Tag Archives: Search

Producer Peter Cottentale captures 2020 in a song

Checkout the song, ‘Together,’ the backing track to Year in Search.

In a year unlike any other, we knew Google’s 2020 Year in Search campaign would need to take a unique approach. Each year, Google Trends data reflects not only everyday queries, but also the moments, people and ideas that defined that year. Inspired by the year’s Trends data, music producer Peter Cottontale created the song highlighted in Year in Search.

Peter is a GRAMMY–winning producer and musician for his work with Chance the Rapper.  He self released his first solo album, CATCH, earlier this year. He’s also collaborated with artists all over the world over the past decade as a composer, producer, and music director, as well as a featured artist primarily on keys. And the Chicago native has a special place in his heart for working with artists from his hometown.
Peter Cottontale

Peter wrote and produced the song “Together”in collaboration with Chance the Rapper, Cynthia Erivo, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Matt Jones (of Re-Collective Orchestra,) and Rachel Robinson and Jamila Woods. “Together” acknowledges 2020’s heartaches and challenges, as well as the need for communities to come together. Ultimately, Peter’s song delivers a message of hope.

We sat down with Peter to learn more about his creative process, why this song meant so much to him and the importance of lifting Black voices.

What inspired Together?

After hearing about the plans for Year in Search, the context and vision for the project really stood out. From health concerns to the spotlight on the Black struggle, it felt like the right way to help contextualize, increase representation and create opportunities for all of those involved through Google’s Year in Search campaign. My hope is that showcasing opportunities for Black artists with Google will lead to more opportunities and other projects down the road. 

Tell us about your creative process. 

We had initial meetings discussing what 2020 has meant to people. The cast of people involved in creating the music and the film were, if not leaders themselves, surrounded by leaders who in their own way are pushing for change in the community. It was also about giving everyone hope and a bit of celebration too. We wanted to show that by working together, growing together, we will get through this.

How did you select the talent that helped bring your vision to reality?

In a year where the focus has been on Black women, I wanted to showcase and highlight amazing Black women artists and writers.  I worked with Jamila Woods and Young Chicago Authors to develop some of the early concepts for the record. Cynthia Erivo, an amazing artist and Black woman,  was the featured female vocalist on the track. And we also included Black artists from a variety of different genres and experiences. To really capture the essence of this year, we asked the Chicago Children’s Choir to join the project. The organization’s social justice history and effort to bring young voices of different backgrounds together through song truly inspired me. 

What impact has this year had on you, both personally and professionally? 

This year has been the craziest year of my life so far for sure, and I’m sure others feel the same way too. I learned how to run and operate my recording studio in the middle of shutdowns, with virtual sessions and other offerings. I had to get really creative about how I rolled out my own music and merchandise. I was in the streets most of the summer alongside community leaders, serving and amplifying the work of friends around me who spent their summer protesting and fighting for Black Lives. And of course, I’ve had to navigate and work around production delays caused by COVID-19, so I’ve found different ways of getting things done, and grown in patience. As tough as this year has been, it has been full of blessings and so many great lessons. I’m really excited for the future.

What is your wish for the future of diversity and representation in creative fields and the music industry?

Wow, I have to pick one wish? I always wish for the progression of diversity and the advancement of authentic representation in writers rooms, media and development of culture-based environments.  So often, equity gets lost somewhere, for non-creatives and creatives alike. Black people are a disenfranchised minority who are affected by misrepresentation on a daily basis on macro and micro levels. I couldn’t possibly solve [this] with one wish.

As 2020 comes to an end, we are excited to share “Together” with the world. Thank you, Peter and everyone involved the making of this much needed piece of music.

Source: Search


El productor Peter Cottentale captura el 2020 en una canción

Echa un vistazo a la canción "Together", la pista de acompañamiento de "El año en búsquedas" ...

En un año como ningún otro, sabíamos que la campaña 2020 de Year in Search tendría que adoptar un enfoque único. Cada año, los datos de Google Trends reflejan no solo las consultas diarias, sino también los momentos, las personas y las ideas que definieron ese año. Inspirado por los datos de Tendencias del año, el productor musical Peter Cottontale creó la canción destacada en Year in Search.

