year at I/O, we announced a newjob search experience so more people can find jobs that meet their needs. Since then, we’ve continued to improve and expand this experience. We’ve already helped connect over 100 million people in 92 countries to job listings, and we’re working to bring this feature to more countries by the end of the year.

We’ve also focused on this unique challenge in individual communities. A few weeks ago, we shared our commitment to help our nation’s military service members transition to civilian jobs with job search for veterans, a tool for service members to easily find civilian jobs that use the skills and experience they developed in their military roles.

But there’s more to be done. Forty percent of U.S. households struggle to afford ordinary expenses with their current income, while 46 percent of U.S. employers say they can't find employees with the skills they need. As industries change, a gap has formed in local communities: The skills in demand are not always the skills people have. And this gap is different in each community.  

We see an opportunity for Search to help bridge this gap by connecting job seekers with effective, nearby job training programs delivering the skills local employers need. So that’s the challenge we’re working to solve now: to help people find useful information about the skills and training they need for a job, and better connect them with local resources that can help them realize those opportunities. Here’s one story that inspired us along the way:

Introducing Pathways, an initiative to connect Americans to local training programs

We want to help create more stories like Aaron’s for people everywhere and believe these opportunities should be more discoverable online. That’s why today we’re announcing a new feature within job search called Pathways—part of our Grow with Googleinitiative to ensure economic opportunity for everyone.

Here’s our aspiration for how this will work: When someone searches for jobs on Google, we’ll show not only jobs available right now in their area, but also information about effective local training and education programs.  

We’re starting a pilot of Pathways in Virginia, where we’re partnering with leading organizations in this ecosystem including the State of Virginia, the Virginia Community College System, local employers, and many others to make these local programs more discoverable through Search.

We’re also piloting with Goodwill, the leading nonprofit job training provider in the U.S. As part of our Pathways initiative, volunteer Google engineers will work with local Goodwill organizations to ensure their education and training programs are easily found on the open web.

What we learn from these pilots will help us develop new features and ensure information about programs are readily accessible to everyone in the U.S., and more countries in the future. We want to enable communities to thrive, and make transitions like Aaron’s possible everywhere.

If your organization wants to collaborate and work together to bring this experience to life, join us.

Source: Search


Helping you along your Search journeys

We’ve spent the last 20 years optimizing Search so it works really well for getting quick information. You ask what the capital of Costa Rica is, and we’ll tell you it’s San José. But in life we often take longer journeys, and people turn to Search for help in these moments too.

Many searches are related to longer sessions that span multiple days, with people coming back to Search to find the latest updates on a topic or explore the range of content available. For example, you might be planning a trip, and searching for information about a destination over the course of a month. Or perhaps you regularly search for “easy dinner recipes” to help you plan you meals for the week.

We can do better to help in these journeys, so today we’re sharing new features that help you resume tasks where you left off, keep track of ideas and content that you found useful, and get relevant suggestions of things to explore next. All of this marks a fundamental transformation in the way Search understands interests and longer journeys to help you find information.

Retrace your steps with activity cards

Retracing your steps online can be really difficult. While we’ve always made your Search history available in your account settings, you should be able to access it when you’re searching, so it can be useful to you in the moment.

Now, a new activity card will help you pick up from where you left off in Search. When you revisit a query related to a task you've started in the past, we’ll show you a card with relevant pages you’ve already visited and previous queries you’ve done on this topic. This helps you retrace your steps when you might not remember which sites had that useful information you’d found earlier.
activity card

We’re intelligently showing this card only when it’s useful; it won’t appear for every search. And you’ll have full control over it—you can easily remove results from your history, pause seeing this card, or choose not to see it all together. This new activity card will be available in Search later this year.

Keep track of your searches with Collections

Another way to more easily navigate long search journeys is by adding useful content to Collections. Collections in Search help you keep track of content you’ve visited, such as a website or article or image, and quickly get back to it later.

Now, with an improved Collections experience, you can add your content from an activity card directly to Collections. This makes it even easier to keep track of and organize the content you want to revisit.


Collections

We’ve also added content suggestions to help you explore topics further, based on the other content you’ve saved and things you’ve searched for. We’ll start rolling out this new Collections experience later this fall.

Dynamic organization of Search results

Every search journey is different, and especially if you’re not familiar with the topic, it’s not always clear what your next search should be to help you learn more. So we’re introducing a new way of dynamically organizing search results that helps you more easily determine what information to explore next.

Rather than presenting information within a set of predetermined categories, we can intelligently show the subtopics that are most relevant to what you’re searching for and make it easy to explore information from the web, all with a single search.

So if you’re searching for Pugs, for example, you’ll now be able to see the tabs for the most common and relevant subtopics, like breed characteristics and names, right at the top. But if you search for something else, even a different kind of dog, like Yorkshire Terriers, you’ll see options grooming tips and breed history.


Dynamically organized results

The best part about this feature is that it continues to stay fresh and learns over time. As new information is published to the web, these tabs stay up to date to reflect what’s most relevant to that topic. This dynamic page organization is already live for a variety of topics, and we’ll expand to more in the future.

A new Topic Layer in the Knowledge Graph

To enable all of these updates, Search has to understand interests and how they progress over time. So we’ve taken our existing Knowledge Graph—which understands connections between people, places, things and facts about them—and added a new layer, called the Topic Layer, engineered to deeply understand a topic space and how interests can develop over time as familiarity and expertise grow.

The Topic Layer is built by analyzing all the content that exists on the web for a given topic and develops hundreds and thousands of subtopics. For these subtopics, we can identify the most relevant articles and videos—the ones that have shown themselves to be evergreen and continually useful, as well as fresh content on the topic. We then look at patterns to understand how these subtopics relate to each other, so we can more intelligently surface the type of content you might want to explore next.

All of this enables experiences that make it easier than ever to explore your interests, even if you don’t have your next search in mind. We’re excited for the potential of this technology to provide more opportunities for discovery and exploration in Search.


Source: Search