Tag Archives: Google Search

Improving Search to better protect people from harassment

Over the past two decades of building Google Search, we’ve continued to improve and refine our ability to provide the highest quality results for the billions of queries we see every day. Our core principles guide every improvement, as we constantly update Search to work better for you. One area we’d like to shed more light on is how we balance maximizing access to information with the responsibility to protect people from online harassment.


We design our ranking systems to surface high quality results for as many queries as possible, but some types of queries are more susceptible to bad actors and require specialized solutions. One such example is websites that employ exploitative removals practices. These are sites that require payment to remove content, and since 2018 we’ve had a policy that enables people to request removal of pages with information about them from our results. 


Beyond removing these pages from appearing in Google Search, we also used these removals as a demotion signal in Search, so that sites that have these exploitative practices rank lower in results. This solution leads the industry, and is effective in helping people who are victims of harassment from these sites. 


However, we found that there are some extraordinary cases of repeated harassment. The New York Times highlighted one such case, and shed light on some limitations of our approach.


To help people who are dealing with extraordinary cases of repeated harassment, we’re implementing an improvement to our approach to further protect known victims. Now, once someone has requested a removal from one site with predatory practices, we will automatically apply ranking protections to help prevent content from other similar low quality sites appearing in search results for people’s names. We’re also looking to expand these protections further, as part of our ongoing work in this space.


This change was inspired by a similar approach we’ve taken with victims of non-consensual explicit content, commonly known as revenge porn. While no solution is perfect, our evaluations show that these changes meaningfully improve the quality of our results.


Over the years of building Search, our approach has remained consistent: We take examples of queries where we’re not doing the best job in providing high quality results, and look for ways to make improvements to our algorithms. In this way, we don’t “fix” individual queries, since they’re often a symptom of a class of problems that affect many different queries. Our ability to address issues continues to lead the industry, and we’ve deployed advanced technology, tools and quality signals over the last two decades, making Search work better every day.


Search is never a solved problem, and there are always new challenges we face as the web and the world change. We’re committed to listening to feedback and looking for ways to improve the quality of our results.


Source: Search


Catch all the big plays with sports web stories

Aren’t able to catch the game and watch your favorite team live? We've all been there before. But now, when you come to Google looking for the latest updates on your favorite team or game scores from around the league, with Google Web Stories you can also instantly catch up on the big moments and in-game action you might have missed. And with the start of UEFA EURO 2020 just around the corner, football fans in countries across Europe, Africa and Asia can also get in on the action — just search for your team or the name of the tournament. 


Web Stories is an online tappable storybook curated with videos, GIFs and images, bringing you real-time, in-game sports highlights easily accessible from Google Search. Through collaborations with sports leagues and broadcasters from around the world, you can quickly catch up on what you have missed, or re-watch key plays in just a few taps.  You can already find these Web Stories for some of the world’s most popular sports leagues including baseball, basketball, cricket, golf, hockey and now football. With the addition of more leagues and broadcasters in the coming months, soon you’ll have access to even more great sports content.


Screen recording of someone viewing an MLB Web Story through Search

Major League Baseball was one of the earliest adopters of Web Stories, launching in time for the 2019 Postseason and expanding ever since. This season, MLB Game Stories are available globally for every game, in both English and Spanish. Fans in different countries can now catch up on baseball highlights from their devices within one to two minutes of the play happening on the field. The end result: fans are connected to the information they’re looking for through unparalleled access to real-time content and our partners expand their reach -- talk about a home run! 

Screenshot of a MLB Web Story in Spanish

MLB Web Stories are available in Spanish too!

We are excited to be rolling this feature across select countries for UEFA EURO 2020 and can't wait to continue to expand. So whether you want to see every game-defining play that led to your team’s win, or begrudgingly try to understand how your team could have possibly lost to their biggest rivals, Web Stories can connect you to all the action on Search.

Source: Search


New tools to support vaccine access and distribution

While over half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, vaccine uptake is slowing across the country. Research shows a variety of factors are preventing people from getting vaccinated — from physical access issues, like transportation challenges and not being able to take time off work, to concerns about safety and side effects. 

To help public health officials and researchers in the U.S. reach people facing these challenges, we’re introducing new tools to better understand the vaccination needs of a community. This builds on our work of providing data, insights and tools to public health, epidemiologists, researchers and policymakers since the early days of the pandemic. 