Peter Cottontale

Peter es un productor y músico ganador del GRAMMY por su trabajo con Chance the Rapper. Él mismo lanzó su primer solo álbum, CATCH, a principios de este año. También ha colaborado con artistas de todo el mundo durante la última década como compositor, productor y director musical, así como también como artista destacado principalmente en los teclados. El nativo de Chicago tiene un lugar especial en su corazón para trabajar con artistas de su ciudad natal.

Peter escribió y produjo la canción "Together" en colaboración con Chance the Rapper, Cynthia Erivo, el Chicago Children’s Choir, Matt Jones (de Re-Collective Orchestra), Rachel Robinson y Jamila Woods. "Juntos" reconoce las angustias y los desafíos del 2020, así como la necesidad de que las comunidades se unan. Al final, la canción de Peter transmite un mensaje de esperanza.

Nos sentamos con Peter para aprender más sobre su proceso creativo, por qué esta canción significaba tanto para él y la importancia de elevar las voces negras.

¿Qué inspiró Together?

Después de escuchar sobre los planes para "El Año en Búsquedas", el contexto y la visión del proyecto realmente se destacaron. Desde problemas de salud hasta el foco en la lucha de la comunidad negra, se sintió como la forma correcta de ayudar a contextualizar, aumentar la representación y crear oportunidades para todos los involucrados a través de la campaña "El Año en Búsquedas" de Google. Mi esperanza es que mostrar oportunidades para artistas negros con Google genere más oportunidades y otros proyectos en el futuro.

Cuéntanos sobre tu proceso creativo.

Tuvimos reuniones iniciales para discutir lo que el 2020 ha significado para las personas. El elenco de personas involucradas en la creación de la música y la película eran, si no líderes, rodeados de líderes que, a su manera, están impulsando el cambio en la comunidad. También se trataba de dar esperanza a todos y un poco de celebración también. Queríamos mostrar que trabajando juntos, creciendo juntos, lo superaremos.

¿Cómo seleccionaste el talento que te ayudó a hacer realidad tu visión?

En un año en el que la atención se centró en las mujeres negras, quería mostrar y destacar a las increíbles artistas y escritoras negras. Trabajé con Jamila Woods y Young Chicago Authors para desarrollar algunos de los primeros conceptos para el disco. Cynthia Erivo, una artista increíble y mujer negra, fue la vocalista femenina destacada en la pista. También incluimos artistas negros de una variedad de géneros y experiencias diferentes. Para capturar realmente la esencia de este año, le pedimos al Coro de Niños de Chicago que se uniera al proyecto. La historia de justicia social de la organización y su esfuerzo por unir voces jóvenes de diferentes orígenes a través de canciones realmente me inspiraron.

¿Qué impacto ha tenido este año en ti, tanto a nivel personal como profesional?

Este año ha sido el año más loco de mi vida hasta ahora sin duda, y estoy seguro de que otros también sienten lo mismo. Aprendí a operar mi estudio de grabación en medio de cierres, con sesiones virtuales y otras herramientas. Tuve que ponerme realmente creativo sobre cómo lanzar mi propia música y marca. Estuve en las calles la mayor parte del verano junto a los líderes comunitarios, sirviendo y ampliando el trabajo de amigos a mi alrededor que pasaron el verano protestando y luchando por la comunidad negra. Y, por supuesto, tuve que navegar y solucionar los retrasos en la producción causados por COVID-19, así que encontré diferentes formas de hacer las cosas y crecí en paciencia. A pesar de lo duro que ha sido este año, ha estado lleno de bendiciones y de muchas lecciones maravillosas. Estoy muy emocionado por el futuro.

¿Cuál es tu deseo para el futuro de la diversidad y la representación en los campos creativos y en la industria de la música?

