Entries in Google (14)


Santa Tracker Race: Google’s Santa Tracker vs. NORAD

Google(NEW YORK) -- Only on the Internet could you find two tech companies competing to track Santa. Last week NORAD, which has tracked Santa since 1955, announced its new Internet Santa service. While it still tracks Santa and his reindeer on Christmas, it replaced Google Maps with Microsoft’s Bing Maps.

But Google’s not giving up on the business of tracking Mr. Claus. Using its Google Earth and Google Maps products, the Internet search giant is tracking Santa on its own this year with a new algorithm. Yes, that means you’ve got two Santa tracker options to pick from starting Christmas Eve.

 “While we’ve been tracking Santa since 2004 with Google Earth, this year a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers built a new route algorithm to chart Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve,” VP of Google Maps and Google Earth, Brian McClendon, wrote on the Official Google blog this week.

The new Santa Tracker doesn’t only live on the web. There is now a new Chrome extension and Android app to let you follow Santa. Conversely, NORAD’s apps, which it has worked on in partnership with Microsoft, are available for the iPhone and Android and Windows Phone 8 smartphones.

However, Google’s got more to offer on the entertainment front. It’s built out an entire Santa site where you can provide information about a friend or family member and have Santa give them a call or send them an audio message via email. There’s also a few games. The Santa Racer game lets you navigate Santa’s sleigh through a track and collect presents and the Present Drop game lets you drop presents into moving chimneys.

Google and NORAD will begin actually tracking Santa on Christmas Eve. No word on if Santa himself plans to use Google or Bing Maps to get to all his destinations; let’s just hope he steers clear of using Apple’s.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask Unveil Top Searches of 2012

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask are out with their lists of the top searches of the year.

The search engines say such lists show “top rising searches” of 2012, not necessarily the most-searched items of the year.  In other words, these are the things that spiked online, according to formulas the search engines use.

Here are their lists:

Google - U.S. Trending Searches in 2012:

1. Whitney Houston
2. Hurricane Sandy
3. Election 2012
4. Hunger Games
5. Jeremy Lin
6. Olympics 2012
7. Amanda Todd
8. Gangnam Style
9. Michael Clarke Duncan
10. Kony 2012

Yahoo - Top Searches Overall in 2012:

1. election
2. iphone 5
3. kim kardashian
4. kate upton
5. kate middleton
6. whitney houston
7. olympics
8. political polls
9. lindsay lohan
10. jennifer lopez

Bing - Most Searched News Stories:

1. iPhone 5
2. 2012 Election
3. 2012 Olympics
4. Hurricane Sandy
5. Honey Boo Boo Reality Show
6. Gangnam Style Dance
7. KONY 2012
8. Academy Awards
9. Kindle Fire HD
10. Facebook IPO

Ask - Top Celebrity Search Terms ( invites users to frame searches as questions):

1. Kristen Stewart. Will Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart get back together?
2. Katie Holmes. Was Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise’s marriage fake?
3. Psy – Gangnam Style. What does Gangnam Style mean?
4. Snooki. When is Snooki’s baby due?
5. Prince Harry. What will happen to Prince Harry because of the nude pictures?
6. Brad Pitt. How big is Angelina’s engagement ring?
7. Carly Rae Jepsen. What is the best “Call Me Maybe” parody?
8. Jessica Biel. When are Justin and Jessica getting married?
9. Miley Cyrus. Why did Miley Cyrus cut her hair?
10. Ryan Lochte. Does Ryan Lochte have a girlfriend?

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Reaches for the Stars, Takes You to Outer Space in Your Browser

Google(NEW YORK) -- You ready to space out? Literally? Google’s got just the trick, and no, it’s not another Doodle.

The company’s creative lab has put together a new project called 100,000 Stars. Dubbed an “experiment,” the search-engine giant has plotted 100,000 stars in an interactive map of outer space. Using imagery and data from NASA, the European Space Agency and other sources together with the Chrome browser’s support for advanced web technologies (HTML 5, WebGL and CSS3D), the team was able to put together a beautiful site, which lets you pan and zoom around the stars closest to the sun. Zoom in on the stars, and you will see their names and more from Wikipedia, including just how hot it is with a color index map.

Of course, Google decided to focus only on 100,000 stars, not the billions out there. “As you explore this experiment, we hope you share our wonder for how large the galaxy really is. It’s incredible to think that this mist of 100,000 measurable stars is a tiny fraction of the sextillions of stars in the broader universe,” Google’s Aaron Koblin said in a post on the company’s Chrome blog.

The imagery is really stunning, but Google emphasizes that it’s an artist’s rendition. It shouldn’t be seen as a scientific document, and the music by Sam Hulick, who composed tracks for video games, makes that pretty obvious.

