More great stuff to watch and a holiday sale on popular Daydream apps

More great stuff to watch and a holiday sale on popular Daydream apps

With cold weather outside and the holidays fast approaching, now’s the perfect time to take a moment and kick back with Daydream. We’re launching an update to make it easier to discover great content both in and out of VR, plus loads of new VR experiences to keep you entertained.

Find great VR content easily

With the latest Daydream app, you can now see what’s new and trending on the Google Play store in VR. And when you’re on the go without your headset, you can still search for apps and games, or explore content categories that refresh weekly right in the app on your phone.

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Watch immersive VR videos

There’s more and more VR content available all the time. From music and comedy to travel, check out some of our recent favorites.

Go behind the scenes with your favorite musicians

  • Why Don’t We: Step inside the house of Why Don’t We in VR180. Take a behind-the-scenes tour with band members as they walk you through their house and talk about the milestones and memories made in their house, including songs recorded, deals signed and videos shot.

Why Don't We

Looking for a laugh?


  • The Confessional – Episode 4: Hear from Judd Apatow in the latest episode of “The Confessional,” a series where today’s biggest comedy stars share intimate (and funny) stories from their lives in a virtual confessional booth.

See new sights and meet extraordinary people

  • Discovery TRVLR – Continents 1 to 4: Travel around the world—starting with Auckland, Hanoi, Mexico City and Yerevan—and connect with personalities and adventurers across the globe.

  • Female Planet – Episode 2: Discover the world of Inna Braverman, co-founder of Eco Wave Power, a company that converts wave power into usable energy.

Looking for cutting-edge VR creations?

Explore new apps—and get favorites on sale

Developers have been busy building some awesome new experiences for Daydream. Here are some of our favorites:

A timeless classic now in VR

  • Rez Infinite: Blast through waves of enemies and giant transforming bosses, with colors and sounds that sync and blend to the beat of the app’s techno soundtrack.

Rez Infinite

Coming soon to Daydream

  • ASTEROIDS!: Following the initial teaser, the highly-anticipated full-length film will be launching next week. From the director of Madagascar comes the follow-up episode to the Emmy award-winning film INVASION!. The film follows the journey of quirky aliens Mac and Cheez (voiced by Elizabeth Banks), and their sidekick Peas as they traverse the challenges of space.
  • Flutter VR: Explore the beauty of the Amazonian rainforest as you discover real butterfly species and see the environment change from day to night and rain to sunshine as you meet and discover new creatures. 
Flutter VR

Some original VR favorites are now 50% off for a limited time, too (discounts valid 12/7/17 to 12/14/17). Explore imaginary worlds with Beartopia and So Let Us Melt, embark on new adventures with Hunters Gate and Spark of Light, and hone your reflexes with Ultrawings, Drift, The Arcslinger, and Fishing Star VR.

We have lots more new features and exciting experiences in the works for 2018. If you’re new to Daydream, or you haven’t tried it in a while, now’s a great time to jump in. And remember, you can always bring your friends and family along on your VR adventures by casting what you see to a TV.

Simplifying your Organization’s Digital Transformation with Easy Pay

Simplifying your Organization’s Digital Transformation with Easy Pay

Get access to the latest Cisco innovations through an easy-to-use subscription bundle Explaining the complexity of digital transformation is actually pretty simple: organizations need the latest technology to function at the highest possible level and stay competitive. Sounds easy enough, right? However, addressing digital transformation can quickly become challenging and convoluted when weighing various business […]

Cloud Unfiltered Podcast, Episode 29: The State of OpenStack, and a Few Other Things, with Ben Kepes

Cloud Unfiltered Podcast, Episode 29: The State of OpenStack, and a Few Other Things, with Ben Kepes

He’s an ultra-marathoner, a highly respected tech industry reporter, and an angel investor (he’s not at all fond of that last label for its sheer pretentiousness, but I can’t think of any other way to describe what he does). He works a lot, but doesn’t really work for anyone—except himself. All of which makes Ben […]

From Switch to slime, here are the trending toys this holiday season

From Switch to slime, here are the trending toys this holiday season

As we enter the holiday gift-giving season, parents are thinking about how to surprise their kids with the coolest new toys. For toy stores, December 23rd is the busiest day of the holiday season, which often means braving the cold in the final hours before closing, scouring the crowded aisles—and hopefully nabbing something before it sells out.

