Monthly Archives: March 2018

Where’s Waldo? Find him in Google Maps

Hello, friends!

My name is Waldo. I love to travel around the globe—it’s a whole world of fun.

I’m always on the lookout for fantastic new places to explore. My last adventure started in sun-sational Mountain View, CA where I visited the terrific team at Google, including Google Maps product managers Max Greenwald and Shreena Thakore. Wow!

By the way, I’m not traveling on my own. Wherever I go, my trusty friends Wenda, Woof, Wizard Whitebeard, and even that pesky Odlaw go as well. You can come, too—all you have to do is find me!

Starting today, you can use Google Maps to join in my amazing adventures for April Fools this week. Are you prepared for a perplexing pursuit? I’ve shared my location with you on Android, iOS and desktop (rolling out now). To start the search, simply update your app or visit on desktop. Then press play when you see me waving at you from the side of your screen. You can even ask the Google Assistant on your phone, Chromebook or Home device, “Hey Google, Where’s Waldo?” to start.

Waldo Maps GIF

The fun doesn’t stop there. Once you spot me, you’ll be transported to places all around the world, where you can search for me over and over again. Incredible!

You can win wonderful and wacky badges throughout your journey by finding me and my friends. Remember, there’s Woof (but all you can see his is tail), Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, and Odlaw.

Ready to join me on my travels? If you find me, take a screenshot and share it with @GoogleMaps on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #WaldoMaps. Let the journey begin!

Source: Google LatLong

Introducing the Google Analytics Sample Dataset for BigQuery

The Google Analytics integration with Google BigQuery gives analysts the opportunity to glean new business insights by accessing session and hit level data and combining it with separate data sets. Organizations and developers can analyze unsampled analytics data in seconds through BigQuery, a web service that lets developers and businesses conduct interactive analysis of big data sets and tap into powerful data analytics.

To help you learn or teach practical experience with analyzing analytics data in BigQuery, we are pleased to announce the availability of a Google Analytics sample dataset. This is accessible directly through the BigQuery interface. The dataset includes data from the Google Merchandise Store, an Ecommerce site that sells Google branded merchandise. The typical Google Analytics data you would expect to see such as AdWords, Goals and Enhanced Ecommerce data can be queried. You can see the fields part of the export schema that you can query here.

Google Analytics Sample Dataset for BigQuery
When it comes to helping businesses ask advanced questions on unsampled Google Analytics data, we like to use BigQuery. Its fast and scalable for big data analytics. When providing trainings on the benefits of the Google Analytics and BigQuery integration, there is nothing like having a high quality dataset with sufficient volume to be meaningful. That's why we are so pleased to see the public availability of a robust Google Analytics sample dataset with marketing and ecommerce data. Everyone can experience big data analytics!
- Doug Hall, Director of Analytics, Conversion Works
You can use the sample dataset to learn how granular information can be extracted from analytics data in BigQuery. We’ve created this guide to help you create queries to find answers to the following for the Google Merchandise Store:
  • What is the average number of transactions per purchaser?
  • What is the percentage of stock sold per product?
  • What is the average bounce rate per marketing channel segmented by purchasers?
  • What are the products purchased by customers who previously purchased a particular product?
  • What is the average number of user interactions before a purchase?

Education Programs
If you’re an educator trying to teach others to use BigQuery, then we encourage you to use the sample dataset as a tool. You can use it to create task based assessments and other learning materials for your students. We’ve started to do just that by integrating it into our education courses.

The Analytics Academy provides an introduction to BigQuery in their Getting Started with Google Analytics 360 course. The Data Insights course by the Google Cloud team provides an in-depth look at BigQuery with practical exercises.

Access the Dataset
You can learn more about the dataset including how to get access in this help article. If you need some help, please let us know through the Advertiser Community. Share any feature requests or ideas to make the dataset more useful. We hope the dataset gives you a practical way to learn about the benefits of analysing Google Analytics data in BigQuery.