With that, we’ll let you get out of here and go check it out yourselves here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google to Warn Users of Possible State-Sponsored Cyber Attacks

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Google has posted a note on its security blog informing users that there will now be a banner warning you if Google believes that a state-sponsored cyber attacker is trying to compromise your account or computer.

Eric Grosse, Google’s vice president of security engineering, wrote on, “When we have specific intelligence -- either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts -- we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors.”

The warning seen below will state: “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now.”

“If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked. It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account,” Grosse wrote in the blog posting.

The unusual security notice by Google may make users wonder how Google knows their accounts are potentially being probed.

“You might ask how we know this activity is state-sponsored. We can’t go into the details without giving away information that would be helpful to these bad actors, but our detailed analysis -- as well as victim reports -- strongly suggest the involvement of states or groups that are state-sponsored,” Grosse said in the blog posting.

In 2009 China tried to gain access to the Gmail accounts of dozens of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists.  It was part of a larger state-sponsored cyber attack targeting as many as 30 U.S. companies including Yahoo!, Adobe, Rackspace and Northrop Grumman. U.S. officials believe China was attempting to gain access to these firms’ networks to obtain intellectual property and source code information. Google disclosed the attack in January 2010.

Google, in its posting, advises users to have strong, unique passwords, update their Internet browsers and software, and avoid clicking on attachments that could contain malware.  Google says the banner may stay up on a user’s page for several days to remind users to take the necessary security steps.

“We believe it is our duty to be proactive in notifying users about attacks or potential attacks so that they can take action to protect their information. And we will continue to update these notifications based on the latest information,” Grosse wrote in the blog posting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Art Project and White House Launch 360 Tour of ‘People’s House’

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- There’s a cool new way to tour the White House from the comfort of the Internet.

The first lady’s office announced Tuesday the White House has partnered with the Google Art Project to create a virtual, Google Maps-like tour of the president’s residence, as a part of what the Obama administration is describing as efforts to increase the accessibility and transparency of the goings-on at the historic home.

Michelle Obama filmed a welcome video for the online tour in which she stresses the White House’s role as “the people’s house.”

The tour explores the White House’s public rooms, halls and famous artworks, but only a small selection of rooms get the 360-degree Google Street View treatment. Users can browse a wide variety of international treasures in high resolution, whether it be artwork, the gilded sconces in the hallways of the White House, or samples of Lenox and Haviland china acquired during the presidencies of Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. The U.S. Grant soup bowl features orange flowers instead of a state seal.

Each piece is accompanied by an explanation on the site.  A circa 1799 steel and mother-of-pearl saber, for instance, was “Commissioned by the French volunteers who had served in the American Revolution for George Washington, but not presented prior to his death.” It was not delivered to the U.S. government until 1933.

The collection on display on Google consists largely of portraits of presidents, first ladies and a few Native Americans.

“Thousands of people have walked these halls and gazed at the artwork,” Mrs. Obama says in the welcome video. “They’ve imagined the history that’s unfolded here. And now you can do all of that without leaving your home. So…enjoy the history and the beauty of these rooms. Because after all, this is your house, too.”

The White House is now one of 46 museums around the world that have been given the 360-degree Google treatment, from the National Gallery to Great Britain’s Tate Museum to the National Gallery of Australia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Watch Out! Self-Driving Cars Approved in Nevada

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- Google’s self-driving car has been demoed a number of times over the past few years -- Good Morning America even took it for a spin in 2010. But the pedal’s about to be really put to the metal in Nevada.

Nevada’s Legislative Commission has approved regulations that would allow self-driving vehicles on the state’s roadways.

“Nevada is the first state to embrace what is surely the future of automobiles,” the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles Director Bruce Breslow said in a statement on the DMV’s website.

“These regulations establish requirements companies must meet to test their vehicles on Nevada’s public roadways as well as requirements for residents to legally operate them in the future,” said Breslow.

But the state is going even further: It is developing “licensing procedures” for companies to test their self-driving cars. Google has already signed on to test-drive its self-driving Toyota Prius. (Google was behind the legislation lobbying effort.) Car manufacturers such as BMW and Audi are working on similar vehicles.

Drivers will be able to distinguish self-driving test vehicles by their  red license plates. When the robotic cars actually make it to market, they will have green license plates.

General Motors has predicted the technology will be standard by 2020, which means it will probably be awhile before lots of cars with green license plates are seen zooming around the Silver State.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google's Top Rising Searches of 2011

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- What do Rebecca Black and Herman Cain have in common? She's 14; he's 66. She's a singer; he's a business executive-turned-politician. What unites them is that Google reports Thursday morning they topped its lists of rising searches of 2011 -- along with Google+, Hurricane Irene, Justin Bieber's hair, and other people and phenomena.

The major search engines and social networking sites -- Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Bing and others -- regularly mark the end of the year with lists of what was on people's minds.