But you can avoid that this year.  Craft your game plan early and shop with a purpose, using our list of the top gifts trending on Google Search. 

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Video games climb the leaderboard

Whether they’re searching for that new game or the must-have console, holiday shoppers are out in full force to feed their video game fanaticism. And some cities are looking to deck the halls—and their chairs—with a few more bells and whistles to enhance their holiday gaming experience: In New Orleans, Jacksonville, Miami, and Birmingham, gaming chairs (which often include speakers, cupholders, and more) are in the top 10 toys wishlists, in addition to the Call of Duty PS4 game and Nintendo 2DS, Sony PS4 Pro, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Xbox One S consoles that are trending nationwide.

And  the enthusiasm for video games doesn’t die down when Christmas is over. Last year, December 26th was the biggest shopping day in December— about just as big as Black Friday—for video game stores.

Tech toys are trending

Attention-grabbing gizmos and gadgets top this year’s list of toys. Kidibuzz, a hand-held smart device that lets kids message friends, play games—and yes, take selfies—has been trending nationwide, but it’s especially popular on the East Coast. And while searches for drones, like the DJI Spark Drone have been flying up the charts across the U.S. over the past two years, searches are the highest in New York and Los Angeles.

And last but not least, virtual pets are making a comeback. Kids are already going bananas over Fingerlings, mini robotic monkeys that blink, talk, and sing, and their popularity shows no signs of slowing down: Since their launch in August, searches for these must-have toys have grown almost 6x overall.

Toys you’ll want to #follow

This Christmas, the kids want more likes, and they’re searching for gifts to make sure their social media game is on point. Both the new LOL surprise toys and old-school slime are taking over social media, with thousands of YouTube and other social channels dedicated to reviewing these addictive gifts. The Midwest is home to the slimiest searches, where the interest for “slime” is the strongest. And New York loves a good surprise: they searched for LOL Surprise the most, with search volume growing about 50% as we approach the final holiday shopping weeks.

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Slime is trending this year.

Looking for local trends?

For more insights behind this season’s trends, check out the Shopping Insights tool to explore how various toys and gifts are trending in your region.

Trending search insights are based on increases in product popularity over the two week period leading up to December.

Your Search questions, answered selfie-style on Google

Your Search questions, answered selfie-style on Google

Whether you watch them on TV, listen to them on a podcast, or read about them in a magazine, you spend a lot of time wondering about the people who inspire you. Personally, I’ve always wanted to know if my favorite actor Will Ferrell can really play the drums. Now in the U.S., you can find answers to questions about notable people on mobile Search, and they’re coming directly from the source.

When you search for your favorite personalities, whether they’re rising stars or well-known celebs, their answers will appear in the form of selfie-style videos with a uniquely personal, authentic and delightful touch.

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We’re piloting this feature on mobile with answers from Priyanka Chopra, Will Ferrell, Tracee Ellis Ross, Gina Rodriguez, Kenan Thompson, Allison Williams, Nick Jonas, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Seth MacFarlane, Jonathan Yeo and Dominique Ansel. Whether you’re wondering what Gina Rodriguez’s pet peeve is, what movie changed Nick Jonas’ life, or want Kenan Thompson’s input on what makes something funny, these self-recorded videos share their perspectives and answers to some of your most-asked questions.

Today’s announcement gives you a snapshot (or should we say selfie-shot) of what’s to come, but in the next few months, you may see more videos as you search for your favorite personalities. For now, pick up your phone to search for one of the people mentioned above—you just might find a surprise video answer waiting for you.

How Greek businesses are going digital with Grow Greek Tourism Online

How Greek businesses are going digital with Grow Greek Tourism Online

When the recession hit Greece, Ntina Denaxa and her family faced tough times. They had to leave Athens and move to her husband’s hometown of Messaria, a small village in Santorini, using the last of their savings to renovate abandoned houses into a small hotel. Soon after, a neighbor introduced her to an adviser who was in the village showing local businesses how to promote themselves online, as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online program.

In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the Greek National Tourism Organization (EOT) and the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), three years ago we created the program to offer free training on digital skills to people working in the tourism sector. Since then, we’ve visited more than 80 cities and 37 universities, and created a free online training​ platform, helping 70,000 people of all ages and backgrounds, like Ntina, to grow their business or career. Since the training, Ntina has used her new digital skills to promote the hotel internationally and attract more guests: “Now we’re welcoming people from all over the world and when they come, they eat in local restaurants and buy local products. It helps everyone,” she says. “I’m proud of what we’ve built.” And Ntina is just one example—67% of the businesses confirmed they had concrete business results following our training.

There are even more opportunities out there. According to a recent study by Oxford Economics on the “The Impact of Online Content on European Tourism,” increasing tourism-related online content would increase Greece’s GDP by 3.9%, and generate over 176,000 new jobs.

We’ll continue to work with our partners  to expand our programs further by giving new opportunities to Greek businesses and students.

Bridging the digital skills gap in Europe through the Developer Scholarship Challenge

Bridging the digital skills gap in Europe through the Developer Scholarship Challenge

Everyone needs the right digital skills to get a job, grow their career or business, or become an entrepreneur or developer. That’s why we started Google Growth Engine in 2015, a collection of digital skills programs offering free online and in person training across Europe.

The Developer Scholarships Challenge is one of these programs, a partnership between Google, Bertelsmann and Udacity, to help Europeans develop the skills required to build winning apps. Together we launched the first phase of developer scholarships in November 2016, and in September this year, announced phase 2 of the Developer Scholarships Challenge offering 75,000 scholarships to beginner and existing programmers.

When we joined the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition back in 2015, we did so in the hope of helping to make a difference to people’s futures, and we have been humbled by the many stories of success we’ve heard from our trainees along the way. That includes people like Aaron, who made the risky decision to drop out of business school to pursue his passion for computer science. Looking to self-learn, he came across the Google scholarship on Udacity and went on to earn his Associate Android Developer Certification. He is now an Android developer at SinnerSchrader Swipe in Berlin and on track to fulfill his dreams of being a full-time developer.

Today, we’re delighted our initiative has been recognized by the European Commission, winning the EC Digital skills award in the “Digital skills for ICT professionals” category, developing high-level digital skills for professionals in all industry sectors. This is the second year in a row the EC has awarded Google for our digital skills work.

To date, we have seen more than 200,000 applications, with demand coming from every country in Europe. The initial 60,000 spots for phase 2 have now been filled and the new semester is underway. Still, we know there is much more we can do. App development represents an important opportunity for economic growth in Europe as the apps sector alone could employ 4.8 million people and contribute €63bn to the EU economy by 2018. However, 40 percent of companies report problems finding candidates with the required skills to develop apps and one of the key barriers is access to developer education for everyone.

We look forward to continuing our efforts to bring digital skills and new opportunities and we are committed to helping more people get the skills they need to succeed and to grow with Google over the coming year.

Upgrading messaging across Latin America with América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica

Upgrading messaging across Latin America with América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica

One of the most powerful aspects of RCS messaging is the ability to improve everyone’s messaging experience at scale, regardless of network, country, or device type. We’ve been working with the global carriers, device manufacturers, and the GSMA to bring RCS messaging to people across Europe, North America and Asia over the past year, providing a richer carrier messaging experience designed for smartphones. Today we’re excited to announce that we’re working with leading carriers América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica to bring RCS messaging to people across Latin America. In collaboration with these carriers, we’ll roll out RCS messaging in the countries where they operate over time, bringing better messaging to more than two thirds of all mobile subscribers in Latin America1.

With RCS messaging, subscribers will have access to all the features of a modern messaging experience, such as the ability to create rich group chats, see typing indicators and read receipts, share high-res photos and videos, and more. These features will be available right from the default carrier messaging experience through Android Messages.

