Wednesday, November 14

Official Google Blog

Official Google Blog


Deck the halls with tools for shopping

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 09:01 AM PST

I love shopping for gifts for my family and friends, but it's not always easy. Fortunately, the Google Shopping team has built several new tools to help you (and me!) get an early and stress-free start on holiday shopping.

Explore products in 360-degree detail on Google Shopping
Having trouble imagining what a toy actually looks like from the online picture? Now, when searching for a subset of toys on Google Shopping, you can see 360-degree photos of the products. These interactive images bring the in-store feeling of holding and touching a product to your online browsing.

Look for the "3D" swivel icon on the product image to see a toy in 360-degree view, on HTML5 enabled browsers. We've also put together a Holiday Toy Collection featuring this enhanced imagery—explore the collection on this site. 360-degree imagery is coming for other types of products soon.


If you're a retailer or manufacturer interested in displaying these rich images of your products on Google Shopping, please fill out this form.

Use Shortlists to stay organized and collaborate with friends
New in Google Shopping, Shortlists make it easier to research products and plan purchases with friends and family. Instead of using bookmarked websites and docs containing long lists of URLs, or back-and-forth emails with friends, you can now consolidate all your shopping research in one place. With Shortlists, you can easily:
  • Keep track of products you like from Google Shopping and across the web
  • View product photos, prices and specs side by side
  • Share your Shortlist with friends, who can add their own ideas


Create a Shortlist by visiting google.com/shopping/shortlists or clicking the "Add to Shortlist" button as you browse products on Google Shopping.



Discover great deals and store promotions on Google Shopping
To help you make the most of your holiday budget, Google Shopping now shows discounts or promotions on the products you're viewing. If discounts or promotions are available, you can click on the link and visit the retailer's site to redeem the offer.


That's not all...a few more new Google Shopping features
Here are a few of the other tools we've created to make your holiday shopping a little easier:
  • Not sure you've found the perfect gift? Read reviews from people you know and write your own product reviews on Google Shopping.
  • Found an item that's almost perfect but not quite? Now you can view "visually similar" results for even more types of products and categories, including jewelry, coats, handbags and more.
  • Buying an important gift? Look for the Google Trusted Store logo as you shop. It indicates a store ships quickly and delivers excellent customer service.
  • Shopping on the go? Browse for gift ideas, find local sales and research products with the new and improved Google Shopper 3.0, currently available for Android.
  • Still need some inspiration? Browse holiday catalogs from the top retailers directly on Google Shopping.

Happy holiday shopping!

Transparency Report: Government requests on the rise

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 08:05 AM PST

We think it's important to shine a light on how government actions could affect our users. When we first launched the Transparency Report in early 2010, there wasn't much data out there about how governments sometimes hamper the free flow of information on the web. So we took our first step toward greater transparency by disclosing the number of government requests we received. At the time, we weren't sure how things would look beyond that first snapshot, so we pledged to release numbers twice a year. Today we're updating the Transparency Report with data about government requests from January to June 2012.

This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise. As you can see from the graph below, government demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report. In the first half of 2012, there were 20,938 inquiries from government entities around the world. Those requests were for information about 34,614 accounts.


The number of government requests to remove content from our services was largely flat from 2009 to 2011. But it's spiked in this reporting period. In the first half of 2012, there were 1,791 requests from government officials around the world to remove 17,746 pieces of content.


You can see the country-by-country trends for requests to hand over user data and to remove content from our services in the Transparency Report itself, but in aggregate around the world, the numbers continue to go up.

As always, we continue to improve the Transparency Report with each data release. Like before, we're including annotations for this time period with interesting facts. We're also showing new bar graphs with data in addition to tables to better display content removal trends over time. We've now translated the entire Transparency Report into 40 languages, and we've expanded our FAQ—including one that explains how we sometimes receive falsified court orders asking us to remove content. We do our best to verify the legitimacy of the documents we receive, and if we determine that any are fake, we don't comply.

The information we disclose is only an isolated sliver showing how governments interact with the Internet, since for the most part we don't know what requests are made of other technology or telecommunications companies. But we're heartened that in the past year, more companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun to share their statistics too. Our hope is that over time, more data will bolster public debate about how we can best keep the Internet free and open.

Ghetto Film School uses Google+ to teach master classes in filmmaking

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 07:38 AM PST

The best thing about building tools is seeing what people do with them. Since Google+ launched, it's been fascinating to discover people using it in ways we never could have dreamed up—like the photographer who figured out how to turn a camera, a phone and Hangouts into Virtual Photo Walks.

Ghetto Film School had a different idea. They've been running filmmaking programs for young people in their South Bronx neighborhood since 2000, and when they heard about Google+, they thought it would be a great way to bring what they do to teenagers beyond the Bronx. And from that simple idea, Ghetto Film School's MasterClass series—discussions between great directors and young filmmakers from around the world—was born.



Ghetto Film School's story is the latest addition to the Google+ Stories YouTube channel. Each video captures how people—from small business owners to astronomy fans to journalists—are using Google+ to connect with others who share their interests. Have a Google+ story of your own? We'd love to hear about it.

Let indoor Google Maps be your guide this holiday shopping season

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 06:00 AM PST

The holiday shopping season is upon us. Your favorite retail stores are already playing holiday tunes, promoting sales, and decking out their displays in red and green. But if flashbacks of people rushing all around you frantically trying to find gifts for everyone on their lists are giving you anxiety, fret not. This year you can use indoor Google Maps on your Android device to stay cool, calm, collected and most of all, one step ahead of the crowd.

On Black Friday and throughout this holiday season, simply zoom in to a participating store on Google Maps to devise your shopping game plan. An indoor floor plan with helpful labels will automatically appear, and the familiar "blue dot" icon will help you figure out the fastest way to the accessories department, the food court when you need to refuel, and the closest restroom or ATM when you need a break from your marathon shopping session. For many locations, you can even get indoor walking directions to find the best route from one store to the next.

Indoor Google Maps for Mall of America in Bloomington, MN (left)
and for Macy's in New York, NY (right) 

These accurate, easy-to-use indoor maps are available for a number of popular retail locations across the globe including many local malls and select Best Buy, Nordstrom, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Harrod's, Selfridges, John Lewis and other stores. With the help of your Android device, you can beeline it to the camcorder you've been eyeing for your dad, and then quickly make your way to that sweater you know your sister will love. For list of additional venue partners, including some in Belgium that just became available today, check out this list.

Indoor Google Maps for West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (left) 
and for Nordstrom in Seattle, WA (right) 

We hope these indoor maps make finding your way in and around retail stores easier, less stressful and more efficient this holiday season. To access them, simply update Google Maps on your Android by visiting Google Play on your phone or desktop. Happy holiday shopping!

The new Acer Chromebook

Posted: 12 Nov 2012 10:01 AM PST

Creating a better, simpler computer and making it available for everyone is at the core of the Chromebook vision. It's exciting to see people using Chromebooks as the perfect additional computer in the home, and we continue to work with our partners to make them easy-to-use and more affordable. Today, we're delighted that our partner Acer is introducing a new addition to the Chromebook family: the new Acer C7 Chromebook.


The new Acer C7 Chromebook delivers a hassle-free computing experience with speed, built-in security and the simplicity of automatic updates. It features a full-size keyboard, fully clickable trackpad, an extra bright 11.6-inch display and over 3.5 hours of battery life. Powered by an Intel Core processor, the Acer Chromebook is fast—boots up in 18 seconds, resumes instantly and high-definition videos play smoothly (yes, videos like Gangnam Style in 1080p, in case you're one of the few left who hasn't seen it). You can easily store your stuff on the Chromebook or in the cloud, with a 320GB hard drive and 100GB of free storage on Google Drive.*

As you'd expect from a Chromebook, it's easy to share with others around the home. Moms, dads, siblings or even your roommate can all have separate accounts and simply log in to get things done. And because Chromebooks bring you the best of Google, if you use products like Gmail, Drive, Maps, YouTube and Google+, your stuff is always available and everything just works.

Starting tomorrow, the Acer Chromebook will be available for $199 in the U.S. on Google Play, BestBuy.com and rolling out this week in select Best Buy stores. In the U.K., it's available on Google Play, Amazon UK, PC World and Currys. We're working hard to bring it to more countries soon.

Together with Acer, it's great to welcome the newest addition to the Chromebook family. We hope it will make a great additional computer for your family, too. New Chromebooks, for everyone.



*You will have 100 GB of free storage for 2 years, starting on the date you redeem the offer on eligible Chrome devices.

(Cross-posted on the Chrome Blog)

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