Equitable access to vaccinations 

For some people getting vaccinated is as simple as walking a few blocks to their local pharmacy. For others, it may be much more difficult and involve a long drive or navigating public transit. If public health officials, researchers and healthcare providers can identify areas where vaccination sites are inaccessible or hard to reach, they may be able to implement measures like pop-up vaccine sites or transportation support like ride vouchers.  

Our COVID-19 Vaccination Access Dataset, which is available to the public today, calculates travel time to vaccination sites to identify areas where it may be difficult to reach a site whether someone is walking, driving or taking public transportation. We prepared this dataset using Google Maps Platform Directions API, the same API that powers navigation in Google Maps. This dataset does not contain any user data.

This dataset will help power a new Vaccine Equity Plannerdashboard from Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and  Boston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. . This dashboard integrates our dataset with data from other organizations, such as the CDC’s social vulnerability index, to identify “vaccine deserts,” or areas where people have little or no convenient access to a vaccine site, to inform interventions such as pop-up clinics or new sites. 

Vaccine Equity Planner dashboard for New York and Mississippi

Vaccine Equity Planner dashboard for New York and Mississippi.   

Understanding vaccine information needs 

Public health organizations have been the go-to sources for authoritative information throughout the pandemic, and have provided educational campaigns about the safety, efficacy and availability of vaccines. We’ve heard from public health organizations and researchers that they want access to localized and timely data about what information their communities are seeking so they can tailor their communication to people not yet vaccinated. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll introduce a COVID-19 Vaccination Search Insights tool to help public health officials and researchers explore vaccine-related concerns and the information needs of local communities. The tool will show trends representing the relative search interests across three search categories: all vaccine information, intent to get vaccinated (such as eligibility, availability and sites), and safety and side effects. Insights will be provided at the county and zip code level and updated weekly.  

The trends are based on aggregate and anonymized Google Search data so that no user information is included. The process to anonymize the COVID-19 Vaccination Search Insights is powered by differential privacy, a technique that adds noise to the data to provide privacy guarantees while preserving the overall quality of the data. The data can be compared across different regions and over time, without sharing the absolute number of queries in any given area. 

Both tools will initially be available in English and for the U.S. As we get more feedback from public health organizations, researchers, and the community at large, we’ll evaluate expanding these tools internationally.

With these insights, we hope that public health organizations and healthcare providers can more easily and effectively reach their communities. Google will continue to do its part by providing timely and accurate vaccine information and appointment availability to people in Search and supporting organizations focused on vaccine equity. 

Source: Search


How we update Search to improve your results

Our computers, smartphones and apps are regularly updated to help make them better. The same thing happens with Google Search. In fact, Google Search is updated thousands of times a year to improve the experience and the quality of results. Here’s more on how that process works.


Why updates are important

Google Search receives billions of queries every day from countries around the world in 150 languages. Our automated systems identify the most relevant and reliable information from hundreds of billions of pages in our index to help people find what they’re looking for. Delivering great results at this type of scale and complexity requires many different systems, and we’re always looking for ways to improve these systems so we can display the most useful results possible.

Thanks to ongoing improvements, our evaluation processes show we’ve decreased the number of irrelevant results appearing on a search results page by over 40% over the past five years. Google sends billions of visits to websites each day, and by providing highly relevant results, we've been able to continue growing the traffic we send to sites every year since our founding.

We also send visitors to a wide range of sites — more than 100 million every day — so we’re helping sites from across the web and around the world get discovered. As new sites emerge and the web changes, continued updates are key to ensuring we’re supporting a wide range of publishers, creators and businesses, while providing searchers with the best information available.

How updates make Search better

Here are a few examples of what these updates look like:

Last month we launched an improvement we made to help people find better product reviews through Search. We have an automated system that tries to determine if a review  seems to go beyond just sharing basic information about a product and instead demonstrates in-depth research or expertise. This helps people find high quality information from the content producers who are making it.

Another example is an update we made several years ago that tries to determine if content is mobile-friendly. In situations where there are many possible matches with relatively equal relevancy, giving a preference to those that render better on mobile devices is more useful for users searching on those devices.

In any given week, we might implement dozens of updates that are meant to improve Search in incremental ways. These are improvements that have been fully tested and evaluated through our rating process. People using Search generally don’t notice these updates, but Google gets a little better with each one. Collectively, they add up to help Search continue providing great results.

Because there are so many incremental updates, it’s not useful for us to share details about all of them. However, we try to do so when we feel there is actionable information that site owners, content producers or others might consider applying, as was the case with both of the updates mentioned above.

