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Imagining new ways to learn Morse code’s dots and dashes

We first met Emmett at Adaptive Design Association, an organization near Google’s NYC office that builds custom adaptations for children with disabilities. Communicating for him is difficult—he uses a clear plastic word board and looks at specific squares to try and get across what he wants to say. We thought we might be able to help.

At the time, we were working on a special Morse Code layout for Gboard. With its simple dot and dash encoding, Morse is a good fit for assistive tech like switch access and sip-and-puff devices. Emmett was hoping to learn Morse as a more robust form of communication, and we wanted to make a small game to help him learn the new alphabet.

Our first attempt was a small connect-the-dots spelling toy that drew Emmett's favorite cartoon character and only took a few days to build. After watching Emmett get set up with his switches and start excitedly conquering pieces of the little Morse toy, we knew we wanted to do more. We partnered with Adaptive Design on a 48 hour hackathon, where independent designers and game developers worked with Emmett and another 4 kids to prototype games that made Morse code fun to learn.

The kids played the role of creative directors, using their imagination to set the vision for their own games. Each game reflected their interests and personalities. Hannah’s passion for music led to a game where you play notes by typing them in Morse. Matthew combined his interest in soccer and spy thrillers to make a game where you shoot soccer balls at targets by typing their corresponding Morse letters. Emmett made a maze you solve writing different letters. Ben, who likes trains, made a game where YouTube videos are shown on a train once the correct letters are typed in Morse Code. And Olivia’s love for talent shows led to a game called “Alphabet’s Got Talent.”

We’re posting the code for each independent team's games on the Experiments with Google website, where you can also find open-source examples that will help you get started with your own Morse-based apps. If you’re a developer, we hope these resources will inspire you to get involved with the community and make a difference by building your own accessibility projects.

Source: Search


Friendsgiving? More like #trendsgiving

Across America, people celebrate next week’s day of thanks with their own unique traditions, and many come to Search for help to pull off Turkey Day like a pro. (In fact, you can simply search “Thanksgiving” and find video tips from expert chefs on how to master mashed potatoes or ideas to elevate a pumpkin pie!)

But there’s a cornucopia of searches you can do, and we took a look at some of the top and trending ideas that people are gobbling up to hone their side dish skills and perfect their pie game.

Pardon me, but how do you plan to prep your turkey?

There are many ways to toast a turkey, but here are the preferred cooking methods across the U.S. this year. While the Eastern Seaboard and some of the Southwest is fond of frying, smoked birds are booming in nearly half the country. Hawaii joins New England in sticking to the classic roasted turkey.

turkey across america

Top turkey cooking methods in each state

Party fowl

As people gear up for one of the year’s biggest get-togethers for family and friends, questions arise about how to make sure that their fowl doesn’t flop and, this year, how to ensure that the bird they select is safe to eat. Here are some top turkey searches trending right now:

Let’s dish on sides

For many, Thanksgiving meals are more about the sweet and salty sides and the gravy train that goes along with them. But making a dinner that satisfies the dietary needs of all of your guests can be a challenge—and many of you are coming to search for ideas to tailor your menus accordingly. Here are a few insights around these diet-specific dish trends:

  • “Keto Thanksgiving” searches are hitting an all time high in 2018, with “keto Thanksgiving sides” up 70% YoY.

  • Vegan Thanksgiving” has the highest interest among diet-specific searches, more than double the search interest of “keto Thanksgiving” and “vegetarian Thanksgiving” searches.

  • “Gluten free Thanksgiving” is also on the rise, with searches for “gluten free thanksgiving sides” (+300% YoY), desserts (+100% YoY) and stuffing (+90% YoY) all trending up since last year.

Pie, in charts

Everyone has their own festive favorite when it comes to Thanksgiving Day dessert. Here’s a slice of the top pies people are searching for:


pie chart

Many of these pie preferences can be regional, too. Here are the places where the top pies are poppin’ on Search.

thanksgiving pies

No matter how you celebrate and give thanks, you can find all the ideas you need on Search, get to your friends and family quickly and safely with help from Google Maps, and get to gobbling up that grub.

Source: Search


May we GIF you a suggestion? Emojis and more on Gboard

We communicate in pictures more than ever before. Emoji, stickers, or GIFs often get your point across better than just words. Can you imagine celebrating a birthday without the cake emoji, or *life* without the Carlton GIF? Conversations would be so much more boring—and more misunderstood—without them.


For those of us who just can’t even without the perfect GIF ( … or emoji, or sticker), never fear, Gboard is here! On Gboard, you can search for stickers, emoji and GIFs, all at once. It also has a sticker store, regularly updated with stickers for people all over the world.


But with thousands of emoji and stickers, and an endless number of GIFs, it can sometimes take awhile to find the perfect way to say “I love you,” “hooray,” or anything else you’re trying to communicate.


