Author Archives: Kate Brandt

Sustainable living tips for life at home

At Google, sustainability starts at home. We strive to build sustainability into everything we do. Today, we shared that we matched 100% of our energy use with renewable energy purchases for the third year in a row. On Earth Day and every day, we are committed to helping everyone build a more sustainable world, and part of that means making it easier for everyone to make environmentally friendly choices. According to Google Trends, over the past 90 days search interest in “How to live a sustainable lifestyle” has increased by more than 4,550%. To celebrate Earth Day while many of us are finding our new normal while sheltering in place, I wanted to share some of my favorite simple sustainability tips.

Save the planet, save some money

If I told you that putting your groceries away in the right place, freezing your leftovers, using the dishwasher (instead of washing dishes by hand) and turning down your water heater just a few degrees could help protect the environment, you might think that sounds too simple. But our greatest impact on the planet comes from just three things: food, water and energy usage. If we each make a few small changes, we can all make a big difference (and save money while we’re at it). Our Your Plan, Your Planet tool has more simple tips you can use in your home.

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Advice from Nest and Assistant


Nest Thermostat owners have saved over 50 billion kilowatt hours of energy since we first introduced the device, which comes to $3 billion in energy bill savings. In honor of Earth Day, the Google Assistant can help you save even more. Just say “Hey Google, give me an Earth Day tip” for simple ways you can save energy, like changing the temperature on your Nest Thermostat by just a few degrees until the leaf symbol pops up, so you know you’re saving energy.


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Get the buzz on bees from today’s Doodle

See what all the buzz is about in today’s interactive Earth Day Doodle, made in collaboration with The Honeybee Conservancy. Guide your bee to pollinate flowers while learning fun facts about bees and how they help the planet. Even while social distancing, there are several things you can do to help, like supporting your local beekeeper, planting a pollinator garden or creating a bee bath.


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A little “how to” help 

Recently, we’ve seen a spike in “how to” sustainability queries related to food, recycling and composting. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada, you can ask your Google Assistant how to recycle specific items and you’ll get local city and town specific answers. You can also check out our curated YouTube Earth Day playlist where you can learn how to compost, fix old clothing or turn those leftovers into a new meal. 

“How to freeze” has been a particular popular question. Here are a few of the answers I found particularly helpful:

  1. How to freeze milk? Place the milk in your freezer in its original plastic container or glass freezer-safe container. Make sure to leave room to allow the milk to expand, so remove some milk if needed. When you're ready to use the frozen milk, allow it to thaw in the fridge.

  2. How to freeze eggs? To freeze whole eggs, you simply mix the eggs together and pour the mixture into either an ice cube tray, or a freezer-safe container or bag. If you will need to use individual eggs, it would make more sense to make sure each ice cube tray holds only one egg so that you can easily separate them.

  3. How to freeze broccoli? Broccoli—florets and stems—must be blanched for effective freezing. If you freeze it raw, you'll wind up with bitter, drab green, shriveled stems. Blanching or steaming preserves the bright green color and tasty flavor. You can either blanch in boiling water for three minutes or steam for five minutes.

Enjoying planet Earth from wherever you are 

With travel plans paused, national parks temporarily closed and a collective effort to stay socially distant, the world feels a bit out of reach right now. While there’s no substitute for the real thing, virtual vacations are a great way to experience our planet from wherever you are sheltering in place using Google Earth. 

If you’re seeking natural beauty, explore the most enchanting forests, striking waterfalls, or unusual lakes around the globe. For those interested in the other creatures that share our planet, learn about the kākāpō, sea turtles or humpback whales. For anyone interested in a more scientific journey, learn about the ecosystems of the world, understand the impact of keystone species on their habitats, or learn how to be a scientist in your backyard—all you need is your smartphone.

I hope these tips are an easy way to get started. At Google, we know that individual actions collectively can make a big difference, and we’re happy to support everyone on their journey to a more sustainable life.

11 startups addressing global problems—here’s how we’re helping


When we announced our Google for Startups Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in November, we did not foresee how dramatically day-to-day life would soon change. The COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread health, social and economic consequences have made the goal of the program—to help founders build technology to  solve serious issues facing our world—even more pressing. 

We received almost 1,200 applications from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and—together with an external jury—we carefully evaluated each of these ideas. Today, we’re announcing the 11 startups selected to participate in our inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator on the SDGs. These startups address a wide range of social and environmental challenges, and are working toward at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the U.N. 

Apic.ai (Germany) uses honeybees as biosensors in the fight to protect biodiversity. 

Cervest.earth (UK) provides personalized insights on the impact of climatic and extreme events, predicting the risks and effects of climate volatility in real-time, for any location on the planet. 

Ellipsis.earth (UK) uses drone imagery and machine learning to identify and track plastic pollution, aiming to provide a global database of the types of plastic waste found in our oceans, beaches and rivers.

Everimpact (France) combines satellite imagery and ground sensing to monitor air quality and carbon emissions in cities.  

Flare (Kenya) offers software infrastructure and operational support for medical emergency response services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

mDoc (Nigeria) uses a digital platform and in-person hubs to support people living with chronic diseases. 

OKO (Israel) is crop insurance designed for emerging markets, using new technologies in satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate claim management. 

Ororatech (Germany) is the first commercial supplier of infrared satellite data for early detection and real-time monitoring of wildfires across the globe. 

Skilllab (Netherlands) uses AI to empower job seekers, such as refugees, to integrate their skill sets into local labor markets.

Solar Freeze (Kenya) is pioneering mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for smallholder farmers, to help them reduce post-harvest loss in the developing world.

Wondertree (Pakistan) accelerates cognitive and motor development in children with special needs through movement-based therapeutic and educational AR games. 

Each startup founder will work closely with engineers from over 20 Google teams and other subject matter experts to address product, engineering, business development, and funding challenges. Since this accelerator is focused on sustainability, founders will learn these skills through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and relevant partners.

In order to keep the program safe and accessible in light of COVID-19, the first two on-site events will now be digital. Virtual training will cover topics such as creating Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), UX Research & Behavioral Economics, ML Data Pipelines and Data Visualization, SDG innovation for sustainable impact, and Strategies for Social Impact Fundraising. The five-month program kicks off on April 21st, and a second cohort will be selected later in the year.

Google for Startups was created to support those who want to build something better—and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do, whether online or IRL. These are just a few of the many startups working locally on global solutions, and we’ll continue to bring Google’s resources to this entrepreneurial community.

11 startups addressing global problems—here’s how we’re helping


When we announced our Google for Startups Accelerator on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in November, we did not foresee how dramatically day-to-day life would soon change. The COVID-19 pandemic and its widespread health, social and economic consequences have made the goal of the program—to help founders build technology to  solve serious issues facing our world—even more pressing. 

We received almost 1,200 applications from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and—together with an external jury—we carefully evaluated each of these ideas. Today, we’re announcing the 11 startups selected to participate in our inaugural Google for Startups Accelerator on the SDGs. These startups address a wide range of social and environmental challenges, and are working toward at least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the U.N. 

Apic.ai (Germany) uses honeybees as biosensors in the fight to protect biodiversity. 

Cervest.earth (UK) provides personalized insights on the impact of climatic and extreme events, predicting the risks and effects of climate volatility in real-time, for any location on the planet. 

Ellipsis.earth (UK) uses drone imagery and machine learning to identify and track plastic pollution, aiming to provide a global database of the types of plastic waste found in our oceans, beaches and rivers.

Everimpact (France) combines satellite imagery and ground sensing to monitor air quality and carbon emissions in cities.  

Flare (Kenya) offers software infrastructure and operational support for medical emergency response services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

mDoc (Nigeria) uses a digital platform and in-person hubs to support people living with chronic diseases. 

OKO (Israel) is crop insurance designed for emerging markets, using new technologies in satellite imagery and weather forecasting to simplify and automate claim management. 

Ororatech (Germany) is the first commercial supplier of infrared satellite data for early detection and real-time monitoring of wildfires across the globe. 

Skilllab (Netherlands) uses AI to empower job seekers, such as refugees, to integrate their skill sets into local labor markets.

Solar Freeze (Kenya) is pioneering mobile cold storage units powered by renewable energy for smallholder farmers, to help them reduce post-harvest loss in the developing world.

Wondertree (Pakistan) accelerates cognitive and motor development in children with special needs through movement-based therapeutic and educational AR games. 

Each startup founder will work closely with engineers from over 20 Google teams and other subject matter experts to address product, engineering, business development, and funding challenges. Since this accelerator is focused on sustainability, founders will learn these skills through the lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and relevant partners.

In order to keep the program safe and accessible in light of COVID-19, the first two on-site events will now be digital. Virtual training will cover topics such as creating Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), UX Research & Behavioral Economics, ML Data Pipelines and Data Visualization, SDG innovation for sustainable impact, and Strategies for Social Impact Fundraising. The five-month program kicks off on April 21st, and a second cohort will be selected later in the year.

Google for Startups was created to support those who want to build something better—and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do, whether online or IRL. These are just a few of the many startups working locally on global solutions, and we’ll continue to bring Google’s resources to this entrepreneurial community.

Supporting social impact startups

Around the world, there are more startups addressing the world’s most pressing social challenges. There’s Asaduru, a South Africa-based green building business; Skilllab BV in the Netherlands, which helps refugees better integrate into labor markets; and Limbic in the UK, which uses AI to better understand mental health data.