Happy analyzing!
Posted by Deepak Aujla, Program Manager, Google Analytics Solutions

The High Five: gathering around the table and in the stands

Whether celebrating Easter or Passover with friends and family, or cheering on your favorite team, there’s a lot to look forward to this weekend. Here’s a look at some of the top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.

Cracking open Easter trends

This weekend, families across the country will gather to celebrate Easter and the beginning of Passover. As this week’s trends show, nothing brings people together like food. Scalloped potatoes and pie top the most-searched recipes for Easter Sunday, and some people are planning for Mass on Saturday: “How long is Easter Vigil Mass?” was one of the top trending Easter-related queries. People are also getting crafty at home in preparation for egg hunts, asking: “how to boil eggs for Easter?”

As for Passover preparations, charoset and brisket were the most popular “Passover Seder recipes,” while search interest in “passover greetings in English” went up 450 percent. Chag sameach!

Taking it to the hole

The NCAA Final Four games are upon us, and Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Michigan and Indiana are the top states searching for “March Madness.” Meanwhile in Illinois, Loyola-Chicago isn’t the only breakout star of the tournament—search interest in their holy good luck charm Sister Jean rose over 1,000 percent this week. People are even wondering “what did Sister Jean give up for Lent?”

Call it a comeback

Search interest in Roseanne Barr spiked over 300 percent on Tuesday, as the 2018 reboot of the popular television series premiered on ABC. Top questions about the show included “who is Jerry on Roseanne?” and “how many people watched Roseanne?” (somewhere in the ballpark of 18 million viewers).

Snap, crackle, pop

“Why are my knuckles cracking?” was a trending question this week. And it was answered by researchers in the U.S. and France who found out it’s caused by tiny bubbles collapsing in the fluid of the joint as the pressure changes. It looks like the three M’s—Minnesota, Michigan and Maryland—are among the top regions searching for “knuckles cracking.” Attempt at your own risk.

Swing batter, batter, swing

Just in time for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, search interest in “top MLB  prospects for 2018” spiked over 400 percent this week. Top trending teams included the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees, and Scott Kingery, Salvador Pérez and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. rounded the bases as some of the top trending players.

March into the weekend with talks by inspiring women

Editor’s Note: Talks at Google is our regular speaker series that brings interesting speakers and brilliant minds from all industries and backgrounds to Google campuses. Each month, we select a few favorite talks from that month, or about a particular topic.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we’re re-discovering talks given by women about their breakthrough moments, issues that are important to them, and the strides they’ve made in their fields.

First up, the special guests who stopped by Google New York this International Women’s Day. Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Ava Duvernay, Storm Reid and Gugu Mbatha-Raw talk about their journey to bring the classic book “A Wrinkle in Time” to the big screen, and chat about why it’s important for women—in the wise words of Mrs. Which—to “find the right frequency.”

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Ava DuVernay and the cast of Disney "A Wrinkle in Time"

Nathalia Holt wrote “Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars” to tell the stories of the women, known as "human computers," who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. In her talk, she explains how they transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

Nathalia Holt: "Rise of the Rocket Girls"

Oby Ezekwesili, Ibikun Awosika and TY Bello, prominent leaders and advocates in Nigeria, sit down to talk about the glass ceiling, and more importantly, how to smash it. They share thoughts on the limitations placed on women in African societies, and offer advice on how to overcome them–from networking to challenging the status quo. In the words of Oby Ezekwesili, “your strongest weapon is about showing up.”

Oby Ezekwesili, Ibukun Awosika, TY Bello: "Smashing the Glass Ceiling" | Talks at Google

Grace Bonney wrote “In the Company of Women” to share the stories of female entrepreneurs from all industries and walks of life. Claire Mazur, Erica Cerulo and Karen Young are among the women featured in the book, and in this talk, they share their own paths to success and what aspiring entrepreneurs can learn about running creative businesses.