Vaya, ¿tengo que elegir solo un deseo? Siempre deseo la progresión de la diversidad y el avance de la representación auténtica en las salas de escritores, los medios y el desarrollo de entornos basados en la cultura. Muy a menudo, la equidad se pierde en alguna parte, tanto para los no creativos como para los creativos. Los negros son una minoría desfavorecida que se ven afectados por la tergiversación a diario a nivel macro y micro. No podría resolver [esto] con un solo deseo.

Ahora que el 2020 llega a su fin, estamos emocionados de compartir "Together" con el mundo. Gracias, Peter y todos los involucrados en la realización de esta pieza musical tan necesaria.

Source: Search


How location helps provide more relevant search results

There are many factors that play a role in providing helpful results when you search for something on Google. These factors help us rank or order results and can include the words of your query, the relevance or usability of web pages in our index, and the expertise of sources.

Location is another important factor to provide relevant Search results. It helps you find the nearest coffee shop when you need a pick-me-up, traffic predictions along your route, and even important emergency information for your area. In this post, we’ll share details about the vital role that location plays in generating great search results.

Finding businesses and services in your community

It’s a Friday night. You’re hungry and want some pizza delivered. If Google couldn’t consider location in search ranking, our results might display random pizza restaurants that are nowhere near you. With location information, we can better ensure you’re getting webpages and business listings about pizza places that are local and relevant to you.

The same is true for many types of businesses and services with physical locations, such as banks, post offices, restaurants or stores. Consider two people who search for zoos—one in Omaha, Nebraska and the other in Mobile, Alabama. Location information helps both get the right local information that they need:

Searches for "zoos" in Omaha, Nebraska and Mobile, Alabama

Same query, different local contexts

Location can matter even when you’re searching for something that doesn’t necessarily have a physical location. For example, a search for “air quality” in San Diego, California versus Tulsa, Oklahoma might lead you to pages with local information relevant to each area.

Searches for “air quality” in San Diego, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma

Similarly, certain information in Search can be more useful if it’s specific to your city or neighborhood. If you were to search Google for “parking information,” you might see information about municipal codes and parking enforcement for your local area that would differ from what someone else might see in another city. 

Local information in search results can also be helpful in an emergency. If you search for “hurricane,” our Crisis Response features can show you local shelter information if there’s a hurricane close by, rather than just generic information about what a hurricane is.

Of course, just because some searches have local results, it’s not the case that everyone gets completely different results just because they are in different cities (or even different countries). If a search topic has no local aspect to it, there won’t be local results shown. If there is, we’ll show a mix of local results that are relevant to particular places along with non-local results that are generally useful.

How location works at Google

You might be wondering how location works at Google. Google determines location from a few different sources, and then uses this information to deliver more relevant experiences when it will be more helpful for people. Learn more about the different ways we may understand location in the video below as well as how to manage your data in a way that works best for you on our help center page about location and Search

Location is a critical part of how Google is able to deliver the most relevant and helpful search results possible—whether you need emergency information in a snap, or just some late-night pizza delivered. For more under-the-hood information, check out our How Search Works series. 

Source: Search


Making sense of 2020 through Search

Amid a year of uncertainty, upheaval and adjustment to a new way of life, the world had a lot of questions. And we did our best to help people understand the changing world around them, launching more than 4,000 new features and improvements to help people find high quality, reliable information in Google Search. Here are some of the ways Search evolved this year to help people make sense of everything that happened in 2020.

Respondingto a rapidlychangingworld

When the world began to change without warning, we launched a new COVID-19 Search experience so people could more easily access information and resources from health authorities. Tools such as wildfire mapping and earthquake early warning anticipated what became some of the year’s most common and pressing questions such as “fires near me” and “earthquake near me.” And with all of the year’s crises and stressors, we saw a rise in searches like “how to help someone having a panic attack.” So, if you’re searching for more information on anxiety, you can now access a clinically-validated questionnaire called the GAD-7 (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7) directly from Search.
Google Trends data showing a spike in searches for the word "unemployment" in April 2020.

Searches for “unemployment” reached an all-time high in April.

