Author Archives: Ben Gomes

Our commitment to learning and 50+ new education features

Learning is at the heart of what Google does. Every day more than a billion people come to Google to find answers or discover something new. Our Learning & Education team works to fuel that curiosity and help people build knowledge by connecting them to great learning experiences through our products — whether it's Search or YouTube, Google Classroom or Chromebooks.

After spending more than 20 years building Search, I recently started leading this team and working alongside Avni Shah, a 17-year Google veteran who leads Google for Education.  Google for Education is all about bringing the best of Google to education — a goal we’ve been focused on for over 15 years. During the pandemic, people turned to technology more than ever to help them learn and teach from anywhere. While this hasn’t changed our mission, it’s accelerated our desire to do even more with our technology to help. 

Over the past year, the education community has inspired us with their creativity and resilience, while always remaining focused on their students. Today, we’d like to share our commitments to this community and a glimpse into some of the 50+ new features across our education products that we hope will support even more learning. To get the full scoop on these announcements, tune in to Learning with Google, our global event streaming in 15 languages where you’ll hear a lot more directly from our team. 

First, we want to enable every leader to bring innovation to their schools and universities, and give them the peace of mind that they’re investing in products that are secure and flexible to their needs. 

  • The next era of G Suite for Education, Google Workspace for Education, offers leaders more choice and control. 

  • New tools are coming to Classroom, including advanced analytics to help admins better understand usage and roster sync to save them time setting up classes. 

  • New features coming to Meet give educators more visibility and control, including the ability to set policies for who can join their school’s video calls.

  • In Chrome OS, we’re debuting more than 40 new Chromebook models built for education, with information on how to choose the right ones for each schools’ unique needs, and over 500 Admin Console policies that will help manage and optimize Chromebook fleets. 

  • For schools looking to understand student needs and scale support across digital and in-person learning, Google Cloud Student Success Services provides a range of options. 

Secondly, we’re committed to building technology that empowers every educator. With simple, assistive tools, teachers can focus on what they do best: helping students reach their full potential. 

  • Classroom add-ons, which are coming later this year, let teachers integrate their favorite third-party tools and content directly into the Classroom interface. They’ll also have easier access to engagement tracking to better understand how students interact with class and see who is falling behind. 

  • We’re giving teachers more control over their virtual classrooms with new Google Meet features, including the ability to end meetings for everyone and the option to quickly mute everyone all at once.  

  • We’re building a screen recording tool right into Chrome OS so teachers and students can capture instruction in real-time in the classroom and at-home. 

We also strive to equip every student with the tools and skills they need to be successful. This means focusing on inclusivity and accessibility, so we can meet students wherever they are. 

  • Later this year, we’ll add features for uploading pictures of paper assignments as well as making the Classroom Android app work offline so students can download their assignments and complete them without relying on a steady connection.

  • Emoji reactions in Meet are coming this year, giving students lightweight, non-disruptive ways to engage. Meet will also work better if you have low bandwidth, so students with weaker internet connections can stay on track. 

  • Plus new accessibility features, like color cursors on Chromebooks and Switch access, let students learn with tools that suit their needs. 

And finally, we commit to evolve every daythrough listening to and learning from the experts: the people that use our products. Yesterday’s magic quickly becomes today’s expectation. So as technology advances and improves, we’ll make sure it’s reflected in the tools we build for education.

Despite unforeseen obstacles and unknowns, teaching and learning continued over the past year. That’s all thanks to the heroic efforts of the education community — from teachers and education leaders to students and their families. We look forward to working together to reimagine learning and push the boundaries of what is possible, so that everyone has access to the quality learning experiences they deserve. 

More from this Collection

Learning with Google

Learning is at the heart of what Google does, and for more than 15 years we’ve been working to bring the best of Google to education.

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Our latest quality improvements for Search

Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on Search in 1999, and it’s still true today. Back then, the Internet was expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page. The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In addition to trying to organize information, our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to “game” our systems in order to appear higher in search results—using low-quality “content farms,” hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from gaming the system.

Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.

With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.

Search ranking

Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.

  • New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Developing changes to Search involves a process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search results—give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don’t determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time.
  • Ranking changes: We combine hundreds of signals to determine which results we show for a given query—from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.

