Tag Archives: Google Nest

9 ways to make the most of your Chromecast

The year 2013: when we were all snacking on endless fro-yo, discussing season three of “Game of Thrones” with anyone who would listen and laughing out loud to the best clips on Vine. But did you know it was also the year we introduced Chromecast to the world?

Since then, Chromecast continues to be the one of the simplest options for you to see your photos on the big screen, gather round a virtual fireplace on YouTube over the holidays or catch up on your favorite show — all with one device.

So to celebrate nine years of our favorite streamer that's only getting better with age (we're a little biased), we're rounding up nine features to help you to make the most of your Chromecast:

  1. See who’s at your door. Today we’re announcing Chromecast with Google TV is rolling out support for live video streaming from Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery), Nest Cam (indoor, wired), Nest Cam with floodlight and Nest Doorbell (battery) – which means all your Nest Cams and Nest doorbells are supported. Now you can quickly see a live view of your cameras from the comfort of your couch – so you can know for sure when your pizza delivery shows up at your front door on movie night.
  2. Mirror your Android screen or Chrome tab to the big screen. Looking at a menu with your family before heading out to dinner? Or planning your next vacation destination with your friends? No matter what information you’re sharing, you can easily cast to a TV or other screen.
  3. Show off your photos on a TV with Chromecast. When you’re back from that vacation, show off your photos with the Google Photos app. Just select the photo or album you want to cast and display it on your TV. Then you can swipe between photos to change what’s displayed.
  4. Cast your meetings to the big screen. With the Google Meet app, you can cast your meeting to the TV while continuing to use your computer's camera, microphone and audio. Perfect for virtual family reunions.
  5. The control is yours with Chromecast. Chromecast with Google TV comes with a physical remote, which has been one of our most requested features since Chromecast’s early days. But you can also use your phone, your TV remote or your voice - just say, “Hey Google, play ‘The Umbrella Academy’ on the living room TV” to your Assistant-enabled device.
  6. Continue casting even when you leave the room. You don’t need to worry about playback being interrupted if you need to leave the house for a bit, or if you walk outside of your Wi-Fi coverage area. So if you need to run to the store to grab more ice, the party inside can continue.
  7. Let your friends and family join in on the party with a shared queue. In the YouTube app, anyone connected to the same Wi-Fi as your Chromecast can tap the Cast icon on a YouTube video and add it to a shared playlist so everyone can contribute to what you’re watching or listening to.
  8. Move your media from room to room. Ready to move to another room but don’t want to stop listening to the latest episode of your favorite podcast? You can easily move music, podcasts or radio currently streaming from your Google Nest or Home speaker or display, or Chromecast device to another Nest speaker, speaker group, display, or Chromecast-connected device so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing. You can also move YouTube videos between Google Nest displays and Chromecast devices.
  9. Cast with Android, iOS or Chrome on PC and Mac. We wanted to make it easy to cast from as many devices as possible, whether you’re on Android, iOS or on your computer. It’s as simple as tapping Cast from a compatible app, selecting your Chromecast and tapping play.

9 ways to make the most of your Chromecast

The year 2013: when we were all snacking on endless fro-yo, discussing season three of “Game of Thrones” with anyone who would listen and laughing out loud to the best clips on Vine. But did you know it was also the year we introduced Chromecast to the world?

Since then, Chromecast continues to be the one of the simplest options for you to see your photos on the big screen, gather round a virtual fireplace on YouTube over the holidays or catch up on your favorite show — all with one device.

So to celebrate nine years of our favorite streamer that's only getting better with age (we're a little biased), we're rounding up nine features to help you to make the most of your Chromecast:

  1. See who’s at your door. Today we’re announcing Chromecast with Google TV is rolling out support for live video streaming from Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor, battery), Nest Cam (indoor, wired), Nest Cam with floodlight and Nest Doorbell (battery) – which means all your Nest Cams and Nest doorbells are supported. Now you can quickly see a live view of your cameras from the comfort of your couch – so you can know for sure when your pizza delivery shows up at your front door on movie night.
  2. Mirror your Android screen or Chrome tab to the big screen. Looking at a menu with your family before heading out to dinner? Or planning your next vacation destination with your friends? No matter what information you’re sharing, you can easily cast to a TV or other screen.
  3. Show off your photos on a TV with Chromecast. When you’re back from that vacation, show off your photos with the Google Photos app. Just select the photo or album you want to cast and display it on your TV. Then you can swipe between photos to change what’s displayed.
  4. Cast your meetings to the big screen. With the Google Meet app, you can cast your meeting to the TV while continuing to use your computer's camera, microphone and audio. Perfect for virtual family reunions.
  5. The control is yours with Chromecast. Chromecast with Google TV comes with a physical remote, which has been one of our most requested features since Chromecast’s early days. But you can also use your phone, your TV remote or your voice - just say, “Hey Google, play ‘The Umbrella Academy’ on the living room TV” to your Assistant-enabled device.
  6. Continue casting even when you leave the room. You don’t need to worry about playback being interrupted if you need to leave the house for a bit, or if you walk outside of your Wi-Fi coverage area. So if you need to run to the store to grab more ice, the party inside can continue.
  7. Let your friends and family join in on the party with a shared queue. In the YouTube app, anyone connected to the same Wi-Fi as your Chromecast can tap the Cast icon on a YouTube video and add it to a shared playlist so everyone can contribute to what you’re watching or listening to.
  8. Move your media from room to room. Ready to move to another room but don’t want to stop listening to the latest episode of your favorite podcast? You can easily move music, podcasts or radio currently streaming from your Google Nest or Home speaker or display, or Chromecast device to another Nest speaker, speaker group, display, or Chromecast-connected device so you don’t have to worry about missing a thing. You can also move YouTube videos between Google Nest displays and Chromecast devices.
  9. Cast with Android, iOS or Chrome on PC and Mac. We wanted to make it easy to cast from as many devices as possible, whether you’re on Android, iOS or on your computer. It’s as simple as tapping Cast from a compatible app, selecting your Chromecast and tapping play.

Expanding access to clean energy careers

Climate change affects everyone, but not equally. Our fossil-based energy system has disproportionately impacted communities of color and low-income communities for generations. So as the world transitions to a carbon-free electric grid, it’s important to support programs building a just and equitable clean energy economy.

This transition to clean energy is expected to create 10.3 million jobs by 2030, outpacing the nearly 2.7 million fossil fuel jobs of today. Google.org and Google Nest recently partnered with Dream Corps Green For All to launch The Green For All Clean Energy Scholarship Fund, which aims to expand access to clean energy careers for jobseekers from underrepresented communities.

We recently announced our first recipients at Black Future Weekend, a Dream Corps event focused on diversifying the tech industry. As part of the application process, they shared their “green dream” and explained why they wanted a career in the renewable energy industry:

Quianya Enge (Carbondale, Illinois)

As someone directly impacted by the criminal justice system and now a doctoral student in Higher Education and Administration with a master’s degree in Workforce Education and Development, my dream is to build a career in the clean energy sector. Renewable energy jobs are perfect for those who need a second chance in the workforce. However, there is a negative perception of felons within the solar industry and society as a whole — and as a workforce developer, I’d like to change that. I want to build a team that helps individuals from marginalized communities find training and jobs in the solar field, and form partnerships with groups in the clean energy industry that work to reduce recidivism.

Alcia Shaw (Brooklyn, New York)

I grew up on a farm in Jamaica, deep within the island’s green-swathed mountains. Despite the hardships I faced growing up in a poverty-stricken country, as a young girl, I found tranquility in climbing the nearest tree and watching as the deep blue Caribbean Sea embraced the north coast. It will be a dream come true for me when our communities are no longer at risk of excess pollution, waste and questionable water sources. This scholarship will allow me to enroll in a sustainability management course at Yale University, giving me the qualifications I need to pursue my passion for equality and maintain the environmental integrity of my community and similar areas across the globe.

Kristian Thymianos (Las Vegas, Nevada)

To me, the clean energy sector is a way to keep my community alive despite the ongoing issues surrounding climate change. I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada — where the only thing as intense as the city is the sun beating down on it. We contend with major issues due to climate change, like urban heat islands that threaten the health of our residents and tourists and negatively impact our infrastructure, and declining water resources. These are not unique to Las Vegas, but they impact our community more than others. ​​Finding ways to fix and provide for my hometown pushes me to do the work I do.

Extending the impact with Nest Renew

Last year, Google Nest unveiled Nest Renew, a service for compatible Nest thermostats in the U.S. that makes it easy to support clean energy right from home. Through the Energy Impact Program, a feature within Nest Renew, you can help direct funds to nonprofit partners working towards an equitable sustainable future.

Later this year, Dream Corps will join GRID Alternatives and Elevate Energy as a founding partner of the Energy Impact Program, ensuring continued support for scholarship recipients and guaranteed career placement for individuals from underrepresented communities.

Get some fresh air outdoors with Google

As temperatures heat up and summer officially begins across the United States, many of us are taking the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. If you have an adventure on the horizon, here are two ways you can use Google tools to stay safe and healthy during your summer activities.

Check the air quality before you head out

When you're visiting a new place or planning outdoor activities, it can be helpful to know the air quality conditions — like whether it’s unusually smoggy. Check out the air quality layer on Google Maps for both Android and iOS, to help you make more informed decisions about whether it’s safe to go on a hike or other outdoor adventures. You’ll see Air Quality Index (AQI), a measure of how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is, along with guidance for outdoor activities, when the information was last updated, and links to learn more.

The air quality layer shows trusted data from government agencies, including theEnvironmental Protection Agency in the U.S. We are also showing air quality information fromPurpleAir, a low-cost sensor network which gives a more hyperlocal view of conditions. To add the air quality layer to your map, simply tap on the button in the top right corner of your screen, then select Air Quality under Map details.

You can also view air quality information from PurpleAir on Nest displays and speakers. The broad coverage of PurpleAir sensors means significantly more people in the U.S. will be able to access vital air quality information directly from their Nest devices.

Two smartphone screens showing the air quality layer on Google Maps

Be prepared during wildfire season

In recent years, wildfires have intensified and increased across the United States and around the world. Google Search interest in “Best air filters for wildfire smoke” and “Best mask for wildfire smoke” has doubled over the past year in the U.S. As wildfire season approaches, these Google features can help you safely navigate wildfires.

Before you head out, turn on the wildfire layer in Google Maps to see more details about active fires in the area thanks to our partnership with the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). Or, for larger wildfires, you can use Search to look up "wildfires near me", and we'll surface associated air quality information along with useful information about the fire. In the coming months, we’re also adding smoke data across the U.S. from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to our air quality information on Google Search.

A smartphone screen showing air quality information on Google Search

We collaborate closely with partners in the weather and air quality space to surface helpful and authoritative information when you need it most. As you head out on hikes, camping trips and other outdoor adventures, we hope these tools help you feel safe and informed so you can enjoy the summer.

Source: The Keyword


Make connections that Matter in Google Home

We’re entering a new era of the smart home built on openness and collaboration — one where you should have no problem using devices from different smart home brands to turn on your lights, warm up your living room and set your morning alarm. All of them should work together in harmony.

Matter, the new smart home industry standard we developed with other leading technology companies, is making this possible. Whether you’re shopping for or building your own smart home devices, let’s take a closer look at how Matter can help you make more connections with Google products and beyond when it launches later this year.

Connect your favorite smart home brands

When you buy a Matter-enabled device, the set-up process will be quick and consistent. In just a few taps, you can easily link it to your home network, another smart home ecosystem and your favorite apps. Support for Matter through Fast Pair on Android makes it as easy as connecting a new pair of headphones. And because Matter devices connect and communicate locally over Wi-Fi and Thread, a wireless mesh networking technology, they’re more reliable and responsive — reducing lag and potential connection interruptions.

To help you get ready for Matter, we’ll update many Google Nest devices to be Matter controllers. This will let you connect all your Matter-enabled devices to Google Home, and control them both locally and remotely with the Google Home app, smart home controls on your Android phone or Google Assistant. Matter controllers will include the original Google Home speaker, Google Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio and Nest Wifi.

Meanwhile, Nest Wifi, Nest Hub Max and Nest Hub (2nd gen) will also serve as Thread border routers, allowing you to connect devices built with Thread — like backyard lights that need long-range connectivity — to your home network.

We’ve also rolled out a new Google Home site to help you explore everything you can do with your Google Home in one spot. You can discover thousands of smart home devices that work with Google Home and learn how to get the most out of your helpful home — including automated routines to make everyday life easier, safer and more convenient.

To make it easier to find products that work great with Google Home, we're updating our “Works with” partner program. Works with Hey Google is now Works with Google Home. Partner devices that carry this badge have gone the extra mile to build high-quality experiences with Google using Matter or our existing integrations. It’ll take some time for all our partners to start using the new badge — but if you spot either of these badges on a smart home product, you’ll know they easily connect with Google and our home control features like routines, voice control through Google Assistant devices and Android home controls.

Build more connected smart home devices

Developers, take note: With Matter, there’s no need to build multiple versions of a smart home device to work across different ecosystems. You’ll only have to build once, and that device will work right away with Google Home and other smart home brands. This means you can spend less time building multiple connectivity paths, and more time innovating and delivering devices and features.

To help you do that, we’ve launched a new Google Home Developer Center that brings together all our resources for developers and businesses. You can start learning today how to build smart home devices and Android apps with Matter, discover new features to integrate into your devices and explore marketing resources to help grow your business. You’ll also find new community support tools for device makers building with Google Home.

On June 30, we’ll launch the Google Home Developer Console, including two new software development kits (SDKs) to make it easy to build Matter devices and apps. The Google Home Device SDK is the fastest way to start building Matter devices. This SDK will also introduce Intelligence Clusters, which will share Google Intelligence — starting with Home & Away Routines — with developers who meet certain security and privacy requirements.

The new Google Home Mobile SDK will make it easy to build apps that connect directly with Matter devices using new built-in connectivity support in Android. This makes the set-up process simpler, more consistent and reliable for Android users. And with connectivity taken care of, developers can spend more time building unique features and experiences.

We can’t wait to see how you use Matter, Thread and Google Home to build and create the smart home experience that best suits you. Check out home.google and developers.home.google.com to learn more and sign up for future updates.

True or false? Busting sleep myths for World Sleep Day

“You need to sleep on your back.”

“No, on your side.”

“Actually, what really matters is your mattress.”

“I thought it was your pillow?”

“Sleeping in short bursts will make you feel more refreshed.”

Everyone has a hot take on how to get the best rest — and Dr. Logan Schneider, M.D., and Dr. Conor Heneghan, PhD, have heard them all. “We all sleep, and we’ve all experienced good sleep and bad sleep — and because of that, most everyone has dabbled in a bit of sleep-related ‘citizen science,’ which has created both reasonable and outlandish theories,” says Logan. Both are part of the Google team that examines how technology can help improve sleep — from tracking how much you’re getting each night to understanding your sleep quality and how to potentially improve it — across Nest and Fitbit.

Since we’re celebrating World Sleep Day later this week, we decided to play a sleep myth-busting edition of true or false with Logan and Conor.

True or False: You need eight hours of sleep.

False. Everyone’s body and sleep needs are different, Logan says. “Basically, you need as much sleep as it takes to not feel…well, sleepy…over the course of your day.” While many recommendations suggest getting at least seven hours of sleep, this is based on what people report — which is often an overestimation of actual sleep. “When looking at objective measures of typical sleep, we tend to see that the actual amount of sleep humans get is around six and a half hours,” Logan says. Ask yourself: Am I waking refreshed? Am I alert without the assistance of caffeine or napping? Am I generally able to perform well mentally and physically? If the answers are “yes,” you’re likely getting enough sleep.”

If you can avoid it, try not to make too large of a difference between your weekday and weekend schedules. Dr. Conor Heneghan

True or False: Sleeping in on weekends can actually make you feel less rested.

True. Sleep sets your body’s internal “clocks” that determine when you should be alert and when you should be asleep. “The main way this clock gets set is by light exposure around the time you wake up,” Logan says. “So, if you’re sleeping well past the time you usually wake up, you’re confusing your body, telling it to adjust to a later time zone.” And this might not feel great when you go back to your normal schedule.

“While tempting to sleep in on the weekends, in general, your body responds best to a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. If you can avoid it, try not to make too large of a difference between your weekday and weekend schedules,” Conor adds.

True or False: Power naps are highly effective.