The Black-owned business attribute on a company's Maps profile

Adjusting to a new way of living

A lot of you wanted clarity on “social distancing,” so we got to work keeping you safely social and entertained. Popular times and live busyness information helped you make informed decisions about when to safely visit your favorite restaurant or store. And while you probably couldn’t make it to your local yoga studio for a while, businesses let you know, with Reserve with Google, when they offered online appointments and classes. And with interest in “black-owned businesses” skyrocketing by over 2,100 percent this year, you were able to find and support your local Black-owned businesses on Search and Maps.

For those of you staying indoors, what to watch helped you navigate endless streaming options, and when you searched  for “virtual museum tours” we delivered. For those seeking a “virtual classroom,” we introduced new Lens features to provide a friendly assist with math homework and more. 


While 2020 was no doubt a trying time for all, we hope we were able to help you find the information you needed to keep yourself and your family happy, healthy, and safe.

20 years of Year in Search

Twenty years ago, Google published its very first end-of-year list, called the Year-End Google Zeitgeist. Looking back, it’s clear how much some things have changed (please see the list of the top 10 MP3 music resources), and how much they stay the same (decades later and we’re still watching some of these sitcoms). 

Originally, these year-end lists evolved out of an internal project, eventually becoming the annual, public-facing report in 2001. “It's not a million miles away from what we do now,” says Google Data Trends editor Simon Rogers, looking back on that very first site. 

The original year-end collection wasn’t just created as a way for people to reflect on Search trends; it was also a way for people, including those who work in marketing or media, to find interesting stories and understand more about the events, people and moments of a certain year. 

These days, Year in Search is accompanied by a film that showcases the emotion behind the searches and trends of the year. “We also started finding a theme—this year it’s ‘why,’ which was at an all-time high in Google Trends history,” says Simon.  

Engineer Roni Rabin has been working on Year in Search for the past eight years and she’s seen it become increasingly sophisticated over time. “It’s always a really special moment once Year in Search launches and we see the world discovering the video and the lists.” 

And this year, there’s been plenty to discover. Simon calls 2020 a “dramatically interesting year for Search.” Past topics he remembers as significant for Search trends include weather events and the 2016 election—but nothing quite compares to the communal global interests of 2020. “These big, shared moments that affect everybody, they’re pretty rare,” he says. “And just to see so many crammed into such a short period of time, one year, is pretty unusual. I haven’t really seen anything like this.”

While Year in Search has changed over the years, there’s a hopefulness about the project that’s remained. “One of the things that makes me happy every year is how alike we are,” Simon explains. “Despite how different and divided we can be, this year especially, the data really showed how much we have in common.”

Source: Search


How you’ll find accurate and timely information on COVID-19 vaccines

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, teams across Google have worked to provide quality information and resources to help keep people safe, and to provide public health, scientists and medical professionals with tools to combat the pandemic. We’ve launched more than 200 new products, features and initiatives—including the Exposure Notification API to assist contact tracing — and have pledged over $1 billion to assist our users, customers and partners around the world. 


As the world turns its focus to the deployment of vaccines, the type of information people need will evolve. Communities will be vaccinated at an unprecedented pace and scale. This will require sharing information to educate the public, including addressing vaccine misperceptions and hesitancy, and helping to surface official guidance to people on when, where and how to get vaccinated. 


Today, we’re sharing about how we’re working to meet these needs—through our products and partnering with health authorities—while keeping harmful misinformation off our platforms. 


Raising authoritative information


Beginning in the United Kingdom, we’re launching a new feature on Search so when people look up information for COVID-19 vaccines, we will surface a list of authorized vaccines in their location, as well as information panels on each individual vaccine. As other health authorities begin authorizing vaccines, we’ll introduce this new feature in more countries.



Launched in March, our COVID-19 information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them an important source of authoritative information. These panels are featured on the YouTube homepage, and on videos and in search results about the pandemic. Updates to the panels will connect people directly to vaccine information from global and local health authorities. Because YouTube creators are a trusted voice within their communities, we’re also supporting creators by connecting them with leading health experts to make helpful and engaging content for their audiences about COVID-19 and vaccines. 