Core updates involve broad improvements to Search

Periodically, we make more substantial improvements to our overall ranking processes. We refer to these as core updates, and they can produce some noticeable changes — though typically these are more often noticed by people actively running websites or performing search engine optimization (SEO) than ordinary users.

This is why we give notice when these kinds of updates are coming. We want site owners to understand these changes aren't because of something they've done but rather because of how our systems have been improved to better assess content overall and better address user expectations. We also want to remind them that nothing in a core update (or any update) is specific to a particular site, but is rather about improving Search overall. As we’ve said previously in our guidance about this:


There's nothing wrong with pages that may perform less well in a core update. They haven't violated our webmaster guidelines nor been subjected to manual or algorithmic action, as can happen to pages that do violate those guidelines. In fact, there's nothing in a core update that targets specific pages or sites. Instead, the changes are about improving how our systems assess content overall. These changes may cause some pages that were previously under-rewarded to do better.

One way to think of how a core update operates is to imagine that in 2015 you made a list of the top 100 movies. A few years later in 2019, you refresh the list. It's going to naturally change. Some new and wonderful movies that never existed before will now be candidates for inclusion. You might also reassess some films and realize they deserved a higher place on the list than they had before.

The list will change, and films previously higher on the list that move down aren't bad. There are simply more deserving films that are coming before them.

Core updates are designed to increase the overall relevancy of our search results. In terms of traffic we send, it’s largely a net exchange. Some content might do less well, but other content gains. In the long term, improving our systems in this way is how we’ve continued to improve Search and send more traffic to sites across the web every year.


How we help businesses and creators with guidance and tools 

While there’s nothing specific sites need to implement for core updates, we provide guidance and actionable advice that may help them be successful with Search overall. Following this guidance isn't a guarantee a site will rank well for every query it wants to. That’s not something Google or any other search engine could guarantee.

Any particular query can have thousands of pages or other content that's all relevant in some way. It’s impossible to show all this content at the top of our results. And that wouldn’t be useful for searchers, who come to Search precisely because they expect us to show the most helpful information first.

By following our core update guidance, businesses, site owners and content creators can help us better understand when they really have the most relevant and useful content to display. We also recommend sites follow our quality guidelines, implement our optimization tips and make use of the free Search Console tool that anyone can use.

These kinds of updates, along with the tools and advice we offer, are how we make sure we keep connecting searchers to content creators, businesses and others who have the helpful information they’re looking for.

Source: Search


Google I/O 2021: Being helpful in moments that matter

 

It’s great to be back hosting our I/O Developers Conference this year. Pulling up to our Mountain View campus this morning, I felt a sense of normalcy for the first time in a long while. Of course, it’s not the same without our developer community here in person. COVID-19 has deeply affected our entire global community over the past year and continues to take a toll. Places such as Brazil, and my home country of India, are now going through their most difficult moments of the pandemic yet. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by COVID and we are all hoping for better days ahead.

The last year has put a lot into perspective. At Google, it’s also given renewed purpose to our mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. We continue to approach that mission with a singular goal: building a more helpful Google, for everyone. That means being helpful to people in the moments that matter and giving everyone the tools to increase their knowledge, success, health, and happiness. 

Helping in moments that matter

Sometimes it’s about helping in big moments, like keeping 150 million students and educators learning virtually over the last year with Google Classroom. Other times it’s about helping in little moments that add up to big changes for everyone. For example, we’re introducing safer routing in Maps. This AI-powered capability in Maps can identify road, weather, and traffic conditions where you are likely to brake suddenly; our aim is to reduce up to 100 million events like this every year. 

Reimagining the future of work

One of the biggest ways we can help is by reimagining the future of work. Over the last year, we’ve seen work transform in unprecedented ways, as offices and coworkers have been replaced by kitchen countertops and pets. Many companies, including ours, will continue to offer flexibility even when it’s safe to be in the same office again. Collaboration tools have never been more critical, and today we announced a new smart canvas experience in Google Workspace that enables even richer collaboration. 

Smart Canvas integration with Google Meet

Responsible next-generation AI

We’ve made remarkable advances over the past 22 years, thanks to our progress in some of the most challenging areas of AI, including translation, images and voice. These advances have powered improvements across Google products, making it possible to talk to someone in another language using Assistant’s interpreter mode, view cherished memories on Photos, or use Google Lens to solve a tricky math problem. 

We’ve also used AI to improve the core Search experience for billions of people by taking a huge leap forward in a computer’s ability to process natural language. Yet, there are still moments when computers just don’t understand us. That’s because language is endlessly complex: We use it to tell stories, crack jokes, and share ideas — weaving in concepts we’ve learned over the course of our lives. The richness and flexibility of language make it one of humanity’s greatest tools and one of computer science’s greatest challenges. 

