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 […]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 […]
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 […]
Multinetwork WAN Services from IBM GTS uses Cisco SD-WAN as a foundation and then provides incredible value on top of it with their ITaaS offering and NirWANa dashboard.
Artificial intelligence (AI) can glean and utilize material insights from the data flowing across Cisco networks. As such, how should we think about AI in the context of company transformation?
When it comes to Chrome, security is one of our most important considerations—and that’s especially true when it comes to our enterprise users. We’re always looking for ways to further protect enterprises from potential dangers like ransomware, malware, and other vulnerabilities.
Chrome browser has been validated by third parties as a frontrunner in enterprise browser security, and we’re committed to constantly introducing more safeguards. That’s why the latest release of Chrome browser introduces a variety of new security enhancements for enterprises. From new ways to better isolate processes, to broader support for more advanced security standards, to the introduction of new policies, IT admins now have more options to protect their users and businesses from potential threats. Here’s a quick overview of the security updates this latest release of Chrome will offer, plus an update on a few upcoming changes in 2018.
Site Isolation: For enterprises with the highest security needs
Starting with today’s release, Site Isolation is now available. With Site Isolation enabled, Chrome renders content for each open website in a separate process, isolated from other websites. This can mean even stronger security boundaries between websites than Chrome’s existing sandboxing technology. Admins can read more to determine if this capability makes sense for their organization—and start implementing it immediately.
Making it easier to restrict extensions based on required permissions
Although admins have been able to whitelist and blacklist specific extensions in Chrome, we’ve heard feedback that it can be difficult to scale. Beginning today, IT admins can configure a new policy that restricts access to extensions based on the permissions required. For example, through policy, IT can now block all extensions that require the use of a webcam or microphone, or those that require access to reading or changing data on the websites visited. This policy is available now, and will help IT teams enforce necessary controls, without overly restricting users.
Version 1.3 of Transport Layer Security (TLS) and policy
Secure communication on the Internet is made possible through a protocol called Transport Layer Security (TLS). To support the latest security standards, we’re enabling TLS 1.3 for Gmail in today’s release of Chrome browser. The previous version, TLS 1.2, was standardized in 2008 and, although it can be secure when configured correctly, it’s in need of an overhaul. The improvements in TLS 1.3 make it faster and more secure, and we’ll be expanding TLS 1.3 support to the broader web in 2018.
Chrome browser users should not be impacted by this change. IT admins that are aware of any systems that are not interoperable with TLS 1.3 should post feedback in the admin forum. As admins prepare for the wider use of TLS 1.3, they can configure this policy for network software or hardware that will not transit TLS 1.3 connections. More details are available on this page.
Broader platform support for the NTLMv2 authentication protocol
Last week we shared on our admin forum that Chrome 64, coming in early 2018, will include support for the NTLMv2 authentication protocol, including Extended Protection for Authentication (EPA) on Mac, Android, Linux and Chrome OS. This allows all platforms to perform NTLM authentication with the same level of security that was previously available only in Chrome on Windows.
IT admins can enable this feature today by visiting chrome://flags/#enable-ntlm-v2. In Chrome 65, NTLMv2 will become the default NTLM protocol as it already is on Windows. More details are available on this page. With this update, Chrome will become the only browser to support NTLMv2 with EPA on non-Windows platforms.
Reducing Chrome crashes caused by third-party software
Last week we announced we’ll be implementing changes in Chrome to improve stability and reduce the number of browser crashes. Starting with the release of Chrome 68 in July 2018, we’ll begin blocking third-party software from injecting code into Chrome on Windows.
Code injection has historically been used by products such as anti-virus software. But it’s an outdated process, and we encourage vendors of such software to take advantage of the newer, more effective options available.
In the meantime, we understand sometimes businesses need to rely on such software, and we want to make sure they’re covered. We’ll be introducing a new policy in the coming months that will offer admins extended support for critical apps that require code injection to function.
Admins can visit chrome://conflicts to check if software currently installed on a computer is injecting into Chrome.
We’re excited to bring new capabilities to IT admins that enhance Chrome’s security and stability. For more information about Chrome browser for enterprise, visit Chrome.com/enterprise, or to share feedback, visit our Chrome browser Enterprise Admin Forum.