False…ish. “Various studies have explored the relationship of health and napping, and there have been lots of different results,” says Logan. “But the National Sleep Foundation found that polyphasic, or multi-period sleeping — aka, naps versus sleeping all night — isn’t ideal for most.” Trading naps for nightly sleep won’t benefit most people. That said, napping is a way to avoid hazardous situations when you’re sleepy. “If you need a nap to make it through the day, shorter naps, something like 10 to 20 minutes, tend to be the most restorative without causing consequences for the next primary sleep period.”

Each time your alarm goes off, you’re disrupting your sleep, so any ‘sleep’ you get after hitting snooze isn’t restorative. Dr. Logan Schneider

True or False: My exercise routine and diet impact how well I sleep.

True. “Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your sleep. Studies have shown that moving during the day can support better sleep quality and minimize anxiety, too,” Conor says.

Sleep can also be impacted by your diet, especially when it comes to alcohol. “While we all enjoy an occasional drink in the evening, on the whole, data shows alcohol too close to bedtime has a negative effect on your sleep. Alcohol might make you fall asleep a little faster, but you’re more likely to get restless throughout the night because it can disrupt your REM sleep, a restorative stage when you're deep in your dreams. If REM is interrupted, it’s common to feel drowsy the next day,” Conor says.

True or False: The snooze button is your friend.

False. It’s best to allow yourself to sleep in until you need to wake up rather than setting an early alarm and snoozing. “Each time your alarm goes off, you’re disrupting your sleep, so any ‘sleep’ you get after hitting snooze isn’t restorative,” Logan says. “It takes a while for your brain to fall back to sleep. By snoozing, you’re breaking up the natural cycles of sleep and keeping your brain in more alert and resulting in lighter sleep, which won’t actually help you feel rested.”

“Consistency is what’s best for sleep,” Conor says. “And hitting snooze can disrupt that consistency, so you won’t feel refreshed.”

Plus, Logan says, you’re tricking your brain into thinking that snoozing feels good, when, in fact, you’re not actually getting more of what you need — refreshing sleep.

So you got new gear for the holidays. Now what?

The new year is here, and the holidays are (officially) over. If you were gifted a new Google gadget, that means it’s time to get your new gear out of the box and into your home or pocket.

We talked to the experts here at Google and asked for a few of their quick setup tips, so you can get straight to using your new…whatever you got...right away.

So you got a Pixel 6 Pro…

  1. Begin by setting up fingerprint unlock for quick and easy access.
  2. Prepare for future emergencies and turn on the extreme battery saver feature in the settings app. Extreme battery saver can extend your Pixel 6 Pro’s battery life by intelligently pausing apps and slowing processes, and you can preselect when you want to enable the feature — and what your priority apps are.
  3. Create a personal aesthetic with Material You, and express character by customizing wallpaper and interface designs that will give your Pixel 6 Pro’s display a more uniform look.

So you got a Nest Hub Max…

  1. First, set up Face Match to ensure your Nest Hub Max can quickly identify you as the user and share a more personal experience. Then, when you walk up to the device it can do things like present your daily schedule, play your favorite playlist or suggest recommended videos, news and podcasts.
  2. Set up a Duo account for video calling and messaging with your friends and family. From there, you can ask Nest Hub Max to call anyone in your Google contacts who has Duo — just say, “Hey Google, call (your contact name).” For family members or friends who don't already have Duo, the app is free and available for download on both Android and iOS.
  3. Be sure to connect your Nest Hub Max to any other Google gear, such as the Chromecast and Nest Mini for a smart home experience.
The Nest Hub Max in front of a white background.

The Nest Hub Max.

So you got the new Nest Thermostat…

  1. Use Quick Schedule to easily and quickly get your thermostat programmed. You can go with its recommended presets or adjust the settings further to create a custom schedule. You can make changes to your schedule anytime from the Home app.
  2. Then you can opt in Home and Away Routines, which can help you avoid heating or cooling an empty house by using motion sensing and your phone’s location to know when nobody’s home and adjust the temperature accordingly to save energy.
  3. Make sure you’ve enabled notifications and Savings Finder will proactively suggest small tweaks to your schedule that you can accept from the Home app. For example, it might suggest a small change to your sleep temperature to save you energy.

So you got the new Pixel Buds A-Series…

  1. Check out the Pixel Buds A-Series’ latest feature, the bass customization option, to find your perfect sound. This addition doubles the bass range when connected to an Android 6.0 device, and can be adjusted on a scale from -1 to 4 by using the Pixel Buds App.
  2. Here’s a hardware tip: Try out the three different ear tip fit options to find the most comfortable fit for you.
  3. Start listening to your favorite podcasts and music right away by using Fast Pair to immediately connect your Pixel Buds to your phone.

A new kind of “resolution” for the New Year

I love New Year’s resolutions, and because of the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, I had plenty of time to focus on them. In 2020, I decided I might as well finally train for and run a marathon…and then because, well, I still had the extra hours in 2021, I decided to try to do it again, only faster. I also resolved to give back, so I began fostering dogs (and when you already have two, trust me, it’s a challenge). My husband and I also finished remodeling our basement, turning it into a separate studio apartment.

Honestly, that’s a lot of doing. And as 2022 approaches, I think instead of using any extra time or spare motivation I have to come up with another challenge, maybe it’s time for a New Year’s non-resolution for me — a year where I focus on resting and recharging, instead of on constant doing.

I’m likely not the only one feeling this way. In 2021, search interest in “anxiety” and “therapy” reached all-time highs, as did “how to maintain mental health” and "self care ideas." And every year, “yoga” and “journaling” spike in January. In 2022, I want to do less and focus on taking care of myself, and here are a few tools I’m going to use to do that.

Rest more

2022 is going to be my year of sleep. The Nest Hub’s new Sleep Sensing will offer a better look at the quality of sleep I’m getting, and already the message I’ve received is: Get more of it. One piece of advice Sleep Sensing has given me based on my sleeping patterns is to try and get less light in my room — and I’m going to try waking up a little less abruptly by using Nest’s Gentle Wake Up feature, which slowly brightens my lights. And in stark comparison to my running goals from the past two years, in 2022 I’m going to try and run…less. Fitbit’s Daily Readiness feature tells me when it’s time for a rest day, a reminder I definitely need. (I blame running endorphins!)

Practice mindfulness

For me, mindfulness and meditation are more difficult than jumping up to physically do something. Search has a quick fix: Search “breathing exercise” and use the one-minute meditation.

Screenshot of the term "breathing exercise" in a Google Search Bar. Below, there is a video with helpful exercises for users.

Take a solo trip

I tend to over-plan trips — ask my family (there are a variety of Google Sheets dedicated to my vacations). In 2022, I’m not sure I can drop the side hustle of being my own personal travel agent, but I’m going to do the planning for a solo vacay. I like to think of myself as a Google Flights power user, and since I only have myself to think about, I only have to take my calendar into consideration when I set up a price alert for destinations I’m interested in. And I’ll use the Explore feature to select “outdoors” to narrow it down.

Maybe I’ll decide on a low key break, though and just stay home. In 2021, searches for staycation reached an all-time high — if I truly want to “do less,” maybe I’ll consider that option instead…but the year is young, so I have plenty of time to decide.

Go even greener this holiday season

I’m always looking for ways to be more sustainable. And with the holidays in full swing, when many of us (✋) are particularly overindulgent, it’s a fitting time to start eco-friendlier traditions.

Here are a few ways you can embrace more green this holiday season, with help from Google.

Take the road less wasteful

Traveling for the holidays this year? It’s easy to find more sustainable ways to get where you’re going. Google Flights now shows estimated carbon emissions for every flight. And if you’re hitting the road, Google Maps lets you choose the most fuel-efficient driving route if it’s not already the fastest one. If you also need a place to crash (other than your parents’ house), a quick Google search for hotels will show you information about their sustainability efforts.

Gif showing a flight’s carbon emissions information from a list on Google Flights.

Look up estimated carbon emissions on Google Flights.

Save (your) energy

It’s tempting to keep the living room holiday lights on all night — not only because they’re festive, but so you can avoid the tangled wires to turn them off. If you connect them to your Google Nest or Home speaker or display using a compatible smart plug, you can easily turn them off with your voice, conserving energy for both you and the planet. You can also set up a Routine so they automatically turn on and off at a specific time every day. While you’re at it, save even more energy with a Home & Away Routine for your Nest thermostat to automatically adjust the heat at different points of the day, including when you’re out of the house.