Direct feedback tools

When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features like Autocomplete, which helps predict the searches you might be typing to quickly get to the info you need, and Featured Snippets, which shows a highlight of the information relevant to what you’re looking for at the top of your search results. The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what’s available on the web. This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms.
ac
New feedback link for Autocomplete
fs
Updated feedback link for Featured Snippets

Greater transparency about our products

Over the last few months, we’ve been asked tough questions about why shocking or offensive predictions were appearing in Autocomplete. Based on this, we evaluated where we can improve our content policies and updated them appropriately. Now we’re publishing this policy to the Help Center so anyone can learn more about Autocomplete and our approach to removals.  

For those looking to delve a little deeper, we recently updated our How Search Works site to provide more information to users and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our user testing process.  

There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new—which means there’s always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search results will never be perfect, we’re as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone.

Source: Search


Our latest quality improvements for Search

Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on Search in 1999, and it’s still true today. Back then, the Internet was expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page. The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In addition to trying to organize information, our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to “game” our systems in order to appear higher in search results—using low-quality “content farms,” hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from gaming the system.

Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.

With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.

Search ranking

Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.

  • New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Developing changes to Search involves a process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search results—give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don’t determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time.
  • Ranking changes: We combine hundreds of signals to determine which results we show for a given query—from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.

Direct feedback tools

When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features like Autocomplete, which helps predict the searches you might be typing to quickly get to the info you need, and Featured Snippets, which shows a highlight of the information relevant to what you’re looking for at the top of your search results. The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what’s available on the web. This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms.
ac
New feedback link for Autocomplete
fs
Updated feedback link for Featured Snippets

Greater transparency about our products

Over the last few months, we’ve been asked tough questions about why shocking or offensive predictions were appearing in Autocomplete. Based on this, we evaluated where we can improve our content policies and updated them appropriately. Now we’re publishing this policy to the Help Center so anyone can learn more about Autocomplete and our approach to removals.  

For those looking to delve a little deeper, we recently updated our How Search Works site to provide more information to users and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our user testing process.  

There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new—which means there’s always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search results will never be perfect, we’re as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone.

Our latest quality improvements for Search

Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on Search in 1999, and it’s still true today. Back then, the Internet was expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page. The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In addition to trying to organize information, our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to “game” our systems in order to appear higher in search results—using low-quality “content farms,” hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from gaming the system.

Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.

With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.

Search ranking

Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.

  • New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Developing changes to Search involves a process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search results—give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don’t determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time.
  • Ranking changes: We combine hundreds of signals to determine which results we show for a given query—from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.

Direct feedback tools

When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features like Autocomplete, which helps predict the searches you might be typing to quickly get to the info you need, and Featured Snippets, which shows a highlight of the information relevant to what you’re looking for at the top of your search results. The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what’s available on the web. This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms.
ac
New feedback link for Autocomplete
fs
Updated feedback link for Featured Snippets

Greater transparency about our products

Over the last few months, we’ve been asked tough questions about why shocking or offensive predictions were appearing in Autocomplete. Based on this, we evaluated where we can improve our content policies and updated them appropriately. Now we’re publishing this policy to the Help Center so anyone can learn more about Autocomplete and our approach to removals.  

For those looking to delve a little deeper, we recently updated our How Search Works site to provide more information to users and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our user testing process.  

There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new—which means there’s always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search results will never be perfect, we’re as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone.

The Year in Search: 2016

It’s that time of year — when we look back at the last 12 months and reflect on the trends that defined the year in Google Search. From Powerball numbers to Olympic champions, whether making dessert or becoming a mannequin, this year affected us all in different ways. Through all the highs and lows, people came to Search to learn more and understand.

Year in Search 2016

So to celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a peek at some of the trending U.S. topics that caught our attention as especially unique to this year.

  1. Powerball: It may seem like a distant memory now, but back in January a record-breaking jackpot made Powerball a hot topic. Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016.

  2. Politicians and athletes: In a year with the Olympics and U.S. Election, it’s not surprising that nine of our 10 top trending people of the year fell into one of these two categories — from Donald Trump to Michael Phelps and Hillary Clinton to Simone Biles. The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.

  3. Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go took our lists — and the world — by storm this year. The addictive game appeared four times in our list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go?” at the top. Clearly searchers were eager to learn how to catch ‘em all!

  4. Quinoa and Budweiser: From Big Macs to quinoa, Budweiser to Maui Brewing, Brussels sprouts to Buttercream Frosting, it’s clear from our trending calorie, recipe and beer lists that we’re a country of many tastes. One of the new trending recipes this year? Snow cream, a dessert that’s the perfect winter treat with some fresh snow, sugar, milk and vanilla.

