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Touring Bird takes flight in 200 destinations worldwide

From booking flights to securing hotel rooms, the online travel industry has made the logistics side of travel easier than ever. But the fun part of taking a trip is experiencing and exploring new places, cultures and people—that's the part travelers remember and talk about. Yet finding exciting things to do in a given location is often much more difficult than finding a cheap flight. There are many sources of information, and not all of them are reliable, which means that hours of research can still come up short.With Touring Bird, a web-based travel app from Google’sArea 120 (a workshop for experimental projects), you can explore, compare and book over 75,000 tours and activities from top providers. Touring Bird is expanding from the initial 20 destinations launched in September 2018 to 200 total destinations, available on desktop and mobile. Our coverage now spans the world, from Anchorage to Zanzibar.Everything in one placeWhen you select a destination city in Touring Bird, you'll see top sights,, suggested tours and activities with prices, options for free guided tours, and recommendations from locals and travel experts.Customizable, one-stop shoppingWe offer a “build-your-own package” feature for each destination’s top attractions. For example, if you want to explore Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Família church with a guide, visit the church’s towers and also see Gaudí’s whimsical Park Güell, you can find the tour package that meets those criteria. You’ll find offerings from multiple major providers (such as Expedia, GetYourGuide and Viator) without having to comb through endless tour descriptions on each booking agency’s website to determine what’s included or not.The travel experience you wantWe also curate hundreds of activities for every interest and type of traveler, whether you’re first-timers looking for iconic experiences in Zurich, travelers seeking more off-the-beaten-path activities in Athens, or families with kids on holiday in Dubai. All offerings can be further filtered by the type of activity that interests you, such as walking tours, classes or performances.Quick and easy bookingOnce you find a tour, ticket or activity that interests you, you can dig deeper and see what’s included—plus availability, prices, cancellation policies and reviews. Then you can filter by your trip dates and, when you’re ready, click straight to the provider’s website to complete the booking.One-of-a-kind experiencesLocal Tips arecurated recommendations for unexpected local experiences provided by destination experts. For those looking for something beyond classic guided tours, Touring Bird offers has got you covered. Watch sumo wrestlers train in Tokyo, camp by the beach with wild kangaroos near Sydney or explore the world’s largest historical toilet collection in Kyiv.After today's update, if you’re planning on traveling somewhere, chances are Touring Bird has it covered. Check it out at www.touringbird.com when you're getting ready to plan your next trip.

Google Fit is now on iOS

Being more physically active in your everyday life can help reduce the risk of heart disease, improve sleep and increase overall mental health. When we launched the new Google Fit last year, we translated the science behind physical activity into two simple and smart activity goals: Move Minutes and Heart Points. Now, we're bringing the Google Fit app to more people—starting today, it's available to download on iOS.Track your Heart Points and Move Minutes earnedMove Minutes and Heart Points help you build smarter, healthier habits throughout your day. The more you move, the more Move Minutes you earn. The more intensely you move, the more Heart Points you earn. And the more Heart Points you earn, the closer you are to reaching AHA and WHO’s recommended amount of weekly physical activity to reap the health benefits. Whether you go biking or pick up your pace while walking to your next meeting to earn more Heart Points, you can check your journal to track progress on these two activity goals and see how small changes can make a big impact to your health.  Connect your apps and devices on Apple Health with Google FitTracking your progress throughout the day should be simple and easy. Regardless of which apps or devices you use to monitor fitness, sleep and general wellbeing, Google Fit has you covered.Apps you connect to Apple Health, such as Sleep Cycle, Nike Run Club and Headspace, sync with Google Fit to provide a holistic view of your health and show the Heart Points and Move Minutes you earn through other activities. And whether you own an Apple Watch or Wear OS by Google smartwatch, Google Fit keeps track of your workout sessions. With your journal, you’ll get a snapshot of the things that you do to help you get better sleep, be more mindful and get more active. Visit the App Store and download the new Google Fit app today.