  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve given $250 million in Ad Grants to help more than 100 government agencies around the world run critical public service announcements about COVID-19. Grantees can use these funds throughout 2021, including for vaccine education and outreach campaigns, and we’re announcing today an additional $15 million in Ad Grants to the World Health Organization (WHO) to assist their global campaign.


Supporting quality reporting and information on vaccines


Journalism continues to play a crucial role in informing people about the pandemic, sharing expert knowledge about vaccines, and proactively debunking misinformation about the immunization process. In April, we gave $6.5 million to support COVID-19 related fact-checking initiatives, which have provided training or resources to nearly 10,000 reporters around the world.


Now, the Google News Initiative is providing an additional $1.5 million to fund the creation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub and support new fact-checking research. Led by the Australian Science Media Centre, and with support from technology non-profit Meedan, the hub will be a resource for journalists, providing around-the-clock access to scientific expertise and research updates. The initiative includes science media centers and public health experts from Latin America, Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, with content being made available in seven languages. 


To better understand what type of fact-checking can effectively counteract misinformation about vaccines, we’re funding research by academics at Columbia, George Washington and Ohio State universities. This research project will survey citizens in ten countries to find out what kinds of formats, headlines and sources are most effective in correcting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and whether fact checks that follow these best practices impact willingness to get vaccinated.


Protecting our platforms against misinformation 


Across our products, we’ve had long-standing policies prohibiting harmful and misleading medical or health-related content. When COVID-19 hit, our global Trust and Safety team worked to stop a variety of abuses stemming from the pandemic: phishing attempts, malware, dangerous conspiracy theories, and fraud schemes. Our teams have also been planning for new threats and abuse patterns related specifically to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, in October, we expanded our COVID-19 medical misinformation policy on YouTube to remove content about vaccines that contradicts consensus from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control or the WHO. Our teams have removed more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 medical information. We also continue to remove harmful COVID-19 misinformation across other products like Ads, Google Maps, and the Play store.


The fight against the pandemic and the development of new vaccines has required global collaboration between the public health sector, and the scientific and medical communities. As work begins to vaccinate billions of people, we’ll support these efforts with additional products and features to ensure people have the right information at the right time. 


Posted by Karen DeSalvo, MD, M.P.H. Chief Health Officer, Google Health and Kristie Canegallo, VP, Trust & Safety


How you’ll find accurate and timely information on COVID-19 vaccines

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, teams across Google have worked to provide quality information and resources to help keep people safe, and to provide public health, scientists and medical professionals with tools to combat the pandemic. We’ve launched more than 200 new products, features and initiatives—including the Exposure Notification API to assist contact tracing — and have pledged over $1 billion to assist our users, customers and partners around the world. 


As the world turns its focus to the deployment of vaccines, the type of information people need will evolve. Communities will be vaccinated at an unprecedented pace and scale. This will require sharing information to educate the public, including addressing vaccine misperceptions and hesitancy, and helping to surface official guidance to people on when, where and how to get vaccinated. 


Today, we’re sharing about how we’re working to meet these needs—through our products and partnering with health authorities—while keeping harmful misinformation off our platforms. 


Raising authoritative information


Beginning in the United Kingdom, we’re launching a new feature on Search so when people look up information for COVID-19 vaccines, we will surface a list of authorized vaccines in their location, as well as information panels on each individual vaccine. As other health authorities begin authorizing vaccines, we’ll introduce this new feature in more countries.



Launched in March, our COVID-19 information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them an important source of authoritative information. These panels are featured on the YouTube homepage, and on videos and in search results about the pandemic. Updates to the panels will connect people directly to vaccine information from global and local health authorities. Because YouTube creators are a trusted voice within their communities, we’re also supporting creators by connecting them with leading health experts to make helpful and engaging content for their audiences about COVID-19 and vaccines. 