  5. Slime and... mannequins: “How to make slime” isn’t a phrase we hear often — until now. Maybe it was the new “Ghostbusters” movie, but while voting and Pokémon dominated much of this year’s “How to…” list, one green, slimy question made its way up to #4. Meanwhile, on the “What is…?” list, the mannequin challenge is standing proud — and very, very still — at #7.

These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year. Dive into google.com/2016 to see lists from around the world.

Here's to finding what we're searching for in 2017.

The Year in Search: 2016

It’s that time of year — when we look back at the last 12 months and reflect on the trends that defined the year in Google Search. From Powerball numbers to Olympic champions, whether making dessert or becoming a mannequin, this year affected us all in different ways. Through all the highs and lows, people came to Search to learn more and understand.

Year in Search 2016

So to celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a peek at some of the trending U.S. topics that caught our attention as especially unique to this year.

  1. Powerball: It may seem like a distant memory now, but back in January a record-breaking jackpot made Powerball a hot topic. Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016.

  2. Politicians and athletes: In a year with the Olympics and U.S. Election, it’s not surprising that nine of our 10 top trending people of the year fell into one of these two categories — from Donald Trump to Michael Phelps and Hillary Clinton to Simone Biles. The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.

  3. Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go took our lists — and the world — by storm this year. The addictive game appeared four times in our list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go?” at the top. Clearly searchers were eager to learn how to catch ‘em all!

  4. Quinoa and Budweiser: From Big Macs to quinoa, Budweiser to Maui Brewing, Brussels sprouts to Buttercream Frosting, it’s clear from our trending calorie, recipe and beer lists that we’re a country of many tastes. One of the new trending recipes this year? Snow cream, a dessert that’s the perfect winter treat with some fresh snow, sugar, milk and vanilla.

  5. Slime and... mannequins: “How to make slime” isn’t a phrase we hear often — until now. Maybe it was the new “Ghostbusters” movie, but while voting and Pokémon dominated much of this year’s “How to…” list, one green, slimy question made its way up to #4. Meanwhile, on the “What is…?” list, the mannequin challenge is standing proud — and very, very still — at #7.

These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year. Dive into google.com/2016 to see lists from around the world.

Here's to finding what we're searching for in 2017.

The Year in Search: 2016

It’s that time of year — when we look back at the last 12 months and reflect on the trends that defined the year in Google Search. From Powerball numbers to Olympic champions, whether making dessert or becoming a mannequin, this year affected us all in different ways. Through all the highs and lows, people came to Search to learn more and understand.

Year in Search 2016

So to celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a peek at some of the trending U.S. topics that caught our attention as especially unique to this year.

  1. Powerball: It may seem like a distant memory now, but back in January a record-breaking jackpot made Powerball a hot topic. Search interest in Powerball spiked more than 166 percent, and it’s the top trending search for all of 2016.

  2. Politicians and athletes: In a year with the Olympics and U.S. Election, it’s not surprising that nine of our 10 top trending people of the year fell into one of these two categories — from Donald Trump to Michael Phelps and Hillary Clinton to Simone Biles. The one outlier? Steven Avery, the subject of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary.

  3. Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go took our lists — and the world — by storm this year. The addictive game appeared four times in our list of top 10 “How to…” questions, with “How to play Pokémon Go?” at the top. Clearly searchers were eager to learn how to catch ‘em all!

  4. Quinoa and Budweiser: From Big Macs to quinoa, Budweiser to Maui Brewing, Brussels sprouts to Buttercream Frosting, it’s clear from our trending calorie, recipe and beer lists that we’re a country of many tastes. One of the new trending recipes this year? Snow cream, a dessert that’s the perfect winter treat with some fresh snow, sugar, milk and vanilla.

  5. Slime and... mannequins: “How to make slime” isn’t a phrase we hear often — until now. Maybe it was the new “Ghostbusters” movie, but while voting and Pokémon dominated much of this year’s “How to…” list, one green, slimy question made its way up to #4. Meanwhile, on the “What is…?” list, the mannequin challenge is standing proud — and very, very still — at #7.

These are just a few of the trending terms that made up 2016. From remembering past icons like David Bowie and Prince, to searching for current ones like Beyoncé and Alexander Hamilton (a.k.a. Lin-Manuel Miranda), to looking for information on Brexit, Zika, Orlando and Brussels, Search brought us together in dozens of ways this year. Dive into google.com/2016 to see lists from around the world.

Here's to finding what we're searching for in 2017.

Source: Search