Starting today for all Android users, Gboard will use AI to suggest GIFs, emoji and stickers to you related to your conversation. This makes it faster and easier to share your #feelings and your glowing personality with whoever you’re chatting with. Keep your eyes peeled for the “GIF” icon to appear in the top left corner of Gboard. Tap it, and you’ll see a selection of GIFs, emoji and stickers that Gboard thinks you might want to share.

glowg_expression.gif

So if you’re typing “Awesome!” Gboard will suggest this sticker:

bull stars

Or if you type “I’m sleepy”, you’ll get this emoji:

emoji

To make sure these suggestions are private to you and take place as fast as possible, this feature is processed entirely on your device. You can read more about the benefits of on-device AI here.


This feature is initially available globally in English only. Over time, we’ll expand Gboard suggestions to more languages, and more types of content to help you do and say more right from your conversation. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with this:

rocket

Source: Search


Protecting what we love about the internet: our efforts to stop online piracy

The internet has enabled people worldwide to connect, create and distribute new works of art like never before. A key part of preserving this creative economy is ensuring creators and artists have a way to share and make money from their content—and preventing the flow of money to those who seek to pirate that content. Today, we're releasing our latest update on those efforts..

Our 2018 "How Google Fights Piracy" report explains the programs, policies, and technology we put in place to combat piracy online and ensure continued opportunities for creators around the world.

We invest significantly in the technology, tools and resources that prevent copyright infringement on our platforms. We also work with others across the industry on efforts to combat piracy. These efforts appear to be having an effect: around the world, online piracy has been decreasing, while spending on legitimate content is rising across content categories.

Here are a few of our findings from this year's Piracy report:

  • $3 billion+:The amount YouTube has paid to rights holders who have monetized use of their content in other videos through Content ID, our industry-leading rights management tool.
  • $100 million+: The amount we’ve invested in building Content ID, including staffing and computing resources.
  • $1.8 billion+:The amount YouTube paid to the music industry from October 2017 to September 2018 in advertising revenue alone
  • 3 billion+:The number of URLs that were removed from Search for infringing copyright since launching a submission tool for copyright owners and their agents.
  • 10 million+:The number of ads that were disapproved by Google in 2017 that were suspected of copyright infringement or that linked to infringing sites.

As we continue our work in the years ahead, five principles guide our substantial investments in fighting piracy:

Create more and better legitimate alternatives: Piracy often arises when it's difficult for consumers to access legitimate content. By developing products that make it easy for users to access legitimate content, like Google Play Music and YouTube, Google helps drive revenue for creative industries and give consumers choice.

Follow the money: As the vast majority of sites dedicated to online piracy are doing so to make money, one way to combat them is to cut off their supply. We prevent actors that engage in copyright infringement from using our ads and monetization systems and we enforce these policies rigorously.

Be efficient, effective, and scalable: We strive to implement anti-piracy solutions that work at scale. For example, as early as 2010, we began making substantial investments in streamlining the copyright removal process for search results. As a result, these improved procedures allow us to process copyright removal requests for search results at the rate of millions per week.

Guard against abuse: Some actors will make false copyright infringement claims in order to have content they don't want online taken down. We’re committed to detecting and rejecting bogus infringement allegations, such as removals for political or competitive reasons.

Provide transparency: We’re committed to providing transparency. In our Transparency Report, we disclose the number of requests we receive from copyright owners and governments to remove information from our services.

Today, our services are generating more revenue for creators and rights holders, connecting more people with the content they love, and doing more to fight back against online piracy than ever before. We’re proud of the progress this report represents. Through continued innovation and partnership, we’re committed to curtailing infringement by bad actors while empowering the creative communities who make many of the things we love about the internet today.

Source: Search


Making it easier to control your data, directly in Google products

We’re always working on making it easier for you to understand and control your data so you can make privacy choices that are right for you. Earlier this year, we launched a new Google Account experience that puts your privacy and security front and center, and we updated our Privacy Policy with videos and clearer language to better describe the information we collect, why we collect it, and how you can control it.


Today, we’re making it easier for you to make decisions about your data directly within the Google products you use every day, starting with Search. Without ever leaving Search, you can now review and delete your recent Search activity, get quick access to the most relevant privacy controls in your Google Account, and learn more about how Search works with your data.

Control your data, directly in the Google products

Control your data, directly in the Google products you use every day


When you use Google products, you generate data about your activity. For Search, this data includes the terms you search for, links you interact with and other information like your current location when you search.

Before today, if you were searching on Google and wanted to review or manage this data, the best way for you to do that would have been to visit your Google Account. Now, we’re bringing these controls to you – from directly within Search, you can review or delete your Search activity and quickly get back to finding what you were searching for.     

We’re also providing quick access to the privacy controls in your Google Account that are most relevant as you use Search. For example, to control the ads you see when you search, we give you access to your Ad Settings. Additionally, you can access your Activity Controls to decide what information Google saves to your account and uses to make Search and other Google services faster, smarter and more useful.

Your data in search

If you want to learn more about what data is being generated as you use Google services and how we use data to improve your experience, you can now find a short video that helps explain this information.

Google Privacy Advisor

We’re launching this improvement in Google Search on desktop and mobile web today, and in the Google app for iOS and Android in the coming weeks. Next year, we’ll expand this to Maps, followed by many other Google products. Having access to relevant and actionable privacy controls directly from the Google products you use every day is just one way that we are continuously working to build privacy that works for everyone. 

Source: Search


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