Technology can help address some of the world’s biggest challenges, from empowering others to use AI to address social challenges, to setting ambitious and long-term environmental sustainability goals. When businesses and investors work together with government, nonprofits, communities and individuals, we can make real progress.

Today we’re launching the Google for Startups Accelerator focused on sustainable development goals. Geared toward social impact startups working to create a healthier and more sustainable future, the accelerator provides access to training, products and technical support. Startup founders will work with Google engineers and receive mentoring from over 20 teams at Google, as well as outside experts and local mentors. 

Startups will be selected based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. Applications will open for startups from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the next few weeks and eight to ten startups will take part in a six-month accelerator program in early 2020. A second cohort will be selected later in the year. 

The program is designed to address the unique challenges founders face when building a social impact company: 

Product and engineering expertise

People with social impact expertise don’t always have experience building tech products. So our program seeks to bring startups together with the best technology products, data and people to help them build expertise. 

Business development

Monetization for social impact startups is complex and can involve multiple parties: The people who pay for it may not be the people who use it, or the people who benefit from it. Our accelerator will help founders connect with the audiences they need to, such as potential users, investors and advertisers. 

Access to funding

While investors are increasingly seeing the value in social impact startups, there are unique challenges in attracting the right investors, and competing with traditional startups who are focused primarily on growth or acquisition. This accelerator will help participants connect and work with a wider base of potential investors.   

The new accelerator is part of Google for Startups which help startups build and scale great products by matching them with the best of Google—our people, network and advanced technologies. 

I’m Feeling Earthy: Earth Day trends and more

It’s Earth Day—take a walk with us.

First, let’s dig into issues taking root in Search. Ahead of Earth Day, “solar energy,” “drought” and “endangered species” climbed in popularity this week. Meanwhile, people are looking for ways their own actions can make a positive impact. The top “how to recycle” searches were for plastic, paper, batteries, plastic bags, and styrofoam. And around the world, trending queries about Earth Day were “how many trees will be saved by recycling?” and “which type of plastic is more friendly to the environment?”  

To explore some of the other searches that are blooming for Earth Day, take a look at our trends page.

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In our corner of the world, Earth Day celebrations started on Google Earth’s first birthday (tweet at @googleearth with #ImFeelingEarthy and see where it takes you!). The party continues today with a special tribute to Jane Goodall in today’s Doodle, and kids inspired by the Doodle can create their own Google logo, thanks to our partnership with World Wildlife Fund. And while we’re feeling extra Earthy this week, the environment is important to our work all year long—here’s what we’re doing for our operations, our surroundings, our customers, and our community.

Why we should develop “circular cities” and how Google technology can help

The process of digging up materials, turning those materials into a product, and shipping it to an “end user” (who eventually tosses it in the trash) is called the “linear” economy, and it’s depleting our world of resources faster than they can be replenished. We need to ditch this old model and move to a “circular” economy. Instead of using raw resources (think timber and ore) to create new products, the circular economy keeps materials in circulation for multiple uses, whether they are maintained, reused, refurbished, or recycled.

Today, 54 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas accounting for 75 percent of natural resource consumption, 50 percent of global waste production, and 60-80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. So, the concept of the circular economy is especially relevant in cities.

Digital technology helps city leaders and citizens gather, refine, and analyze data to create cities that are circular by design. Today we published a white paper with our partners at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that explores how digital technology and a few of Google’s existing efforts can enable more circular cities. Google has captured insights across cities, from the quality of the air people breathe to the amount of solar power people could put on their roof at home. Google Cloud Platform allows for global-scale data sharing and provides the foundation for collaborative projects between public and private organizations, such as the Waze Connected Citizens Program.

Along with Arup and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we’re also exploring how to build circular cities through a joint project called the Circularity Lab. Located in both the Bay Area and New York City, the Lab will raise awareness about circularity in the built environment and create a space where people can see how it could positively impact their lives and communities.

The circular economy model, enriched with technology, is a powerful and potentially highly productive combination. We’re excited to continue exploring these opportunities.

Happy Earth Day, world!

The Earth is more than 4.543 billion years old, home to more than 8.7 million species—and still the only known planet in the universe known to harbor life. That’s right, we’re pretty special.?  So on Earth Day, let’s all celebrate our planet and learn about ways to help preserve it.  

Today’s Earth Day Doodle tells the story of a friendly fox whose bad dream about about climate change jolts it into action. The fox goes on a quest to care for the Earth—meeting some familiar faces along the way.

Clicking through to Google Search, you’ll see a list of quick and easy tips to help you do your part in saving the planet. Whether it’s planting a tree, conserving energy or carpooling on your way to work, no act is too small.

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Now by searching for “Earth Day” or a similar query, you’ll see a carousel of posts on Google with info on Earth Day events, museum exhibits from Oakland to Switzerland, and history of how Earth Day came to be from the History Channel.

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Teen girls coding at a Change is Made with Code event in New York City

Sometimes a call to action can help motivate your friends and family to get involved and learn about ways to protect the environment. In this spirit, Google’s Made with Code has launched a new environment coding project that calls on teen girls to code a statement about environmental issues they care about. By learning and using the Blockly coding language, these young coders can code personalized statements in support of the critical work of the World Wildlife Fund, The Ocean Agency and the Jane Goodall Institute.

MadeWithCode_DefendProtect.png
Coded statements made on madewithcode.com in support of The Ocean Agency, NGO’s World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute

We’ve always supported advocates who are working to protect our environment, and we’re committed to do our part to run Google in a way that works for the planet. We recently shared that we’ll reach 100 percent renewable energy this year, and we continue to push ourselves to run the most energy efficient data centers in the world. You can learn more about these efforts in our Environmental Report.

In the words of Jane Goodall in the new Google Earth: "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved."

Happy Earth Day, world!

The Earth is more than 4.543 billion years old, home to more than 8.7 million species—and still the only known planet in the universe known to harbor life. That’s right, we’re pretty special.?  So on Earth Day, let’s all celebrate our planet and learn about ways to help preserve it.  

Today’s Earth Day Doodle tells the story of a friendly fox whose bad dream about about climate change jolts it into action. The fox goes on a quest to care for the Earth—meeting some familiar faces along the way.

Clicking through to Google Search, you’ll see a list of quick and easy tips to help you do your part in saving the planet. Whether it’s planting a tree, conserving energy or carpooling on your way to work, no act is too small.

gif

Now by searching for “Earth Day” or a similar query, you’ll see a carousel of posts on Google with info on Earth Day events, museum exhibits from Oakland to Switzerland, and history of how Earth Day came to be from the History Channel.

made with code
Teen girls coding at a Change is Made with Code event in New York City

Sometimes a call to action can help motivate your friends and family to get involved and learn about ways to protect the environment. In this spirit, Google’s Made with Code has launched a new environment coding project that calls on teen girls to code a statement about environmental issues they care about. By learning and using the Blockly coding language, these young coders can code personalized statements in support of the critical work of the World Wildlife Fund, The Ocean Agency and the Jane Goodall Institute.

MadeWithCode_DefendProtect.png
Coded statements made on madewithcode.com in support of The Ocean Agency, NGO’s World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute

We’ve always supported advocates who are working to protect our environment, and we’re committed to do our part to run Google in a way that works for the planet. We recently shared that we’ll reach 100 percent renewable energy this year, and we continue to push ourselves to run the most energy efficient data centers in the world. You can learn more about these efforts in our Environmental Report.

In the words of Jane Goodall in the new Google Earth: "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved."

Happy Earth Day, world!

The Earth is more than 4.543 billion years old, home to more than 8.7 million species—and still the only known planet in the universe known to harbor life. That’s right, we’re pretty special.?  So on Earth Day, let’s all celebrate our planet and learn about ways to help preserve it.  

Today’s Earth Day Doodle tells the story of a friendly fox whose bad dream about about climate change jolts it into action. The fox goes on a quest to care for the Earth—meeting some familiar faces along the way.

Clicking through to Google Search, you’ll see a list of quick and easy tips to help you do your part in saving the planet. Whether it’s planting a tree, conserving energy or carpooling on your way to work, no act is too small.

gif

Now by searching for “Earth Day” or a similar query, you’ll see a carousel of posts on Google with info on Earth Day events, museum exhibits from Oakland to Switzerland, and history of how Earth Day came to be from the History Channel.

made with code
Teen girls coding at a Change is Made with Code event in New York City

Sometimes a call to action can help motivate your friends and family to get involved and learn about ways to protect the environment. In this spirit, Google’s Made with Code has launched a new environment coding project that calls on teen girls to code a statement about environmental issues they care about. By learning and using the Blockly coding language, these young coders can code personalized statements in support of the critical work of the World Wildlife Fund, The Ocean Agency and the Jane Goodall Institute.

MadeWithCode_DefendProtect.png
Coded statements made on madewithcode.com in support of The Ocean Agency, NGO’s World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute

We’ve always supported advocates who are working to protect our environment, and we’re committed to do our part to run Google in a way that works for the planet. We recently shared that we’ll reach 100 percent renewable energy this year, and we continue to push ourselves to run the most energy efficient data centers in the world. You can learn more about these efforts in our Environmental Report.

In the words of Jane Goodall in the new Google Earth: "Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved."

Source: Search