The service will be powered by the Jibe RCS Cloud from Google, and will be fully interoperable between networks through the Jibe RCS Hub. In addition to connecting subscribers across América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi, and Telefónica, we’re also connecting subscribers with other networks on the Jibe RCS Hub such as Sprint and Rogers. So a Telcel subscriber in Mexico City, for example, could have a group chat over RCS with a Movistar subscriber in Mexico City and a Sprint subscriber in the U.S.

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As RCS messaging rolls out, people who already have the Android Messages app on their phone will automatically get access to RCS services through an app update. Since Android Messages is updatable, subscribers will always get the latest RCS features over time. Subscribers who don’t have the app can install the Android Messages app from the Google Play store. Many new Android devices will also come with Android Messages preloaded as the default messaging app.

RCS messaging also upgrades the business messaging experience currently offered through SMS, enabling brands to send more useful and interactive messages. When launched, América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi, and Telefónica will be able to offer RCS business messaging, helping subscribers access richer messages from the businesses they care about. For example, an airline could provide a full check-in experience, complete with boarding pass and terminal maps, all directly within the messaging experience. Or subscribers could chat with their carrier about options to upgrade their phones or purchase a new data package.

In addition to Latin America, this agreement with América Móvil and Telefónica will also enable the ability to launch RCS Messaging in European markets, joining the growing network of mobile operators offering RCS in Europe, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telenor, and Vodafone.

The RCS service will start rolling out to América Móvil, AT&T in México, Oi and Telefónica subscribers over the coming months.

(1) GSMA Intelligence

Posted in RCS
A crabtivating journey: Street View joins a crab migration of millions on Christmas Island

A crabtivating journey: Street View joins a crab migration of millions on Christmas Island

From herds of elephants in Kenya to penguins in Antarctica and frogs in the Amazon, the Street View Trekker has met some charming characters on its journeys around the world.  This week, Street View is venturing to Christmas Island, a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, to join more than 45 million local residents for their annual trip from the forests to seas. Christmas Island’s famous, endemic red crabs have begun their once-a-year migration

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Red crabs marching in the rainforest.

For most of the year, these land crabs stay burrowed in Christmas Island’s lush damp forests to preserve body moisture and protect themselves from harsh sunlight. But each year, they emerge from the forest shelter to march to the sea to spawn near the coastal waters. These bright red residents wait patiently for a precise alignment of the rains, moon cycle and tides to commence their journey. They’re starting to paint the town red and Dr. Alasdair Grigg on behalf of Parks Australia, is carrying the Street View Trekker to collect imagery of this yearly miracle for all to see. The migration concludes on the ocean shores when the highest density of crabs spawn and lay their eggs in the sand—a finale forecasted for December 13.

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    Parks Australia Ranger, Dr Grigg, holding a female crab carrying eggs in the abdomen.
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The volume of red crabs presents unprecedented conditions for the Street View image capture. As crabs crowd the roads, boardwalks and beaches, each step must be taken with care. Fortunately, crabs have right of way on Christmas Island, and Parks Australia has built walls and fencing along roads to direct the crossers to safety.

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Whether you’re in Ballarat, Bogota or Berlin, soon you’ll be able to experience the Christmas Island crab migration, and its grand finale (the spawning) on Street View. We invite you to join this marvelous march—and see why Sir David Attenborough calls this phenomenon one of the “most astonishing and wonderful sights.” You can expect to see the imagery from this collection on Street View in early 2018.

We’re Listening Blog: Road Trip to a Better Customer Experience

We’re Listening Blog: Road Trip to a Better Customer Experience

What’s more important, the destination or the journey? If you have time and energy for meandering, then by all means throw out the map and take the road less traveled. But, if you’re a customer seeking help, arriving at an end point quickly and easily is your ultimate goal. While no journey is ever completely […]

Cisco Weighs in on Mobile Privacy Case

Cisco Weighs in on Mobile Privacy Case

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court took up a case, U.S. v. Carpenter, that turns upon the “third-party doctrine.” The question before the court is whether cell phone location information obtained from a third-party mobile service provider should require the government to get a “probable cause” warrant instead of a court order requiring a lower […]