Author Archives: Elisabeth Leoni

The High Five: give a dog a clone

This week, Barbra Streisand revealed that two of her canine companions are actually clones of her beloved dog Samantha, who died last year. People took to Search to find out “How much does it cost to clone a dog?” and “How does dog cloning work?” In fact, people unleashed their curiosity for “cloned dog” 1,900 percent more than “cloned sheep,” which was the first-ever cloned mammal. (Coincidentally, the sheep was named after another music legend in the news this week, Dolly Parton.)


Here’s a peek at a few other top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.


Weight in gold:Leading up to the Oscars this weekend, a top-searched question was “How much does an Oscar weigh?” (We’ll save you the search—it’s 8.5 pounds!). Margot Robbie leads searches for Lead Actress nominees, and Timothée Chalamet is most searched among the Lead Actor nominees. And before the ceremony, go back a few decades with the top-searched Oscar movies of all time.


Not so Golden:Search interest in “California quality of life” was searched 700 percent more than “California cost of living after “U.S. News and World Report” deemed California the state with the worst quality of life.


Listen to this: When Spotify filed to go public this week, search interest in Spotify IPO went up 4,800 percent and people want to know, “Where can I buy Spotify stock?” and “How to invest in Spotify.”


Reading 9 to 5:After donating  its 100 millionth book, search interest in Dolly Parton’s nonprofit “Imagination Library” went up by 270 percent. As a singer and philanthropist, Parton wears many hats—and her most-searched song is “Coat of Many Colors.”

Source: Search


Talks at Google gets reel with award-worthy actors, actresses and filmmakers

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.


Every year, some of the world’s most celebrated actors, actresses and others in the film industry are nominated for Academy Awards, and a lucky few of the nominees have 45 seconds to give their acceptance speeches on stage. At Google, we’ve gotten to hear from them for a bit longer than that.


In honor of the big awards ceremony this weekend, we’ve pulled together a list of the Oscar-nominated/winning actors, actresses and filmmakers who have stopped by Google over the years.

First, the 2018 nominees …

Allison Williams, Daniel Kaluuya: "Get Out"

Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya from "Get Out"

Tom Hanks & Bob Odenkirk: "The Post

Tom Hanks and Bob Odenkirk from "The Post"

Harrison Ford: "Blade Runner 2049

Harrison Ford from "Blade Runner 2049"

And nominees and winners from previous years:

We’ve got a few more seconds before the “wrap it up” music starts—if you have time to watch more, check out the 2017 Talks at Google Year in Review, subscribe to Talks at Google on YouTube, follow them on Twitter or browse their website.


The High Five: cheer(s)ing for red wine and women’s hockey

When a recent study revealed that red wine can be good for oral hygiene, the searches for “red wine health benefits” poured in (it was searched 400 percent more than “white wine health benefits”). And while we’re at it, is red wine good for other things? Two of the top health-related searches for red wine were “How many carbs in red wine?” and “Which red wine makes you lose weight?” Other than red wine, the most searches for “Is [insert food] healthy?” were sparkling water, trail mix and cottage cheese.


Here’s a peek at a few other top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.


Olympics-mania: The U.S. Hockey team won the gold this week and people went puck-wild for Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (search interest in Jocelyne increased more than 7,000 percent) after she scored the winning goal. Women’s Super Combined, Ice Dancing, Women’s Downhill Skiing and Women’s Figure Skating were the top searched Olympic events this week.


At the box office: “Black Panther” has been a roaring success, and people are so engrossed in its fictional world that a top-searched question was “Is Wakanda real?” Michael B. Jordan has been searched the most of all the Black Panther cast members, while Nakia is the top-searched character.


Tote-ally fashion:A $590 grocery bag-style tote from the French brand Céline was a top-searched trend that emerged from Fashion Week. Anna Wintour, who sat with Queen Elizabeth at Fashion Week, was also top of mind—search interest in the fashion icon went up 500 percent.


Missed a beat: After Fergie’s sultry rendition of the national anthem at the NBA All Star Game, search interest in the singer-songwriter increased 1300 percent. Though Fergie was in the spotlight this week, Lady Gaga is the top-searched “Star Spangled Banner” singer in recent years (she sang at Super Bowl 50).

The High Five: roses are red, violets are blue, five top searches for you

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Here are this week's top searches for you:
The Dow is down, but a rocket went up to the skies
We're staring deeply into our valentines' eyes
While the world’s best athletes go for the gold
We met the new Gerber baby, just one year old.
Now on to the trends, before my rhyme becomes drab—
All the data we use comes from Google News Lab.