The managers of the different sites often remind us that these are not necessarily the most-searched things in cyberspace; there is probably a lot more traffic in routine "navigational" searches ("weather forecast" or "pizza North Side Chicago"). But the sites say they use complex (and carefully-guarded) algorithms to tell them what's trending at a given time.

"Rebecca Black" was, if you will, the biggest breakout hit on Google this year. Not many people had heard of her in previous years, so they looked her up.

Likewise for Cain, who led Google's list of political searches. He did not come out of nowhere -- he was very successful running Godfather's Pizza -- but several of his opponents were better known. Certainly, people looked up Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, but they'd already been doing that for years. So Cain was the "fastest rising" search, Google said, even if he wasn't the single biggest.

Here are several lists for the U.S. as provided by Google:

Fastest Rising Searches of 2011:

1. Rebecca Black
2. Google+
3. Hurricane Irene
4. Pinterest
5. Ryan Dunn
6. iPhone 5
7. Casey Anthony
8. Adele
9. Osama bin Laden
10. Steve Jobs

Fastest Rising Politics Searches:
1. Herman Cain
2. Rep Giffords
3. Obama jobs plan
4. Dominique Strauss-Kahn
5. Cheri Daniels
6. Issue 2
7. Huma Abedin
8. Rick Perry
9. Wisconsin news 2012
10. Republican candidates

Google Images: Fastest Rising Searches:
1. Planking
2. Kate Upton
3. Justin Bieber 2011
4. Pippa Middleton
5. Hope Solo
6. Ryan Dunn
7. Mariah Carey twins
8. Rebecca Black
9. Casey Anthony
10. Royal Wedding

Most Popular People:

1. Justin Bieber
2. Kim Kardashian
3. Lady Gaga
4. Nicki Minaj
5. Casey Anthony
6. Selena Gomez
7. Charlie Sheen
8. Steve Jobs
9. Amy Winehouse
10. Ryan Dunn

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Google+ Helps Reunite Sunken Camera with Owner

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(DEEP BAY, B.C.) -- A Canadian photographer used Google+ to reunite a camera he found at the bottom of a harbor with its owner, more than a year after the camera was last used.

Vancouver nature photographer Markus Thompson was diving in Deep Bay, British Columbia, for work when he found a dirty and rusted Canon camera.

“I removed the SD card, cleaned it up, stuck it in a card reader and after being underwater in a corroding camera since August 2010 – it works!” Thompson wrote on his Google+ page.

Thompson recovered about 50 photos on the card that appeared to be from a family vacation and extracted some clues about the owner’s life. He posted some of the pictures on Google+ with the following message:

“If you know a fire fighter from British Columbia whose team won the Pacific Regional Firefit competition, has a lovely wife and (now) 2 year old daughter – let me know. I would love to get them their vacation photos.”

In addition to posting some of the photos online, Thompson contacted Canon Canada regarding the camera’s serial number, but they did not have a record of the serial number.

Soon enough, Thompson received a message from a woman named Hilary. She wrote:

“Hello Mark, Thank you so much for the email. Yes I know exactly who the camera belongs to! He is a Delta Fire Fighter. I will have him contact you.”

The camera ended up belonging to a Canadian firefighter, but Thompson did not wish to identify the camera’s owner.

Thompson also noted “an interesting comparison,” he wrote. Thompson posted his finding on Facebook, but only received one “like.”

Thompson called the experience “proof that Google+ hive-mind can be utilized to complete a simply gesture like returning someone’s photos.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Google Doodle Honors Troops

Google(NEW YORK) -- Google is honoring Veterans Day with a watercolor "Doodle" by Mike Dutton, a Google staff member who is the son of a Vietnam vet.

And behind it is a new project the company has sponsored to help returning veterans get help, connect with their fellow service members and explain their experiences to their loved ones.

The company says there will be links called "Vet Connect" on Google+, its social network, to help veterans find one another, and there will be videos on YouTube to reassure returning service members that they are not alone.

The face of the project, who talks to the camera in some of the YouTube videos, is Mike Reeves, a former Army Ranger who did tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Do a Barrel Roll: Google Channels Apple and Nintendo

JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- Got a moment to kill?

Try this: Go to Google’s homepage. Type in the words “Do a barrel roll.” Click Enter.

Did the Earth move for you? Is it homage to Apple’s iPhones and iPads with their built-in accelerometers — those little gizmos that tell a device when it’s been moved, turned on its side, propped up with one end on top? One blogger suggested Google is invoking Nintendo’s Star Fox.

Meanwhile, Twitter is lighting up as people discover “Do a Barrel Roll.” A few sample comments:

  • “Google is being nerdy again and I love it.”
  • “It will bring you joy for approximately 5 seconds.”
  • “You won’t be disappointed. Or maybe you will if you are a grump.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio