Year in Search: The most fantastic fads of 2017

Year in Search: The most fantastic fads of 2017

Here today, gone tomorrow. Our annual Year in Search is always a fun look back at the fads that captured our fancy and then fizzled out fast. See what this year’s biggest crazes were, through the lens of Google Search:

Unicorn everything

The unofficial mascot of 2017 was the unicorn—the magical creature that had the internet abuzz. While we may have reached peak Unicorn with Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino, the craze didn’t stop there. People gave a unicorn twist to all kinds of foods and searched for unicorn cake, unicorn hot chocolate, unicorn cheesecake and unicorn lemonade. While this colorful trend spanned the globe, the most searches came from the cities of San Francisco, New York, London and Bengaluru. Those who jumped on the unicorn food train were likely responsible for making “How many calories are in a Unicorn Frappuccino?” the number one trending calorie-related query.

fads YIS

Slimy searches

Slime also had a very big year: “How to make slime?” was the number one globally trending “how to make” question of 2017. We wanted to know how to make slime of all types: fluffy, butter, stretchy, jiggly, cloud, clear and glow-in-the-dark. But as our slimy obsession grew, so did its mess. “How to get slime out of carpet?” made its way to one of the 100 globally trending “How to” questions of the year.

The dog days aren’t over

While unicorns and slime may be have had their five minutes of fame, some internet loves last forever—like our collective adoration of cute creatures. This year’s most searched celebrity animal was April, the mama giraffe that gained worldwide fame after a live video stream of her pregnancy. April’s moment in the spotlight had the question “How long are giraffes pregnant for?” trending in Alaska. Next up in top-searched celebrity animals was Fiona, the premature baby hippo, followed by Marnie, the Instagram-famous senior rescue dog.

Meme, myself and I

From a dancing hot dog to a distracted boyfriend, the viral images that graced our feeds brought comedic relief, heavy doses of sarcasm and unending creativity to the internet. According to search data, the five most trending memes of 2017 were: “Cash Me Outside,” “United Airlines,” “Elf on the Shelf,” “What in Tarnation?” and “Mocking SpongeBob” as people sought to get in on the joke.

Say what?

It’s not just memes—the internet has a language all its own that can leave people asking “huh?”. Thankfully, the internet is also a helpful tool to quickly decode the latest slang. Trending acronyms we had to look up this year included WCW (woman crush wednesday), TFW (that feeling when), STG (swear to God), GOAT (greatest of all time), and OFC (of course). And from “what does despacito mean?” to “what does bodak yellow mean?” to “What does bibia be ye ye mean?”, we searched for the meanings of popular songs—then got back to the dance floor.

And those are the wacky, weird and unexpected searches of 2017. Who knows what 2018 will bring? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A look back at the most read Google Play posts on Medium in 2017

A look back at the most read Google Play posts on Medium in 2017

Posted by Sergejs Cuhrajs, Community Manager, Google Play

Earlier this year we launched the Google Play Apps & Games publication on
Medium
to help developers discover best practices and insights to grow
successful apps and games businesses on Google Play. As we draw closer to the
end of the year we thought it’s a good time to revisit some of our most popular
posts according to you – our readers.

It’s clear that many of you are excited by the potential of new technology, such
as Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and how it could enhance
user interaction with your apps and games. You’re also concerned with everyday
issues including how to keep your APK size manageable, how to acquire new users,
and how to monetize games without pushing away your players.

So without further adieu, here’s the list of the top 10:

  1. Applying
    human-centered design to emerging technologies


    (by By Peter Hyer, Fabian Herrmann, and Kristin Kelly, 7 min read)

    VR, AR, and digital assistant present exciting opportunities for the future, but how can we ensure
    we’re designing for what people really want?
  2. Shrinking
    APKs, growing installs


    (by Sam Tolomei, 6 min read)
    Smaller APK
    sizes correlate with higher install conversion rate on Google Play – we share
    tips for keeping your apps lean.
  3. Who
    plays mobile games?


    (by Allen Bevans, UX Researcher at Google, 6 min
    read)

    Four actionable insights for game developers based on our research
    into different player segments.
  4. Why
    the first ten minutes are crucial if you want to keep players coming back


    (by Adam Carpenter, 7 min read)

    How to analyze your retention data so you can keep players coming back again
    and again.

  5. Design
    your app for decision-making

    (by Jeni Fisher, 10 min read)
    Useful
    tips and strategies for encouraging desired user behavior in your apps. Also
    check out follow-up posts on boosting
    motivation through app rewards
    , and common
    pitfalls of persuasive app design
    .
  6. Predicting
    your app’s monetization future

    (by Ignacio Monereo, 10 min read)
    Learn about predictive analytics and calculating your apps lifetime value (LTV)
    to gain practical insight into the future of your app. In the second part
    Ignacio shares how to calculate
    LTV based on five popular monetization models
    .
  7. Five
    tips to improve your games-as-a-service monetization

    (by Moonlit
    Beshimov, 9 min read)

    5 proven strategies to improve your game revenue
    without driving players away.
  8. An
    introduction to in-app A/B testing


    (by Gavin Kinghall Were, 13 min
    read)

    Learn how in-app A/B testing can drive insight into your app’s future
    design and development, and maximise its performance.
  9. Taking
    the guesswork out of paid user acquisition


    (by David Yin, 8 min
    read)

    A simple tool to help you estimate lifetime value (LTV) of your users
    and what to spend to grow your audience.
  10. Rethinking
    interface assumptions in AR: selecting objects


    (by Aaron Cammarata, 8
    min read)

    In this article for beginner AR developers we explore one of the
    most fundamental user interface actions: object selection.

Do you have suggestions for topics we should tackle in 2018? Let us know by
tweeting with the hashtag #AskPlayDev and we’ll reply from @GooglePlayDev, where we regularly
share news and tips on how to be successful on Google Play.

How useful did you find this blogpost?





Extending domain opt-out and AdWords API tools

Extending domain opt-out and AdWords API tools

In 2012, Google made voluntary commitments to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that are set to expire on December 27th, 2017. At that time, we agreed to remove certain clauses from our AdWords API Terms and Conditions. We also agreed to provide a mechanism for websites to opt out of the display of their crawled content on certain Google web pages linked to google.com in the United States on a domain-by-domain basis.  

We believe that these policies provide continued flexibility for developers and websites, and we will be continuing our current practices regarding the AdWords API Terms and Conditions and the domain-by-domain opt-out following the expiration of the voluntary commitments. Additional information can be found here:

#teampixel lights up the holidays

#teampixel lights up the holidays

Season’s greetings! With the holidays around the corner, we’re highlighting #teampixel pics that remind us why this time of year is so magical. Join us in kicking off the celebrations with photos ranging from a frosty day in Austria to enjoying sweet treats in Pike Place, Seattle.

We also can’t wait to see what Team Pixel captures in the coming year. Be merry, have a wonderful holiday and see you all in 2018! ✌️

Year in Search: To infinity and beyond

Year in Search: To infinity and beyond

The solar system had its shining moment this year, according to our annual Year in Search. From questions about the solar eclipse to the end of the Cassini spacecraft’s exploration of Saturn, the galaxy turned to Google Search for answers to out-of-this-world questions. Here’s a look at some of the trending searches about space in 2017:

Space searches

Steal my sunshine

In August, a total solar eclipse crossed North America for the first time in over a century. The awe-inspiring event spurred a spike in eclipse-related questions, like “how long will the eclipse last?” and “how much of the eclipse will I see?” Safety was also top of mind: Beforehand, searches for “how to make solar eclipse glasses” and “how long you can look at the sun” were trending. Despite the preparation, the top post-eclipse queries were related to “eclipse eye damage”—yikes!

Totality hits

Eclipse-viewing experiences need a proper soundtrack. Leading up to the big day, the world searched for songs to set the mood. According to search data, these are the top trending tunes that made the cut:

1. “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden

2. “Moonshadow” – Cat Stevens

3. “Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers

4. “Bad Moon Rising” – CCR

5. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

Solar eclipse songs

Galaxies far, far away

Search interest extended beyond Earth. After two decades of exploring the solar system, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ended its journey this year, piquing interest in space exploration. Searches asking “how many people are in space?” and how far away Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are from Earth climbed to an all-time high. And NASA’s search for habitable exoplanets (planets beyond our solar system) had the world asking “How many exoplanets have been discovered?” 10 times more in 2017 than 2016.

Last year we searched on Google for the answers to our most universal questions. As we rocket into 2018, who knows what we’ll search for next? 💫

12 things you may have missed from Google this year

12 things you may have missed from Google this year

It’s been a busy year, from our second generation of Made by Google hardware, to our efforts to create more opportunity for everyone. But before we head into the new year, we’re taking a look at a few things you may have missed in 2017. Here are 12 things that caught our attention:

1. From drawing to playing piano, and from new cookie recipes to better GIPHY search, machine learning came to life in unexpected ways.

AutoDraw_1.gif

2. #TeamPixel gave us a new perspective through photos captured with the Google Pixel and Pixel 2 phones. Through their lens, you can travel the world, play with light, meet some new friends and live in color.