Grace Bonney, Claire Mazur, Erica Cerulo, Karen Young: "In the Company of Women"

Kellee Santiago, former president and co-founder of thegamecompany, shares what it’s like to be a Latina woman in the video game and VR industry and sheds light on unconscious bias and feeling like an outsider. As a bonus: recommendations on her favorite storytelling games.

Hispanic Women and the Video Game Industry

Local entrepreneurs create new opportunities in Kentucky

Editor’s Note: Grow with Google offers free tools, trainings and events to help people grow their skills, careers, and businesses. The Grow with Google tour brings workshops, one-on-one coaching, and hands-on demos to cities and towns across the United States. Through a series of Keyword posts, we’ll highlight where we’ve been, but you can find out where we’re headed next on our site.

Three years ago, when a coal mine shut down in their hometown of Pikeville, Kentucky, Lynn Parish and Rusty Justice got together to search for a new way forward. They knew that technology could create jobs and enable miners and industry workers to continue living in Pikeville. With courage, determination and ingenuity, Lynn and Rusty created Bit Source, a software development company that would teach miners how to code and then hire them to work as developers. Today, former miners at Bit Source build websites, apps and digital tools for clients across the country.

Bit Source and several other Kentucky-based organizations joined us at the Grow with Google event yesterday in Louisville, where over 700 students, small businesses, educators, budding developers and job seekers participated in workshops, one-on-one coaching, and hands-on demos. These local organizations spoke about the opportunities in tech available to Kentuckians today.

Every 90 days there are about one hundred junior software development opportunities open in the greater Louisville area. Code Louisville is a program created by KentuckianaWorks that offers free software development training to equip people with the skills needed to fill those open jobs. As part of Grow with Google’s ongoing commitment in Louisville, we’re supporting KentuckianaWorks with a $100,000 sponsorship to help the organization expand their efforts, introduce new lessons including the Applied Digital Skills curriculum, and train over 500 new learners.

GwG_Brian Luerman, Anjali Chadha and Justin Hall.jpg
Brian Luerman, Anjali Chadha and Justin Hall share their stories on the Digital Heroes Panel

We’re proud to work alongside Kentuckians like Justin Hall, President of Bit Source, Brian Luerman of KentuckianaWorks, and Anjali Chadha, who at just 15 years old founded Empowered, which teaches young women of color technical skills and pairs them with local businesses who want to expand their online presence.

The Grow with Google tour will come to more cities and towns throughout 2018. Our next two stops are in Savannah, GA on April 25 and Columbia, SC on May 2. Learn more at    

Transitioning Google URL Shortener to Firebase Dynamic Links

Posted by Michael Hermanto, Software Engineer, Firebase

We launched the Google URL Shortener back in 2009 as a way to help people more easily share links and measure traffic online. Since then, many popular URL shortening services have emerged and the ways people find content on the Internet have also changed dramatically, from primarily desktop webpages to apps, mobile devices, home assistants, and more.

To refocus our efforts, we're turning down support for over the coming weeks and replacing it with Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). FDLs are smart URLs that allow you to send existing and potential users to any location within an iOS, Android or web app. We're excited to grow and improve the product going forward. While most features of will eventually sunset, all existing links will continue to redirect to the intended destination.

For consumers

Starting April 13, 2018, anonymous users and users who have never created short links before today will not be able to create new short links via the console. If you are looking to create new short links, we recommend you use Firebase Dynamic Links or check out popular services like Bitly and as an alternative.

If you have existing short links, you can continue to use all features of console for a period of one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue the console. You can manage all your short links and their analytics through the console during this period.

After March 30, 2019, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination. Your existing short links will not be migrated to the Firebase console, however, you will be able to export your link information from the console.

For developers

Starting May 30, 2018, only projects that have accessed URL Shortener APIs before today can create short links. To create new short links, we recommend FDL APIs. FDL short links will automatically detect the user's platform and send the user to either the web or your app, as appropriate.

If you are already calling URL Shortener APIs to manage short links, you can continue to use them for a period of one year, until March 30, 2019, when we will discontinue the APIs.