  

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve given $250 million in Ad Grants to help more than 100 government agencies around the world run critical public service announcements about COVID-19. Grantees can use these funds throughout 2021, including for vaccine education and outreach campaigns, and we’re announcing today an additional $15 million in Ad Grants to the World Health Organization (WHO) to assist their global campaign.


Supporting quality reporting and information on vaccines


Journalism continues to play a crucial role in informing people about the pandemic, sharing expert knowledge about vaccines, and proactively debunking misinformation about the immunization process. In April, we gave $6.5 million to support COVID-19 related fact-checking initiatives, which have provided training or resources to nearly 10,000 reporters around the world.


Now, the Google News Initiative is providing an additional $1.5 million to fund the creation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub and support new fact-checking research. Led by the Australian Science Media Centre, and with support from technology non-profit Meedan, the hub will be a resource for journalists, providing around-the-clock access to scientific expertise and research updates. The initiative includes science media centers and public health experts from Latin America, Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, with content being made available in seven languages. 


To better understand what type of fact-checking can effectively counteract misinformation about vaccines, we’re funding research by academics at Columbia, George Washington and Ohio State universities. This research project will survey citizens in ten countries to find out what kinds of formats, headlines and sources are most effective in correcting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and whether fact checks that follow these best practices impact willingness to get vaccinated.


Protecting our platforms against misinformation 


Across our products, we’ve had long-standing policies prohibiting harmful and misleading medical or health-related content. When COVID-19 hit, our global Trust and Safety team worked to stop a variety of abuses stemming from the pandemic: phishing attempts, malware, dangerous conspiracy theories, and fraud schemes. Our teams have also been planning for new threats and abuse patterns related specifically to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, in October, we expanded our COVID-19 medical misinformation policy on YouTube to remove content about vaccines that contradicts consensus from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control or the WHO. Our teams have removed more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 medical information. We also continue to remove harmful COVID-19 misinformation across other products like Ads, Google Maps, and the Play store.


The fight against the pandemic and the development of new vaccines has required global collaboration between the public health sector, and the scientific and medical communities. As work begins to vaccinate billions of people, we’ll support these efforts with additional products and features to ensure people have the right information at the right time. 


Posted by Karen DeSalvo, MD, M.P.H. Chief Health Officer, Google Health and Kristie Canegallo, VP, Trust & Safety


How you’ll find accurate and timely information on COVID-19 vaccines

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, teams across Google have worked to provide quality information and resources to help keep people safe, and to provide public health, scientists and medical professionals with tools to combat the pandemic. We’ve launched more than 200 new products, features and initiatives—including the Exposure Notification API to assist contact tracing—and have pledged over $1 billion to assist our users, customers and partners around the world. 

As the world turns its focus to the deployment of vaccines, the type of information people need will evolve. Communities will be vaccinated at an unprecedented pace and scale. This will require sharing information to educate the public, including addressing vaccine misperceptions and hesitance, and helping to surface official guidance to people on when, where and how to get vaccinated. 

Today, we’re sharing about how we’re working to meet these needs—through our products and partnering with health authorities—while keeping harmful misinformation off our platforms. 

Raising authoritative information

Beginning in the United Kingdom, we’re launching a new feature on Search so when people look up information for COVID-19 vaccines, we will surface a list of authorized vaccines in their location, as well as information panels on each individual vaccine. As other health authorities begin authorizing vaccines, we’ll introduce this new feature in more countries.

Vaccine information on Google Search

Launched in March, our COVID-19 information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them an important source of authoritative information. These panels are featured on the YouTube homepage, and on videos and in search results about the pandemic. Updates to the panels will connect people directly to vaccine information from global and local health authorities. Because YouTube creators are a trusted voice within their communities, we’re also supporting creators by connecting them with leading health experts to make helpful and engaging content for their audiences about COVID-19 and vaccines. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve given $250 million in Ad Grants to help more than 100 government agencies around the world run critical public service announcements about COVID-19. Grantees can use these funds throughout 2021, including for vaccine education and outreach campaigns, and we’re announcing today an additional $15 million in Ad Grants to the World Health Organization (WHO) to assist their global campaign.