More ways to find authoritative information in Europe

Providing useful and trusted information online is a complex and important responsibility, especially around elections. Our aim is to build helpful tools that get you to the information you’re looking for. As we get closer to the EU Parliamentary elections, alongside our broader package of support, we’re making it easier to help you access quality content online. We’re also working in partnership with fact checking organizations to support a healthy news ecosystem online, as well as helping voters get the information they need more broadly.Making quality count in more countries in EuropeOn Google Search, we make algorithmic updates every day to ensure we surface authoritative content that’s useful to you. On YouTube, too, we’ve invested in new product features to make authoritative sources more prominent, including launching Top News and Breaking News in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and more. These features make it easier for you to find news from verified sources by highlighting videos in the Top News shelf, or showing the Breaking News shelf on the YouTube homepage for key news events.We’re working on bringing these features to more European countries in the coming weeks and months. We’ll also be launching publisher transparency labels on YouTube in even more countries across Europe, including the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. These labels will appear on the YouTube videos from channels of news publishers who receive government or public funding. Our goal here is to equip you with more information to help you better understand the sources of news content that you choose to watch on YouTube.A focus on the EU elections on Google NewsFor those hungry for EU election-related news, there’s a specific destination in Google News to get you to the top journalism on the election topics you care about, faster. You’ll see a dedicated “2019 European elections” topic for countries where Google News is available in Europe, pulling in the latest election news coverage in your country and across the European Union.Supporting elections news coverage with Google TrendsYou can also stay close to the pulse of the EU elections through Google Trends—the tool that helps surface the top questions, issues and most-searched candidates running in the elections. We’re working closely with news partners across Europe to surface Google Trends data and support data-driven stories on the latest topics related to the election. We’ve also created a dedicated Google Trends EU Election hub for Germany, France and the U.K.New tools for fact checkersWe recently launched two tools to help fact checkers work more efficiently and effectively. When publishers write a fact check article, they can tag the article with information about the fact check—for example, what was the claim being assessed, who made the claim, what was the verdict and more. Adding a tag, or “ClaimReview,” to a fact-check article allows search engines and social media platforms to easily recognize that it’s a fact-checking article, meaning it will show up that way in news and search results.The Fact Check Markup tool makes the process of tagging fact checking content using the ClaimReview even easier for reporters. Similarly, the new Fact Check Explorer helps journalists find fact checking articles for various topics through a simple search function–it is also available to all interested members of the public. The APIs for these tools are open, so developers can build their own applications to assist fact checkers around the world.Partnerships and support for fact check organizationsDriving a healthy news ecosystem online and combating misinformation means forging partnerships with industry organizations. We’re working with First Draft, an organization we’ve supported since they were founded in 2015. As part of the Google News Initiative, we’ve supported four verification training events—two-day intensive workshops—for hundreds of journalists in Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan. Journalists were provided with training on digital verification techniques and given access to use CrossCheck, a First Draft platform which helps journalists debunk misinformation and share their findings.We’re also supporting the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to launch FactCheckEU, a collaborative effort with 19 European fact-checking outlets to tackle disinformation and hoaxes. Organizations from 13 countries will share their work ahead of the elections in May, making their analysis publicly available in 10 different languages, with everything repeated in English.19 European media outlets are participating in FactCheck EU.We’re also providing digital tools and verification workshops across each of the 28 member states. In the last four years, the Google News Lab has trained 65,000 journalists in-person across Europe, and in the last four months alone we’ve supported 4,800 journalists to strengthen their newsgathering and research skills. Workshops have included tips on digital safety and security. For those unable to make the session in-person, the online training center is always available.Journalists attending a Google News Lab workshop in Helsinki, Finland.This is just a snapshot of our work around the EU Parliamentary elections. By partnering with trusted fact checking organizations, these new tools can help voters get and stay informed, better understand the political advertising they see and scrutinize and understand rival claims throughout the elections.