Today I am excited to share our latest research in natural language understanding: LaMDA. LaMDA is a language model for dialogue applications. It’s open domain, which means it is designed to converse on any topic. For example, LaMDA understands quite a bit about the planet Pluto. So if a student wanted to discover more about space, they could ask about Pluto and the model would give sensible responses, making learning even more fun and engaging. If that student then wanted to switch over to a different topic — say, how to make a good paper airplane — LaMDA could continue the conversation without any retraining.

This is one of the ways we believe LaMDA can make information and computing radically more accessible and easier to use (and you can learn more about that here). 

We have been researching and developing language models for many years. We’re focused on ensuring LaMDA meets our incredibly high standards on fairness, accuracy, safety, and privacy, and that it is developed consistently with our AI Principles. And we look forward to incorporating conversation features into products like Google Assistant, Search, and Workspace, as well as exploring how to give capabilities to developers and enterprise customers.

LaMDA is a huge step forward in natural conversation, but it’s still only trained on text. When people communicate with each other they do it across images, text, audio, and video. So we need to build multimodal models (MUM) to allow people to naturally ask questions across different types of information. With MUM you could one day plan a road trip by asking Google to “find a route with beautiful mountain views.” This is one example of how we’re making progress towards more natural and intuitive ways of interacting with Search.

Pushing the frontier of computing

Translation, image recognition, and voice recognition laid the foundation for complex models like LaMDA and multimodal models. Our compute infrastructure is how we drive and sustain these advances, and TPUs, our custom-built machine learning processes, are a big part of that. Today we announced our next generation of TPUs: the TPU v4. These are powered by the v4 chip, which is more than twice as fast as the previous generation. One pod can deliver more than one exaflop, equivalent to the computing power of 10 million laptops combined. This is the fastest system we’ve ever deployed, and a historic milestone for us. Previously to get to an exaflop, you needed to build a custom supercomputer. And we'll soon have dozens of TPUv4 pods in our data centers, many of which will be operating at or near 90% carbon-free energy. They’ll be available to our Cloud customers later this year.

(Left) TPU v4 chip tray; (Right) TPU v4 pods at our Oklahoma data center 

It’s tremendously exciting to see this pace of innovation. As we look further into the future, there are types of problems that classical computing will not be able to solve in reasonable time. Quantum computing can help. Achieving our quantum milestone was a tremendous accomplishment, but we’re still at the beginning of a multiyear journey. We continue to work to get to our next big milestone in quantum computing: building an error-corrected quantum computer, which could help us increase battery efficiency, create more sustainable energy, and improve drug discovery. To help us get there, we’ve opened a new state of the art Quantum AI campus with our first quantum data center and quantum processor chip fabrication facilities.

Inside our new Quantum AI campus.

Safer with Google

At Google we know that our products can only be as helpful as they are safe. And advances in computer science and AI are how we continue to make them better. We keep more users safe by blocking malware, phishing attempts, spam messages, and potential cyber attacks than anyone else in the world.

Our focus on data minimization pushes us to do more, with less data. Two years ago at I/O, I announced Auto-Delete, which encourages users to have their activity data automatically and continuously deleted. We’ve since made Auto-Delete the default for all new Google Accounts. Now, after 18 months we automatically delete your activity data, unless you tell us to do it sooner. It’s now active for over 2 billion accounts.

All of our products are guided by three important principles: With one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures, our products are secure by default. We strictly uphold responsible data practices so every product we build is private by design. And we create easy to use privacy and security settings so you’re in control.

Long term research: Project Starline

We were all grateful to have video conferencing over the last year to stay in touch with family and friends, and keep schools and businesses going. But there is no substitute for being together in the room with someone. 

Several years ago we kicked off a project called Project Starline to use technology to explore what’s possible. Using high-resolution cameras and custom-built depth sensors, it captures your shape and appearance from multiple perspectives, and then fuses them together to create an extremely detailed, real-time 3D model. The resulting data is many gigabits per second, so to send an image this size over existing networks, we developed novel compression and streaming algorithms that reduce the data by a factor of more than 100. We also developed a breakthrough light-field display that shows you the realistic representation of someone sitting in front of you. As sophisticated as the technology is, it vanishes, so you can focus on what’s most important. 