3. We met dozens of interesting Googlers from across the company—like Hector Mujica, who manages disaster relief giving for Google.org; creative director Tea Uglow; Google AI Resident Suhani Vora; Seth Marbin, the creator of our annual volunteering program GoogleServe; and a handful of Googlers who shared their stories on National Coming Out Day. We even got to ride along with Google Cloud luminaries Diane Greene and Fei-Fei Li on their way to work.

feifei_and_diane.gif

4. With Google Arts & Culture, we explored some of the world’s cultural treasures from anywhere. Pore over the details of the Ghent Altarpiece, an early Northern Renaissance masterpiece, in ultra-high resolution; scale the undulating roof of the Guggenheim in Bilbao; see 30,000 fashion pieces on the virtual catwalk with We Wear Culture; and rumble with the Jets and the Sharks from “West Side Story.”


Say hello to our third round of Jump Start creators

Say hello to our third round of Jump Start creators

Jump is Google’s platform for professional VR video capture. It combines high-quality VR cameras and automated stitching that simplifies VR video production and helps filmmakers create amazing content. We launched the Jump Start program so that creators of all backgrounds can get access to Jump cameras and bring their ideas for VR video projects to life.

We’re wrapping up the year for the Jump Start program, and it’s been great to see the diversity of creators around the world using Jump cameras for a whole range of projects, everything from Lions in Los Angeles to a tour of the ancient Roman Forum to a sci-fi movie set on a futuristic Lunar Base. You can check out some recently published pieces on YouTube. We also just announced our third round of Jump Start participants. Let’s take a look at the cool stuff they’re working on.

jumpstart_11.jpg

Aidan Brezonick (Director), Justin Benzel (Author), Ivanna Kozak (Producer, Laïdak Films), Antoine Liétout (Producer, Laïdak Films), and Ivan Zuber (Producer, Laïdak Films)

Locations: LA, USA; Chicago, USA; Berlin, Germany; Paris, France

The team is working on a story set in the French countryside. It follows Henry, an aggrieved inventor struggling to overcome the laws of physics by reversing entropy. 

jumpstart_1.jpg

Alvaro Morales

Location: Washington, D.C., USA

Alvaro’s the co-founder of the Family Reunions Project.  He’s working on a collection of immersive experiences centered on undocumented immigrants.

jumpstart_2.jpg

Amaury La Burthe

Location: Toulouse, France

Amaury is creative director of Novelab/Audiogaming.  He’s working with Corinne Linder on a hybrid live action and CGI project about modern-day circuses.

jumpstart_4.jpg

Becky Lane

Location: Ithaca, USA

As a filmmaker and sociologist, Becky is creating an interactive journey through the history of burlesque dance to discover its impact on U.S. culture and women’s sexual empowerment.

jumpstart_5.jpg

Carmen Guzmán

Location: Puerto Rico

Carmen Guzmán is a Puerto Rican filmmaker based in NYC. She’s exploring the impact Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico’s communication systems and culture.

jumpstart_6.jpg

DimensionGate (Ian Tuason)

Location: Toronto, Canada

Ian Tuason, founder of DimensionGate, has showcased his work at the Cannes Film Festival, and is shooting the pilot episode of a VR horror serial.

jumpstart_7.jpg

Dominic Nahr and Sam Wolson

Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Dominic and Sams’s film will explore the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

jumpstart_8.jpg

Fifer Garbesi

Location: Oakland, USA

Fifer’s project will traverse the many offshoots of our lingual creation myth in a delicate interactive dance between viewer and journey.

jumpstart_9.jpg

Harmonic Laboratory

Location: Eugene, USA

The interdisciplinary arts collective Harmonic Laboratory is documenting TESLA: Light, Sound, Color, an original 90-minute theatre performance on the elusive physicist and inventor, Nikola Tesla.

jumpstart_10.jpg

iNK Stories

Location: Brooklyn, USA

iNK Stories is a Story Innovation Studio. They’re working on the immersive experience Fire Escape and the large-scale VR installation, HERO (premiering at Sundance).

jumpstart_12.jpg

Lisa London

Location: San Francisco, USA

Lisa is producing “Keep Tahoe Blue,” a look at the successful environmental monitoring organization. It’s a piece on community, volunteerism, and making a difference.

jumpstart_13.jpg

Lizzie Warren

Location: Brooklyn, USA

Lizzie co-founded AROO, a feminist VR collective. A documentary filmmaker, one of Lizzie’s current VR projects explores the human/animal relationships within a wolf sanctuary.