Six ways your Google Assistant can help you spruce up for spring

Spring is in the air, which also means it’s the season to freshen up your home. If you’re like me, cleaning your house doesn’t top your list of favorite things to do—but it still needs to get done. This year, get a little help from your Google Assistant on your phone, speaker or Smart Display—so you spend less time cleaning, and more time enjoying the outdoors.As we bid adieu to winter layers and welcome longer, warmer days, here are six ways your Assistant can help with spring cleaning:You can’t get something done if you don’t remember to do it. Set a friendly reminder to tackle your cleaning projects around the house. Just say, “Hey Google, remind me to clean my closet” or “Hey Google, remind me to store my winter clothes.”Kickstart your cleaning session by setting up a custom routine so your Assistant automatically gets things done for you—like playing your cleaning playlist (because music makes even the most mundane chores better!), turning on your Whirlpool or Samsung dishwasher, and starting a load of laundry with Whirlpool, LG, GE or Samsung connected appliances. It’s easy to get this set up in your Assistant app for Android or iOS and link smart devices: Just add a custom command like “let’s start cleaning” and then add each action you want your Assistant to take (e.g. start the washer). Once complete, say, “Hey Google, let’s start cleaning,” and watch each action start at the same time.Who said cleaning was a one-person job? Broadcast a message via the Assistant on your phone or voice-activated speaker (like Google Home) to get some help from your family. Say, “Hey Google, broadcast ‘it’s time to clean!’” to rally your family. They can even reply back to let you know they’re on their way.Delegate tasks by telling your Assistant exactly which room to clean. If you have an iRobot i7 Roomba, simply say, “Hey Google, vacuum the kitchen” or “Hey Google, vacuum the living room.”In the middle of a cleaning session and almost out of cleaning supplies? Just ask the Assistant to get more. Give it a go by saying, “Hey Google, order more disinfecting wipes” or “Hey Google, order more paper towels.”With all of this cleaning, chances are you’ll have clothes or other household items that you want to give away. To find the nearest drop-off, just ask, “Hey Google, where is the nearest donation drop-off?”While the Assistant can’t do all of the cleaning for you, it can help you streamline the process and make organizing your home more enjoyable.

Finding a place to charge your EV is easy with Google Maps

If you’ve ever driven to an electric vehicle (EV) charging station only to find that all ports are occupied, you know that you could end up waiting in line for anywhere between minutes to hours—which can really put a damper on your day when you have places to go and things to do.Starting today, you can see the real time availability of charging ports in the U.S. and U.K, right from Google Maps–so you can know if chargers are available before you head to a station. Simply search for “ev charging stations” to see up to date information from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect and soon, Chargepoint. You’ll then see how many ports are currently available, along with other helpful details, like the business where the station is located, port types and charging speeds. You’ll also see information about the station from other drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.You can search for real time EV charging information on Google Maps on desktop, Android, iOS and on Google Maps for Android Auto. To get started, update your Google Maps app from the App Store or Play Store.

Our commitments to the environment, today and every day

Steps toward a more sustainable future

People perform trillions of searches on Google each year, upload hundreds of hours of videos to YouTube each minute, and receive more than 120 billion emails every week. Making all of these Google services work for everyone requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work, like operating a global network of data centers around the clock and manufacturing products for people around the world.It’s not only our responsibility to build products and services that are fast and reliable for everyone, but also to make sure we do so with minimal impact to our planet. So this Earth Day, we’re taking inventory of the progress we've made when it comes to sustainability and where we plan to do more.We’ve scaled up our use of renewable energy.  In 2017, we hit a goal that we set five years earlier and matched 100 percent of the electricity consumption of our operations with purchases of renewable energy. This means that for each unit of energy we used that year, we purchased an equivalent unit of energy from a renewable source, such as wind or solar.When we buy renewable energy, we only do so from projects that are constructed for Google. This helps us bring on new clean energy supply to the grids where we operate our facilities.Today, a Google data center uses 50 percent less energy than a typical data center, while delivering seven times more computing power than we did five years ago.We use AI to help safely run our data center cooling systems—already this has resulted in 30 percent energy savings.We’re weaving circularity into our operations.  In our data centers, we use components from old servers to upgrade machines and build remanufactured machines with refurbished parts.We build products and services that help others become a part of the solution.  To date, Nest Thermostats have helped people save a total of more than 35 billion kilowatt hours of energy—that’s enough energy to power the city of San Francisco for three years.Researchers and policy makers use our Google Geo platforms to better take care of our plane. Product like Google Earth Engine help people combat overfishing, monitor forest change and protect the freshwater supply.Businesses that switch from locally hosted solutions to G Suite have reported reductions in IT energy use and carbon emissions up to 85 percent.Organizations that move IT infrastructure and collaboration applications, like Gmail and Google Docs, from a self managed data center or colocation facility to Google Cloud reduce the net carbon emissions of their computing to zero.Our sustainability work isn’t over. When we think long term, we’re working toward directly souring carbon-free energy for our operations-—24 hours a day, 7 days a week—in all the places we operate. Already, we’re working with governments and utility companies to chart a course toward making a 24x7 carbon-free grid  a reality so more companies and people can decrease their carbon footprint. We know that it is the right path forward, and we have just begun.  Along the way we’ll continue to find more ways to protect our planet with our sustainability efforts. Follow along with us in this collection that we’ll be updating all week long in celebration of Earth Day.