We’ve spent thousands of hours testing it at our own offices, and the results are promising. There’s also excitement from our lead enterprise partners, and we’re working with partners in health care and media to get early feedback. In pushing the boundaries of remote collaboration, we've made technical advances that will improve our entire suite of communications products. We look forward to sharing more in the months ahead.

A person having a conversation with someone over Project Starline.

Solving complex sustainability challenges

Another area of research is our work to drive forward sustainability. Sustainability has been a core value for us for more than 20 years. We were the first major company to become carbon neutral in 2007. We were the first to match our operations with 100% renewable energy in 2017, and we’ve been doing it ever since. Last year we eliminated our entire carbon legacy. 

Our next ambition is our biggest yet: operating on carbon free energy by the year 2030. This represents a significant step change from current approaches and is a moonshot on the same scale as quantum computing. It presents equally hard problems to solve, from sourcing carbon-free energy in every place we operate to ensuring it can run every hour of every day. 

Building on the first carbon-intelligent computing platform that we rolled out last year, we’ll soon be the first company to implement carbon-intelligent load shifting across both time and place within our data center network. By this time next year we’ll be shifting more than a third of non-production compute to times and places with greater availability of carbon-free energy. And we are working to apply our Cloud AI with novel drilling techniques and fiber optic sensing to deliver geothermal power in more places, starting in our Nevada data centers next year.

Investments like these are needed to get to 24/7 carbon-free energy, and it’s happening in Mountain View, California, too. We’re building our new campus to the highest sustainability standards. When completed, these buildings will feature a first- of- its- kind, dragonscale solar skin, equipped with 90,000 silver solar panels and the capacity to generate nearly 7 megawatts. They will house the largest geothermal pile system in North America to help heat buildings in the winter and cool them in the summer. It’s been amazing to see it come to life.

(Left) Rendering of the new Charleston East campus in Mountain View, California; (Right) Model view with dragon scale solar skin.

A celebration of technology

I/O isn’t just a celebration of technology but of the people who use it, and build it — including the millions of developers around the world who joined us virtually today. Over the past year we’ve seen people use technology in profound ways: to keep themselves healthy and safe, to learn and grow, to connect, and to help one another through really difficult times. It’s been inspiring to see and has made us more committed than ever to being helpful in the moments that matter. 

I look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s I/O — in person, I hope. Until then, be safe and well.

Posted by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet

Search, explore and shop the world’s information, powered by AI

AI advancements push the boundaries of what Google products can do. Nowhere is this clearer than at the core of our mission to make information more accessible and useful for everyone.


We've spent more than two decades developing not just a better understanding of information on the web, but a better understanding of the world. Because when we understand information, we can make it more helpful  — whether you’re a remote student learning a complex new subject, a caregiver looking for trusted information on COVID vaccines or a parent searching for the best route home.


Deeper understanding with MUM

One of the hardest problems for search engines today is helping you with complex tasks — like planning what to do on a family outing. These often require multiple searches to get the information you need. In fact, we find that it takes people eight searches on average to complete complex tasks.


With a new technology called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM, we're able to better understand much more complex questions and needs, so in the future, it will require fewer searches to get things done. Like BERT, MUM is built on a Transformer architecture, but it’s 1,000 times more powerful and can multitask in order to unlock information in new ways. MUM not only understands language, but also generates it. It’s trained across 75 different languages and many different tasks at once, allowing it to develop a more comprehensive understanding of information and world knowledge than previous models. And MUM is multimodal, so it understands information across text and images and in the future, can expand to more modalities like video and audio.


Imagine a question like: “I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?” This would stump search engines today, but in the future, MUM could understand this complex task and generate a response, pointing to highly relevant results to dive deeper. We’ve already started internal pilots with MUM and are excited about its potential for improving Google products.

 

Information comes to life with Lens and AR

People come to Google to learn new things, and visuals can make all the difference. Google Lens lets you search what you see — from your camera, your photos or even your search bar. Today we’re seeing more than 3 billion searches with Lens every month, and an increasingly popular use case is learning. For example, many students might have schoolwork in a language they aren't very familiar with. That’s why we’re updating the Translate filter in Lens so it’s easy to copy, listen to or search translated text, helping students access education content from the web in over 100 languages.

 

Google Lens’s Translate filter applied to homework.

AR is also a powerful tool for visual learning. With the new AR athletes in Search, you can see signature moves from some of your favorite athletes in AR — like Simone Biles’s famous balance beam routine.

Simone Biles’s balance beam routine surfaced by the AR athletes in Search feature.

Evaluate information with About This Result 

Helpful information should be credible and reliable, and especially during moments like the pandemic or elections, people turn to Google for trustworthy information. 

 

Our ranking systems are designed to prioritize high-quality information, but we also help you evaluate the credibility of sources, right in Google Search. Our About This Result feature provides details about a website before you visit it, including its description, when it was first indexed and whether your connection to the site is secure. 

 

 

This month, we’ll start rolling out About This Result to all English results worldwide, with more languages to come. Later this year, we’ll add even more detail, like how a site describes itself, what other sources are saying about it and related articles to check out. 

 

Exploring the real world with Maps

Google Maps transformed how people navigate, explore and get things done in the world — and we continue to push the boundaries of what a map can be with industry-first features like AR navigation in Live View at scale. We recently announced we’re on track to launch over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps by the end of year, and today, we’re introducing a few of the newest ones. Our new routing updates are designed to reduce the likelihood of hard-braking on your drive using machine learning and historical navigation information — which we believe could eliminate over 100 million hard-braking events in routes driven with Google Maps each year.

 

If you’re looking for things to do, our more tailored map will spotlight relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling. Enhancements to Live View and detailed street maps will help you explore and get a deep understanding of an area as quickly as possible. And if you want to see how busy neighborhoods and parts of town are, you’ll be able to do this at a glance as soon as you open Maps.


More ways to shop with Google 

People are shopping across Google more than a billion times per day, and our AI-enhanced Shopping Graph — our deep understanding of products, sellers, brands, reviews, product information and inventory data — powers many features that help you find exactly what you’re looking for.


Because shopping isn’t always a linear experience, we’re introducing new ways to explore and keep track of products. Now, when you take a screenshot, Google Photos will prompt you to search the photo with Lens, so you can immediately shop for that item if you want. And on Chrome, we’ll help you keep track of shopping carts you’ve begun to fill, so you can easily resume your virtual shopping trip. We're also working with retailers to surface loyalty benefits for customers earlier, to help inform their decisions.


Last year we made it free for merchants to sell their products on Google. Now, we’re introducing a new, simplified process that helps Shopify’s 1.7 million merchants make their products discoverable across Google in just a few clicks.  


Whether we’re understanding the world’s information, or helping you understand it too, we’re dedicated to making our products more useful every day. And with the power of AI, no matter how complex your task, we’ll be able to bring you the highest quality, most relevant results.  


Posted by Prabhakar Raghavan, Senior Vice President

An update on our COVID response priorities

 Our teams at Google continue to support the tireless work of hospitals, nonprofits, and public health service providers across the country. Right now, we’re focused on three priority areas: ensuring people can access the latest and most authoritative information; amplifying vital safety and vaccination messages; and providing financial backing for affected communities, health authorities and other organizations.

Providing critical and authoritative information

On all our platforms, we’re taking steps to surface the critical information families and communities need to care for their own health and look after others.

Searches on the COVID-19 vaccine display key information around side effects, effectiveness, and registration details, while treatment-related queries surface guidance from ministry resources

When people ask questions about vaccines on Google Search, they see information panels that display the latest updates on vaccine safety, efficacy and side-effects, plus registration information that directs users to the Co-WIN website. You will also find information about prevention, self-care, and treatment under the Prevention and Treatment tab, in easy-to-understand language sourced from authorised medical sources and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

On YouTube we’re surfacing authoritative information in a set of playlists, about vaccines, preventing the spread of COVID-19, and facts from experts on COVID-19 care.

Our YouTube India channel features a set of playlists to share tips and information on COVID-19 care 

Testing and vaccination center locations

In addition to showing 2,500 testing centers on Search and Maps, we’re now sharing the locations of over 23,000 vaccination centers nationwide, in English and eight Indian languages. And we’re continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to make more vaccination center information available to users throughout India.

Searching for vaccines in Maps and Search now shows over 23,000 vaccination centers across the country, in English and eight Indian languages

Pilot on hospital beds and medical oxygen availability

We know that some of the most crucial information people are searching for is the availability of hospital beds and access to medical oxygen. To help them find answers more easily, we’re testing a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps that enables people to ask about and share local information on availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations. As this will be user generated content and not provided by authorised sources, it may be required to verify the accuracy and freshness of the information before utilizing it.

Amplifying vital safety and vaccination messages

As well as providing authoritative answers to queries, we’re using our channels to help extend the reach of health information campaigns. That includes the ‘Get the Facts’ around vaccines campaign, to encourage people to focus on authoritative information and content for vaccines. We’re also surfacing important safety messages through promotions on the Google homepage, Doodles and reminders within our apps and services.