jumpstart_14.jpg

Majka Burhardt and Ross Henry

Locations (Respectively): Jackson, USA; Chagrin Falls, USA

Majka and Ross share a VR journey about the power of one mountain and the water that takes you from the summit of Mount Namuli, Mozambique to the Indian Ocean.

jumpstart_17.jpg

Making360

Location: Venice, USA

More than 50 creators are coupling neurofeedback with stunning VR video to unlock creativity by training people to consciously control their state of mind in any environment.

jumpstart_3.jpg

MeeRa Kim & Michael Henderson (Arbor Entertainment)

Location: Los Angeles, USA
The Arbor team is working on several projects including a 360 exploration of dance and music from the 1920s through present day.

jumpstart_15.jpg

Noam Argov

Location: San Francisco, USA

Noam is a producer and National Geographic Explorer. Her team will use VR to get an inside look into the life of a Kyrgyz nomad as he pioneers a new adventure sport: horse-backcountry-skiing. 

jumpstart_16.jpg

Sarah Hill

Location: Columbia, USA

The StoryUP XR team is creating a brain-controlled VR experience where you conduct a handbell orchestra with your positive emotions.

jumpstart_18.jpg

Sherpas Cinema

Location: Whistler, Canada

The team is working on an experience that will you on a guided heli-ski trip deep into the backcountry. High adrenaline, no crowds, and all the untouched powder you could ask for.

Zagat’s 2017 food trends: rainbow dishes, all-day dining and gourmet fast-casual

Zagat’s 2017 food trends: rainbow dishes, all-day dining and gourmet fast-casual

What have you been eating in 2017? Zagat is taking a look back at the top food trends of the past 12 months, based on data from Zagat reviews and insights from Zagat editors.

“Breakfast” is high on the list of most frequently used words in Zagat reviews this year, which aligns with the trend our editors saw in the popularity of all-day cafes. Restaurants like Atla (from Mexico City’s Enrique Olvera) and De Maria (from Top Chef’s Camille Becerra) in NYC, and City Mouse at the new Ace Hotel Chicago, focus on early morning and midday cuisine with brightly colored, (mostly) healthful dishes and interiors to match—perfect for Instagramming.

The boom of gourmet fast-casual continued this year. Chefs like Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm and Del Posto alum/pasta master Mark Ladner both opened concepts in NYC serving up affordable gourmet plates like salmon rosti or customizable pasta with homemade sauces. In Boston, chef Ming Tsai closed his beloved Blue Ginger to open a fast-casual spot called ChowStirs (coming soon). “Counter service” is the fourth most used term in Zagat reviews this year, which describes the style of service you’ll find at these spots (think Shake Shack or Chipotle).

madenice.jpg
Smoked salmon rosti at Made Nice NYC. Photo by Evan Sung

With more and more restaurants clamoring to create dishes to delight photo-happy social media addicts, rainbow-colored food had a watershed moment in 2017. This trend isn’t limited to Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino: NY-based spots like The Good Sort offered their take on the trend with a rainbow iced latte, and in LA, multi-colored pastries could be found at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

goodsort_wendyGeorge_NYC.jpg
The Good Sort’s rainbow iced latte. Photo by Wendy George

We featured a handful of some of Los Angeles’ trending dishes in this year’s Zagat Instagram Table, which brings together 12 buzzworthy items on one table for the perfect shot. Each day this week, we unveiled a new section of our table to create a complete overhead shot on the Zagat Instagram feed.

Zagat-LA-IGTable-2017-WendyGeorge.jpg
Photo by Wendy George

In no particular order, the featured dishes are:

  1. Octopus taco from Holbox

  2. Assorted donuts from Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts (including the nacho donut)

  3. The French Nest from Smorgasburg’s Lobsterdamus

  4. Mozzarella sticks from Casa Buona

  5. Assorted flavors from The Loop Churros

  6. Rainbow-colored ice cream sandwiches from MILK

  7. Corbarina pizza pie (cherry tomatoes, squash blossom, burrata, gremolata) from Pizzana

  8. Blue smoothie bowl from Great White

  9. Matcha croissant from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

  10. Classic fried chicken sandwich from Fritzi Coop

  11. Bacon banh mi dog and Loco Moco dog from Sumo Dog

  12. Tokyo-style dan dan noodles from Killer Noodle

Speaking of the City of Angels, LA is our Most Exciting Food City of 2017, thanks to all the exciting openings worthy of national attention (like Vespertine and Felix), and chefs from cities like NY and Chicago (like David Chang and April Bloomfield) opening their own unique concepts. Plus, LA’s long history of diverse cuisine makes it inspiring for both chefs and diners—and it’s getting more varied every day!

Check out Zagat.com for more on the hottest restaurants and food trends.

Title photo by Wendy George