Valentine’s Day

Between flowers, a big teddy bear, a beef jerky bouquet, Valentine’s Jordans and chocolate-covered strawberries, there’s something for everyone on the list of top-searched Valentine’s Day gifts.

New spokesbaby

One-year-old Lucas Warren became a celebrity this week when it was announced that he’s the first Gerber baby with Down Syndrome. Meanwhile, another baby made her debut in the limelight: Kylie Jenner’s daughter, Stormi. Other top searched babies this week were Nick Foles’ baby, Janet Jackson’s baby, and Khloe Kardashian’s baby.

All eyes on Pyeongchang

Figure skating is the most searched Olympic sport in 48 states. The outliers are Alaska and Montana (where snowboarding’s at the top), Nebraska (where curling reigns) and Minnesota (where ice hockey wins all).

Falcon Heavy

After his foray into space this week, search interest in “Elon Musk rocket” took off, and was 350 percent higher than interest in “Elon Musk car.” People searched for famous rockets—other than Falcon Heavy—this week, too: Flat-earther rocket, Saturn V rocket, Sea Dragon rocket and Soyuz rocket.

Ups and (Dow)ns

As the markets went on a rollercoaster, search interest in Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1,700 percent higher than search interest in NASDAQ, and people were searching for “stock market” 1,400 percent more than “economy.”

The High Five: a peacock and other trends that showed off this week

When a woman’s attempt to board a United Airlines flight with her emotional support peacock was thwarted this week, the internet was up in feathers. Search interest in “emotional support peacock” flew 450 percent over “emotional support dog,” and people were also curious about whether they can bring hairspray, alcohol, batteries, perfume and candy on to a flight. And don’t exclude the other supportive animals—besides dog and peacock, top searched emotional support animals were duck, turkey and cat.  


Here are more top searches in this week's menagerie, with data from Google News Lab:

  • Black History Month:As Black History Month kicked off this week, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson and Malcolm X were the most searched Black historical figures. 
  • Super Bowl (of chili): Bostonians and Philadelphians will cheer on opposite sides of the stadium, but their home states have one thing in common: chili is the most popular Super Bowl recipe. And you might expect that searches for “Super Bowl ad” spike every February, but the fast-typers among us also cause searches for “Superb Owl” to go up. What a hoot!
  • State of the Union:Taxes, jobs, MS-13, immigration and Mexico were the top searched terms during President Trump’s speech. On the day of the speech, searches for Joe Kennedy went up 2,100 percent, “longest State of the Union” went up 3,000 percent and and “fact check” went up 2,100 percent. 
  • Lie, cheat and Pass Go: Searches for “Monopoly Cheaters Edition release date” went up 350 percent after a new version of the game was announced, and it was searched 2,200 percent more than another popular edition: “Game of Thrones” Monopoly. 

The She Word: Frances Kwee turns up the volume on Google hardware

Editor’s Note: The She Word is a Keyword series all about dynamic and creative women at Google. Now that Google Home Max has hit the shelves at Best Buy and Verizon, we sat down with Frances Kwee, an audio engineer who spends most of her time working on our smart speakers in a sound studio at the Googleplex. 

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How do you explain your job at a dinner party?

As an acoustics engineer, I’m responsible for building audio systems that go into products like Google Home and Google Home Max.

What sets Google Home Max apart from other speakers on the market?

Though we design our audio systems in special sound labs at Google, we recognize that we’re not selling speakers to operate in sound studios. They’re going into all types of living spaces, where the sounds will reverberate differently. So we created Smart Sound, which uses machine learning to adjust to whatever space the speaker is in. Since all homes are different, we trained our machine learning model to recognize thousands of different room configurations. This helps Google Home Max to adapt to the setup of your room: if you move it from your bookshelf against the wall to an end table across the room, it can evaluate its new surroundings and will automatically adjust.

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Here’s Frances in the sound studio (official term is “anechoic chamber”) with Mike Asfaw, an audio hardware engineer.

Break this down for the non-experts: how do you ensure high-quality sound in the speakers?

With Max, one of our goals was to increase volume but limit distortion. Think about when you play music on your phone’s tiny speaker at top volume. It sounds raspy and muffled—not what you expect from a premium smart speaker.


So we used a computer program to simulate the speaker performance in dozens of scenarios, which helped us predict what the speaker would sound like before we built it. We also used a 3D printer to make prototypes to test out different buckets and grills. We ended up creating nearly 100 different 3D printed versions of Google Home Max before we landed on the final design!

How do you make products broadly appealing?

As a mom, I ask myself, “How can more families benefit from our products?” I step back to think about the different ways a family would use a smart speaker.

We’re also trying to bring these products into homes of people who might be intimidated by technology, but we’re showing them that it’s easy to use. My parents have a Google Home—before I worked on the product, I never would have thought they’d be able to figure out how to use it. Now, they’re total pros.


Tell us about some of the early products you worked on.

Early in my career I worked on the 3G RAZR flip phone—my first foray into building smooth audio before anyone had smartphones. It was pretty revolutionary at the time, being able to put a decent sounding speaker into such a slim phone. In a way, it’s similar to Google Home Max. Though Max is big for a smart speaker, we packed in two 4.5-inch woofers that have 22mm of excursion, which means it can hit a wide range of low frequencies.  


Choose to work on the really hard projects—they are risky, but entirely rewarding.

Who has been a strong female influence in your life?

My mother immigrated on her own from Indonesia to Canada after high school. She got a chemical engineering degree in 1975, and was one of only two women in her class. She taught me how important it is to work your hardest and never quit.  

What advice do you have for women starting out in their careers?

Choose to work on the really hard projects—they are risky, but entirely rewarding. I once spent an entire year on a project that never made it out the door. It was a risk, but I don’t view it as a failure—the lessons I learned from that project set me up for success in building the smart speakers that I work on now.

Are you into music outside of work?

I’m professionally trained in piano—I’ve been playing since I was four. And I used to play lead guitar in a cover band in Chicago. We played everything from Stevie Wonder to The Clash to Britney Spears, but my favorite song to perform was “What’s Love Got to Do with It” by Tina Turner.

Do you have a favorite band?

Radiohead. Jonny Greenwood is a guitar god.

What’s one habit that makes you successful?

Being able to multitask but never lose focus on the big picture.

The High Five: what’s cooking in Search this week

This week, fans of NBC’s “This is Us” were fired up about a plotline involving main character Jack Pearson and a Crock-Pot. Trending questions on Search ranged from plot-related—“What happened on ‘This Is Us’ with the Crock-Pot?”—to practical—“How long can a Crock-Pot be on warm?” For those more interested in what’s cooking in their own kitchen, rather than in the Pearson family’s, these Crock-Pot recipes were the most searched this week: beef stew, vegetarian, chicken, pot roast and chili.

Here’s a peek at a few other top searches that slow cooked this week, with data from Google News Lab.

  • Shutdown for what: Amidst the U.S. government shutdown this week, people searched to find out which government services would shut down as well. The top searches for “Will government shutdown affect…” were tax refunds, social security, passport processing, Post Office and unemployment. 
  • While James Corden prepped …Others did some searching ahead of Sunday’s Grammy Awards. The most searched pop artist nominated for a Grammy was Ed Sheeran, while “Despacito” was the most searched “Song of the Year” nominee.
  • Nobody’s perfect:When a camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia was interrupted due to the discovery that some camels had been injected with botox, attention shifted from the contest. Search interest in "Camel botox" spiked nearly 1,400 percent more than “Camel beauty pageant.”
  • Cashing in:This week, rapper 50 Cent learned that he accidentally made over $7 million after people used Bitcoin to buy his album “Animal Ambition” in 2014. One top searched question—“How much did 50 Cent make from Bitcoin?”—naturally led to the next—“What is 50 Cent’s net worth?”

Searches up: Beach Boy gets the grade and other trends from this week

Wouldn’t It Be Nice to get an A? Don’t Worry Baby, you’ll always have a chance to change that F.


That’s what Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys did this week when he went back to his high school for extra credit, turning an “F” he received in songwriting into an “A” …  58 years later later. A wave of searches about Wilson’s academic endeavors ensued: “Brian Wilson grade change,” “Brian Wilson back to school,” and “Where did Beach Boy Brian Wilson attend high school?” People are curious about where other well-known figures went to school as well. The most searched famous people and “high school” are Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner, James Franco, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian.


Here’s a peek at a few other top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.

  • Ballistic missile threat in Hawaii: On the day of the accidental false alarm, search interest for “fallout shelters” in Hawaii increased by nearly 10,000 percent. 
  • Counting down to the Winter Olympics: Searches for Katie Couric were 900 percent higher than her co-host Mike Tirico, and as of this week, the top-searched Olympic sports are ice hockey, snowboarding and figure skating. 
  • Shaking things up in Michigan: An unusual earthquake in Michigan turned out to be caused by a meteor. Searches for "meteor" were on a streak—in fact, they were 30 times higher than “Michigan earthquake.”
  • When life gives you snow, make snow cream: A mixture of snow and a dairy-based liquid makes this winter sweet treat, and search interest is on the rise. In the U.S., searches for “how to make snow cream” were 290 percent higher than “how to make ice cream.”
That’s it for this week, God Only Knows what trends will emerge next week.


Searches up: Beach Boy gets the grade and other trends from this week

Wouldn’t It Be Nice to get an A? Don’t Worry Baby, you’ll always have a chance to change that F.


That’s what Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys did this week when he went back to his high school for extra credit, turning an “F” he received in songwriting into an “A” …  58 years later later. A wave of searches about Wilson’s academic endeavors ensued: “Brian Wilson grade change,” “Brian Wilson back to school,” and “Where did Beach Boy Brian Wilson attend high school?” People are curious about where other well-known figures went to school as well. The most searched famous people and “high school” are Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner, James Franco, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian.


Here’s a peek at a few other top searches from this week, with data from Google News Lab.

  • Ballistic missile threat in Hawaii: On the day of the accidental false alarm, search interest for “fallout shelters” in Hawaii increased by nearly 10,000 percent. 
  • Counting down to the Winter Olympics: Searches for Katie Couric were 900 percent higher than her co-host Mike Tirico, and as of this week, the top-searched Olympic sports are ice hockey, snowboarding and figure skating. 
  • Shaking things up in Michigan: An unusual earthquake in Michigan turned out to be caused by a meteor. Searches for "meteor" were on a streak—in fact, they were 30 times higher than “Michigan earthquake.”
  • When life gives you snow, make snow cream: A mixture of snow and a dairy-based liquid makes this winter sweet treat, and search interest is on the rise. In the U.S., searches for “how to make snow cream” were 290 percent higher than “how to make ice cream.”
That’s it for this week, God Only Knows what trends will emerge next week.


Source: Search


Tea time with a touch of technology

Some of the world’s best tea is grown in the Darjeeling district of India, seen here against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

Editor’s Note: As part of our series of interviews with entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific who use the internet to grow, we spoke with Parvez Gupta, the co-founder of Udyan Tea in Siliguri, India, to find out how he uses technology to bring the best teas to tea lovers in India and beyond. 


After working for a multinational firm in Singapore, you returned home to start a business in India. Tell us about your motivations. 

I grew up in Siliguri, which is part of the Darjeeling district of West Bengal—where the world’s finest tea is grown. I love tea and I enjoyed savoring it from a young age. Being in Siliguri, I’m at the source of tea production, and I’ve been able to use the internet to bring fresher and better teas to people everywhere.

My father was also a huge inspiration. Growing up, I saw him build multiple businesses from the ground up and he inspired me to become an entrepreneur.

Parvez Gupta Udyan Tea
Udyan tea co-founder Parvez Gupta is passionate about sharing his Darjeeling tea culture with the rest of the country and the world.

Why tea and why Udyan?

My friend, Punit Poddar, and I started Udyan Tea in 2012. Punit is also deeply passionate about tea. He has been a tea taster for the past ten years and his family have been in the tea business for more than five decades. During our travels in India, we realized there was a severe lack of good quality tea in other parts of the country. As natives of Siliguri, we expect every cup of tea to be a great one. But we discovered that most good quality tea is exported to foreign markets.

We worked together to address the gap in the domestic market — too many firms catered to demand for fine teas abroad, but not at home. So Udyan Tea was born. Udyan means “garden” and that’s what we aim to provide, the finest tea from the garden to your cup. We select the best tea based on freshness, authenticity and quality. 

Punit Poddar Udyan
Udyan co-founder and tea taster Punit Poddar hails from a family that's been in the tea business for more than 50 years.

How do you find that Google helps your business?

The internet has opened up an entire new base of consumers to businesses of every kind. Before the internet, you could only transact with local communities. Today, with e-commerce, the possibilities are limitless. We are primarily focused on the Indian market, and close to 80% of our revenue is driven from within the country.  We depend entirely on the internet for selling our products, and we rely heavily on Google search to generate traffic to our business.

AdWords has been indispensable for generating new leads for us. We also use Search, Analytics, and Google My Business. We’ve also used Translate tools to close deals with customers who do not speak English at all, which is quite amazing if you think about it. So far, we have shipped products to over 25 countries!


Can you tell us about how your business has helped your community? 

We purchase teas from a number of small growers on an ongoing basis. This helps them fetch the best prices for their teas by eliminating middlemen and contributes to their sustainability. We also serve as consultants to other tea businesses and cafes, meaning we help other companies succeed in the tea business as well!

Tea tasting Udyan
"Udyan [उद्यान] means garden in Hindi, and that’s what we represent," explains Parvez Gupta, "tea fresh from the gardens".