Via the Google Search homepage and reminders within our apps and services, we are reminding people to stay safe and stay masked, and get authoritative information on vaccines

Supporting health authorities, organizations, and affected communities

Since the second wave began, we’ve been running an internal donation campaign to raise funds for nonprofit organizations helping those most in need, including GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation India, GOONJ, and United Way of Mumbai. This campaign has raised over $4.6 million (INR 33 crore) to date, and continues to generate much-needed support for relief efforts. 

We recognize that many more nonprofits need donations, and that Indians are eager to help where they can—so we’ve rolled out a COVID Aid campaign on Google Pay, featuring non-profit organizations like GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation, Goonj, Save the Children, Seeds, UNICEF India  (National NGOs) and United Way. We want to thank all our Google Pay users who have contributed to these organisations, and we hope this effort will make a difference where it matters most. 

On Google Pay people can contribute funds to non-profit organizations involved in COVID response

As India battles this devastating wave, we’ll keep doing all we can to support the selfless individuals and committed organizations on the front lines of the response. There’s a long way to go—but standing together in solidarity, working together with determination, we can and will turn the tide.  

Posted by the Covid Response team, Google India


Five ways we’re making Google the safer way to search

The web is home to a lot of great things. But it is also a place where bad actors can try to take advantage of you or access your personal information. That's why we're always working to keep you safe while you search, and also to give you the tools to take control of your Search experience.  


Here are five ways we're making Google the safer way to search: 


1. Fighting spam

The last thing you want to worry about when you’re looking for cake recipes or researching a work project is landing on a malicious website where your identity might get stolen. It’s our job to help protect you from that, and it’s one we take very seriously. 


In 2020, we detected 40 billion pages of spam every day — including sites that have been hacked or deceptively created to steal your personal information — and blocked them from appearing in your results. Beyond traditional webspam, we’ve expanded our effort to protect you against other types of abuse like scams and fraud. Since 2018, we’ve been able to protect hundreds of millions of searches a year from ending up on scammy sites that try to deceive you with keyword stuffing, logos of brands they're imitating or a scam phone number they want you to call. 


We’re also providing web creators with resources to understand potential website vulnerabilities and better protect their sites, as well as tools to see if their sites have been hacked. This work is helping the entire web stay safer, and making it easier for you to land on safe sites with great experiences. To learn more about our work to fight spam on Search, read our 2020 Webspam Report.


2. Encrypting searches 

We also safeguard you from more than spam. We use encryption to prevent hackers and unwanted third parties from seeing what you are looking up or accessing your information. All searches made on google.com or in the Google app are protected by encrypting the connection between your device and Google, keeping your information safer.  


3. Helping you learn more about your
results before you click 

Another way we protect users is by giving you the tools and context to learn more about your Search results. Let’s say you’re searching for something and find a result from a source you aren’t familiar with. By clicking on the three dots next to your result, you can see website descriptions, when Google first indexed the site, and whether or not a site’s connection is secure. This added context enables you to make a more informed decision about the source before clicking the blue link.


4. Browsing safely 

Sometimes in the excitement of trying to learn more about a topic, you end up clicking on a link to a dangerous site without even realizing it. But with Google Safe Browsing, we’ve got you covered. This feature currently protects over four billion devices and when enabled in Chrome, displays warning messages letting you know that the site you are trying to enter might be unsafe, protecting you and your personal information from potential malware and phishing scams. 


5. Protecting you from bad ads

Providing you access to high-quality and reliable information on Search also extends to the ads you see while searching for products, services and content. To ensure those ads aren’t scams or being misused, we are constantly developing and enforcing policies that put users first. In 2020, we blocked or removed approximately 3.1 billion ads for violating our policies and restricted an additional 6.4 billion ads, across all of our platforms including Search. 


All of these tools were created with you in mind, so you can click on that carrot cake recipe knowing that we are working hard to help keep you safe online.


Source: Search


Five ways we’re making Google the safer way to search

The web is home to a lot of great things. But it is also a place where bad actors can try to take advantage of you or access your personal information. That's why we're always working to keep you safe while you search, and also to give you the tools to take control of your Search experience.  


Here are five ways we're making Google the safer way to search: 


1. Fighting spam

The last thing you want to worry about when you’re looking for cake recipes or researching a work project is landing on a malicious website where your identity might get stolen. It’s our job to help protect you from that, and it’s one we take very seriously. 