As it is for consumers, all links will continue to redirect to the intended destination after March 30, 2019. However, existing short links will not be migrated to the Firebase console/API.

URL Shortener has been a great tool that we're proud to have built. As we look towards the future, we're excited about the possibilities of Firebase Dynamic Links, particularly when it comes to dynamic platform detection and links that survive the app installation process. We hope you are too!

Announcing Google Cloud Security Talks during RSA Conference 2018

In light of the many security incidents we can read about in the press, security continues to be a formidable challenge for many businesses. We believe that the move to a professionally managed secure Cloud infrastructure can help address this challenge.

Last week, Urs shared his thoughts on security, and we announced new initiatives such as Access Transparency as part of more than 20 security updates and enhancements to help enterprises protect their data and stay secure. Frequently, it’s better to learn about these topics in person and we can help with that.

Next month, many security professionals will come to San Francisco to the RSA Conference 2018, and we’ll offer our own Google Cloud Security Talks at Bespoke in Westfield San Francisco Centre, a five-minute walk from Moscone Center, where the RSA Conference will be held.

This series of 15 talks over two days will cover security across Google Cloud, the complex compliance and regulatory environment, shared responsibility, and best practices from Google’s own internal security processes. We’ll share more on our approach to security, as well as our roadmap from the beginning of this year through Next ‘18. Among others, featured presenters include Ben Hawkes, who heads up Project Zero, and Mark Risher, who leads Google’s Identity and Account Security team. You can see the full agenda below and register for the event on our website.

We’ll also have several interactive demos on hand to demonstrate how organizations can address security challenges such as ransomware attacks and data exfiltration.

RSA Conference 2018

We’re also excited that Googlers will be giving talks or participating on panels at the RSA Conference itself:

Threat Hunting Strategy: How to Catch Bears and Pandas [AIR-T10]
Heather Adkins
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 3:30 PM - 4:15 PM

Post-Quantum Cryptography [CRYP-W14]
Guillaume Endignoux
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 | 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

How to Successfully Harness Machine Learning to Combat Fraud and Abuse [MLN-R12]
Elie Bursztein
Thursday, April 19, 2018 | 1:45 PM - 2:30 PM

Security and Privacy of Machine Learning [MLN-R14]
Ian Goodfellow
Thursday, April 19, 2018 | 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Google and Microsoft Debut: Replacing Passwords with FIDO2 Authentication [IDY-F02]
Sam Srinivas
Friday, April 20, 2018 | 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Google on BeyondCorp: Empowering Employees with Security for the Cloud Era [EXP-F02]
Jennifer Lin
Friday, April 20, 2018 | 10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

If you’re planning on attending RSA Conference 2018, please stop by—we’d love to say hello. For more information, or to register, visit our website.

Source: Google Cloud

Tip off: how we’re using predictive analytics during the Final Four

When we teamed up with the NCAA last December, we were thrilled to help them use cloud technology to analyze more than 80 years’ worth of statistical game and competition data. But we also wanted to challenge ourselves to do something a little different in the process—and hopefully delight basketball fans while we were at it.

That’s how we came to embark on a months-long experiment to apply our own technologies to the NCAA’s treasure trove of data. We assembled a team of technicians, data scientists, and basketball enthusiasts (we call them The Wolfpack) who built a data processing workflow using Google Cloud Platform technologies like BigQuery and Cloud Datalab. (For the nitty gritty technical details, read this post on our Big Data blog.)

By analyzing NCAA data through our workflow, we were able to uncover all sorts of interesting facts—everything from who blocks more shots per minute (for the record: juniors) to whether teams with a certain type of animal mascot cause more March Madness upsets (hint: meow). But we wondered if there was more we could do. Could we use data analytics and machine learning to anticipate what might happen during a live game—for example, the number of three-pointers a team might attempt in the second half?

This weekend, we’ll attempt to do exactly that during the Final Four in San Antonio—and we’ll be sharing our predictions in real-time TV ads you can see during halftime. Here’s how it’ll work.

During the Final Four, our Google Cloud team (yes, The Wolfpack included) will be on site in San Antonio, closely following the games. We’ll use our workflow to analyze our observations from the first half of each game against NCAA historical data to hone in on a prediction for the second half that we think is highly probable.

As halftime starts, the real work begins. We’ll have only minutes to turn our prediction into a TV spot. Our creative team will take the prediction generated by our team of data scientists and data analysts and create the ad right there in the Alamodome, using a real-time rendering system built by Cloneless and Eleven Inc. (Fun fact: Cloneless’ rendering system is also built on Google Cloud Platform.)

Before the end of halftime, we’ll hand off our newly-created TV ad to CBS and Turner for airing on TBS right before the beginning of the second half. This is likely the first time a company has used its own real-time predictive analytics to create ads during a live televised sporting event—wish us luck!

One of the exciting things about running an experiment like this in real time is we don’t know for sure what will happen. In this way, it’ll be a little like what it takes to play a game of basketball—thinking on your feet, reacting quickly to new data, and working together as a team. Which, if you think about it, is also true for businesses.

Although this story is about March Madness, we hope it’ll be inspiring well beyond the basketball court. There’s so much to learn from applying cloud technology to data—and that’s true whether you’re an enterprise organization, a nonprofit, or even a sports team.

To learn more, you can check out our site or read our post on the Big Data blog. And if you’re curious to see what happens, tune in to the Final Four on Saturday and Monday to see our predictions as they air. We’ll report back once the tournament is over and let you know what happened—and what we learned. Game on!

How to export logs from Stackdriver Logging: new solution documentation

Stackdriver Logging is broadly integrated with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), offering rich logging information about GCP services and how you use them. The Stackdriver Logging Export functionality allows you to export your logs and use the information to suit your needs.

There are lots of reasons to export your logs: to retain them for long-term storage (months or years) to meet compliance requirements; to run data analytics against the metrics extracted from the logs; or simply to import them into another system. Stackdriver Logging can export to Cloud Storage, BigQuery and Cloud Pub/Sub.

How you set up Logging Export on GCP depends on the complexity of your GCP organization, the types of logs to export and how you want to use the logs.

We recently put together a three-part solution that explores best practices for three common logging export scenarios:
  1. Export to GCS for Compliance Requirements 
  2. Export to BigQuery for Security and Access Analytics
  3. Export to Pub/Sub for 3rd party (Splunk) integration
For each scenario, we provide examples of export requirements, detailed setup steps, best practices and tips on using the exported logs.

We’re always looking for more feedback and suggestions on how to improve Stackdriver Logging. Please keep sending us your requests and feedback.

What makes #teampixel click

The #teampixel community on Instagram recently reached 35,000 members—people who have tagged their photos with #teampixel in their travels around the world, on a quest to capture the best shot. We've been so taken with the range and diversity of Pixel photographers' work that we dug a little deeper to learn more about what makes you tick... er, click. Here's a snapshot of what we learned about #teampixel's favorite places and subjects to shoot:

1. They’re globetrotters:#teampixel has been to 196 countries.
2. With a few favorite locales to capture: The top countries for #teampixel photos are the U.S., India, the U.K., Canada and Australia.

3. #teampixel lives for the city: Cityscapes are shared twice as much as photos of nature, and most of those shots come from New York, London, San Francisco, Toronto and Los Angeles.

4. But nature calls, too:Though the tall buildings and crowded streets of the city may be a muse for some photographers, others are drawn to nature. In #teampixel nature shots, trees are most popular (10 percent of all nature posts), followed by sunlight and beach (6.8 percent), then mountains (4.7 percent).

5. They’re dog people:Dogs were posted twice as often as cats. Sorry not sorry.

6. They’re foodies—with a sweet tooth:Food is the most popular subject of #teampixel posts, and people post shots of baked goods four times as much as other foods.

We'd love to see what makes you hit that shutter button, too. Follow our feed on Instagram and don't forget to tag your photos with #teampixel. We might feature your photo here next!