Recycle the old, in with the new

After the holidays, many of us are faced with mountains of boxes, wrapping paper and, oh yes, a tree. You may also need to make space for new gifts — like the Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro? 😉 — that are replacing old gadgets. By viewing Business Profiles on Google Maps and Search, you can see where to recycle or properly dispose of certain materials so they don’t end up in landfills. If you’re looking to recycle an old Google device or other electronics you're no longer using, check out our mail-in program.

Gif of mobile screen scrolling to see recycling options at “Green-r Recycle Center.”

Check out Business Profiles on Google Maps and Search to see where (and what) to recycle.

Stir up sustainably

The Food at Google team, who keeps our global offices’ kitchens running and operating sustainably, shared some tips for cooking responsibly this holiday season:

  • Get scrappy: Use scraps to make your food go further — broccoli stalks in a stir fry, stale bread for a strata, or vegetable leaves and stems for pesto, dips or chimichurri.
  • Stay in season: Research what’s in season so the foods you’re using are at peak flavor and more likely to be available locally, helping to reduce carbon emissions from packaging and shipping.
  • Save for later: Make room for leftovers in your fridge or freezer ahead of time, and read up on how to properly store foods so they last even longer.

Consider also donating any non-perishable foods you don’t use to a food bank or pantry. In the U.S., you can search for “food pantry near me” to quickly find verified locations across the country.

Winter is coming: 9 ways to enjoy it with Google

As a native Oregonian, I thought living in California would be an incredible break from the nine months of rain I’d endured growing up. What I didn’t realize was that 70-degree winters felt…wrong. Where were the mittens? The down jackets? The occasional snowy days? I’ve since moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and I’ve had a renewed appreciation for winter weather.

In fact, I enjoy the chilly months of the year so much, I’ve put together a few ways to make the most of the cold weather.

  1. I love snowshoeing, and I always want to find new trails. I use Google Maps to look for mountain biking and hiking trails that are covered in snow in the winter. (Just look for the hiking icons, or the light dash lines that indicate trails.) If I come across a good one, I label it on Maps so I know how to get back.
Animated GIF showing trails on Google Maps and how you can select and label them; this one is being saved to a list called “trails.”

2. I’m a year-round runner, but once the temperature dips below 50 Fahrenheit and the roads get wet or icy, I need new gear — all of which I can find in one place using Google Shopping. You can select the Sports & Outdoors tab to browse — and turn on the deals filter for discounts.

3. And when I’m returning from a chilly run, I can use the Google Home app to turn on my Nest Thermostat before I get home, so I know I’m not wasting energy while I’m out and the house will be toasty when I come in. I also use Home & Away Routines so that Nest knows when I’m out and can adjust my temperature automatically.

4. OK fine, there’s one downside of winter weather, and that’s how early it gets dark. I use Google Assistant to notify me an hour before sunset so I can get outside for some sunshine before the sun goes down.

5. We’ve started cutting down our own Christmas tree, which is actually pretty easy to do. A quick Google Search for cutting down a tree on federal land will help you find a map (and how you can purchase a permit). Then you can just use Google Maps to take you to the right area.

6. If I’m feeling really adventurous and ready to hit the slopes, I’ll check out the Explore tool on google.com/travel. I can set my home as the point of origin and then select “skiing” under the Interests filter and see what ski towns I can visit.

Animated GIF showing the United States on Google Maps. The arrow selects the “interests” tab and then “skiing” to surface ski towns in different parts of the country.

7. I love a good Google Alert to stay up to date on what’s going on locally. Once November rolls around, I set one for “Oregon winter festivals.”

8. Pixel cameras take incredible photos in dimly lit areas, so using Night Sight for shots of light displays or snowy nights is a no-brainer. And if you’ve already snagged a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro, those photos will look even better: The new Pixel camera lets in 2.5 times as much light as the Pixel 5, and you can try out the new Motion Mode setting to capture an artsy falling snow pic.

9. Most winter nights, I make a real fire — but when I don’t feel like hauling in wood, there’s always a YouTube version, complete with crackle.