In 2020, we detected 40 billion pages of spam every day — including sites that have been hacked or deceptively created to steal your personal information — and blocked them from appearing in your results. Beyond traditional webspam, we’ve expanded our effort to protect you against other types of abuse like scams and fraud. Since 2018, we’ve been able to protect hundreds of millions of searches a year from ending up on scammy sites that try to deceive you with keyword stuffing, logos of brands they're imitating or a scam phone number they want you to call. 


We’re also providing web creators with resources to understand potential website vulnerabilities and better protect their sites, as well as tools to see if their sites have been hacked. This work is helping the entire web stay safer, and making it easier for you to land on safe sites with great experiences. To learn more about our work to fight spam on Search, read our 2020 Webspam Report.


2. Encrypting searches 

We also safeguard you from more than spam. We use encryption to prevent hackers and unwanted third parties from seeing what you are looking up or accessing your information. All searches made on google.com or in the Google app are protected by encrypting the connection between your device and Google, keeping your information safer.  


3. Helping you learn more about your
results before you click 

Another way we protect users is by giving you the tools and context to learn more about your Search results. Let’s say you’re searching for something and find a result from a source you aren’t familiar with. By clicking on the three dots next to your result, you can see website descriptions, when Google first indexed the site, and whether or not a site’s connection is secure. This added context enables you to make a more informed decision about the source before clicking the blue link.


4. Browsing safely 

Sometimes in the excitement of trying to learn more about a topic, you end up clicking on a link to a dangerous site without even realizing it. But with Google Safe Browsing, we’ve got you covered. This feature currently protects over four billion devices and when enabled in Chrome, displays warning messages letting you know that the site you are trying to enter might be unsafe, protecting you and your personal information from potential malware and phishing scams. 


5. Protecting you from bad ads

Providing you access to high-quality and reliable information on Search also extends to the ads you see while searching for products, services and content. To ensure those ads aren’t scams or being misused, we are constantly developing and enforcing policies that put users first. In 2020, we blocked or removed approximately 3.1 billion ads for violating our policies and restricted an additional 6.4 billion ads, across all of our platforms including Search. 


All of these tools were created with you in mind, so you can click on that carrot cake recipe knowing that we are working hard to help keep you safe online.


Source: Search


Bring iconic Japanese characters to life with AR in Search

We all need a bit of escapism sometimes, and there’s nothing like a blast from the pop-culture past to do the trick. Today, we’re bringing characters from classic Japanese anime, games and TV shows to life — from Pac-Man to Hello Kitty — with augmented reality (AR) in Search. 


Japan’s anime and video game culture emerged between the 1950s and the 1980s, as comic books, gaming arcades and home TVs and consoles boomed. But it wasn’t just a Japanese phenomenon. The most iconic characters caught people’s imaginations around the world, and they’re still hugely popular today. 


Which animated icon is most searched on Google? Pac-Man leads the pack by a long way: worldwide search interest in the hungry dot-gobbler is more than double the next most-searched character, Hello Kitty. What might surprise you is that the top country for search interest in Pac-Man over the past five years was...Peru. Hello Kitty is most searched in the Philippines. 


When it comes to the broader trends, anime wins out. It’s more popular than video games worldwide, with interest for anime climbing to its highest peak on record in the past month. That’s pretty amazing — and in fact, search interest for “anime sugoi” (or “anime is amazing”) has spiked 2,300% in the past five years globally.
An animated world map showing search interest in anime characters over the past five years

Now, you can have these characters do their cute thing right in front of your eyes. Take a break to watch ghosts chasing after Pac-Man or Gundam swoop in your living room! Characters that are viewable in AR include Evangelion, Hello Kitty, Gomora, Gundam, Pac-Man and Ultraman. (For die-hard otaku who can read Japanese, check out our Japanese blog with the full list.)

An animation showing how the Japanese anime characters will look in augmented reality on Google Search

How to access and share:

Search for one of the characters on Google using a mobile device and tap “View in 3D” to rotate or zoom in and see it up close. You can then bring the characters from outer space into your space with AR and turn up your volume to hear Hello Kitty deliver a cute message, or Pac-man's retro sound effects.

  • Android: Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app or any Android browser and tap “View in 3D.” You can see 3D content on devices with Android 7 Plus and you can see AR content on ARCore-enabled devices.
  • iOS:  Search for “Hello Kitty” or one of the 14 characters on the Google app. 3D and AR content is available on iOS 11.0+ devices.
You can also create AR videos — or recreate your favorite scenes — with the recording option. Don’t forget to tag your photos and videos on social with #Google3D.

Source: Search