Supporting quality reporting and information on vaccines

Journalism continues to play a crucial role in informing people about the pandemic, sharing expert knowledge about vaccines, and proactively debunking misinformation about the immunization process. In April, we gave $6.5 million to support COVID-19 related fact-checking initiatives, which have provided training or resources to nearly 10,000 reporters around the world.

Now, the Google News Initiative is providing an additional $1.5 million to fund the creation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub and support new fact-checking research. Led by the Australian Science Media Centre, and with support from technology non-profit Meedan, the hub will be a resource for journalists, providing around-the-clock access to scientific expertise and research updates. The initiative includes science media centers and public health experts from Latin America, Africa, Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, with content being made available in seven languages. 

To better understand what type of fact-checking can effectively counteract misinformation about vaccines, we’re funding research by academics at Columbia, George Washington and Ohio State universities. This research project will survey citizens in ten countries to find out what kinds of formats, headlines and sources are most effective in correcting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and whether fact checks that follow these best practices impact willingness to get vaccinated.

Protecting our platforms against misinformation 

Across our products, we’ve had long-standing policies prohibiting harmful and misleading medical or health-related content. When COVID-19 hit, our global Trust and Safety team worked to stop a variety of abuses stemming from the pandemic: phishing attempts, malware, dangerous conspiracy theories, and fraud schemes. Our teams have also been planning for new threats and abuse patterns related specifically to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, in October, we expanded our COVID-19 medical misinformation policy on YouTube to remove content about vaccines that contradicts consensus from health authorities, such as the Centers for Disease Control or the WHO. Our teams have removed more than 700,000 videos related to dangerous or misleading COVID-19 medical information. We also continue to remove harmful COVID-19 misinformation across other products like Ads, Google Maps, and the Play store.

The fight against the pandemic and the development of new vaccines has required global collaboration between the public health sector, and the scientific and medical communities. As work begins to vaccinate billions of people, we’ll support these efforts with additional products and features to ensure people have the right information at the right time. 

Our work on the 2020 U.S. election

It’s been over a month since polls closed in the U.S. 2020 election, and more Americans voted in this election than in any recent Presidential race. In the months—and years—leading up to this cycle, our teams worked hard to create tools that help voters find authoritative information about the election, educate campaigns on how to connect with voters and equip them with best-in-class security features, and protect our platforms from abuse. 


After Election Day, as votes were still being counted, we continued this work to show timely election results from The Associated Press (AP) on Google. We also enforced a Sensitive Events ads policy after polls closed, temporarily pausing more than 5 million ads referencing the U.S. 2020 election, the candidates, or its outcome as election results were certified. This week, we are lifting this pause and allowing advertisers to continue running election-related ads on our platforms, as long as they comply with our global advertising policies.

Record numbers of voters engaged with Google tools

We know that people turn to Google to look for information on a variety of topics, and the U.S. 2020 election would be no different. In fact, this U.S. election cycle saw all-time highs in searches for civics-related topics. We worked to create and launch features that would help people find the information they needed to participate in the democratic process. We introduced several features to help voters find information about how to register and how to vote in their states, and as the election neared, we also helped people find polling and ballot drop off locations. Across our products, these features were seen nearly 500 million times. 


We worked with non-partisan, third-party data partners, such as Democracy Works, which aggregates official data directly from state and county election administrators, and we linked to state government official websites for more information. Using this data, we also made it easy for people to quickly find nearby voting locations in Google Maps, along with information about how far they were, how to get there, and voting hours. From mid-October through Election Day, we added more than 125,000 voting locations in Google Maps. 


We also showed “how to register” and “how to vote” reminders to all our U.S. users directly on Google Search, Maps and YouTube, to help everyone across the country find the information they needed to register to vote, find their voting locations, and cast their ballots. These reminders were seen over 2 billion times across our products. And starting on Election Day, we worked with the AP to provide real-time election results for relevant searches on Google. This results feature had more than six times the number of views in 2020 as in 2016. Additionally, YouTube linked to this results feature in its election results information panel, which was shown over 4.5 billion times.

How we helped educate and protect campaigns

We also focused on helping campaigns and elected officials effectively use Google and YouTube products to reach voters and on helping them enhance their election security. As part of our Civics Outreach Virtual Training Series, Google held 21 training sessions for over 900 candidates, campaigns, public officials, and nonprofit leaders. Overall, we held 45 group and individual trainings to help more than 2,900 election workers learn to use Google tools to amplify their message and better connect with voters through events like digital town halls, debates and virtual campaign rallies.


And as a part of our Election Cybersecurity Initiative with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, nearly 4,000 elected officials, secretaries of state, campaign staffers, political party representatives, and state election directors in all 50 states received training on ways to secure their information and protect their campaigns against cyberattacks. At the start of the 2020 election season, we partnered with Defending Digital Campaigns (DDC) to give any federal campaign access to free security keys—the strongest form of two-factor authentication. We helped DDC distribute more than 10,500 Advanced Protection kits. Now, we continue to educate campaigns and newly elected officials about digital security and encourage them to enroll in our Advanced Protection Program.

Protecting our platforms from abuse

In the years leading up to the 2020 election, we made numerous enhancements to protect the integrity of elections around the world and better secure our platforms: we introduced strict policies and restrictions around who can run election-related advertising on our platform; we launched comprehensive political ad libraries in the U.S., the UK, the European Union, India, Israel and New Zealand; we developed and implemented policies to prohibit election-related abuse such as voter suppression and deceptive practices on platforms like YouTube, Google Ads, Google Maps and Google Play; our Threat Analysis Group (TAG) launched a quarterly bulletin to provide regular updates on our work to combat coordinated influence operations across our platforms and flagged phishing attempts against the presidential campaigns this summer; and we worked closely with government agencies, including the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, and others companies to share information around suspected election interference campaigns. 


And long before any voting in this election started, our global Trust and Safety teams were already working through possible threat scenarios and abuse vectors related to the election. These teams work in a variety of roles to help develop and enforce our policies in an apolitical and non-partisan way, monitor our platforms for abuse, and protect users from everything from account hijackings and disinformation campaigns to misleading content and inauthentic activity. We estimate that we spent at least $1 billion over the past year on content moderation systems and processes. We continue to invest aggressively in this area.


The job of protecting our platforms from abuse is always a top priority, but especially during sensitive times like elections. Our election integrity work may not directly drive Google’s business, but it’s a crucial part of our responsibility to our users and to the democratic process. That’s why our teams are already looking at what's coming up next—including 2021 elections in the U.S., the Netherlands, Japan, Israel, Ecuador and many other countries.

Source: Search


2020: The year the world asked “why?”

2020 was the year we asked "why?"

While “coronavirus” was the top trending search worldwide, we also asked questions like “why is it called covid-19?” and “why is mental health important?” more than ever before. We searched for ways to help each other, like looking at how to support essential workers on the front lines of COVID-19 or how to aid people affected by the wildfires in Australia or devastation in Beirut.

Even while so many of us stayed home, we looked for ways to connect, support and understand each other. We asked, “why are people clapping?” and “why is empathy important?” And for the first time, people all over the world searched for Black Lives Matter — increasing five-fold compared to the previous year.

Despite everything happening around us, we were as inquisitive as ever before, asking questions like “why do people dream?” and “why is Mars red?” We stayed optimistic and looked for creative ways to spend our time: This year searches for “sourdough bread recipe” hit an all-time high. 

Now as we come to the close of such a tumultuous year, we’re taking a closer look at trending topics across searches, news, people, “how to’s,” virtual activities and more from across almost 70 countries. Just as Search can help you explore and discover a world of information, there are many ways to explore the year through the lens of Google Search. Take a closer look with year’s trending lists at Google.com/2020

Looking ahead to 2021, there's one thing we know for sure: We'll keep searching.