Being a mom is hard work. Becoming one is, too.

For seven years, Mother’s Day was the worst day of the year for me. It was an observance that felt completely out of reach, yet commercially and socially it was a reminder that I couldn't escape. I wanted to be a mom, but I was having trouble becoming one. For my husband and I, the inner walls of our bedroom became clinical, timed and invaded by fertility specialists. The outside world didn’t understand what we were going through—they saw us as a couple who decided to "take their time" to start a family. I began doing my own research and found out that 1 in 8 women in America are struggling, too. There are over 7 million of us who want a child but have a disease or other barrier that stands in our way.Using Google and YouTube, I found support groups, blogs and resources. I wasn’t as alone as I thought—like many, I had been silent about my struggles with infertility. It’s a less-than-tasty casserole of heartache, injections and surgeries, failed adoption placements and financial devastation.So I learned how to be my own advocate. I’ve spoken out, written articles and—most recently—lent my voice to the video above to raise awareness about the barriers to building a family. I want to better educate people on how to support their friends and family who are struggling with infertility.As today marks the start of National Infertility Awareness Week, I—along with the other brave women in this video—am dedicated to sparking a bigger conversation, and overcoming the stigmas and barriers that surround infertility. I'm excited Google is using its platform to help put this message out into the world ahead of Mother's Day. I hope that this year, even one more person out there will realize they’re not alone.

Go green with your Google Assistant

It can be hard to know how to chip in and make a difference to protect the environment. You can recycle, take shorter showers, or carpool to work—and now you can lower your carbon footprint just by asking your Google Assistant.With new advancements in smart home technology, it’s actually pretty easy to incorporate energy and water-saving actions into your daily routine (and save some money while you’re at it). This Earth Day, we’re sharing a few ways the Assistant can help make your home more environmentally-friendly.Simple ways to save energy and automateSwitch to LEDs. Swapping out just five incandescent bulbs with LED lights can save you up to $75 per year—plus, LEDs also last up to 50 times longer than incandescents, with a total life of at least 35,000 hours. Even better, pairing ENERGY STAR-certified smart bulbs like Philips Hue with the Assistant can help you control the lights with just your voice, or set lighting schedules to use electricity only when you need it.Choose ENERGY STAR certified appliances. Did you know that appliances contribute to a quarter of your home’s energy use? To optimize how that energy is used, choose an ENERGY STAR-certified brand like LG, GE Appliances, Samsung or Whirlpool, and connect it with Google Assistant to easily control appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens and air purifiers. Certain window air conditioning units and ceiling fans also work with the Google Assistant: Just say, “Hey Google, turn off the fan” to a Haiku fan as you leave a room or schedule your LG, Midea or Toshiba AC to turn off at the same time each day.Upgrade your thermostat. Many utilities offer rebates on smart thermostats because they make saving energy easy. Smart thermostats like the Nest Learning Thermostat can save an average of $131 to $145 a year (of course, individual savings are not guaranteed). That’s because Nest thermostats make smart, automatic temperature adjustments to save energy based on your habits. And you can even say “Hey Google, set the thermostat to eco mode” to make your home even more efficient.Monitor and protect from leaks. According to the EPA, the average family can lose 9,400 gallons of water annually from household leaks alone. To curb this waste, you can use leak detectors like LeakSmart, or install Flo by Moen to immediately get notifications if pipes leak, and use the Assistant to shut off the water.Curb your outdoor water use: You can still keep your lush lawn looking beautiful while using less water. Smart sprinkler systems like the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller reduce water usage and now work with the Assistant, so you can easily control and monitor these systems with simple voice commands. As part of your Routine, you can also set the sprinklers for early morning or at night to prevent evaporation. We’re also adding support for Rain Bird’s family of Irrigation Controllers in the coming weeks.How to set up everything with the AssistantDownload the Google Assistant or Google Home app and then click “Add device.” You can get started right away with commands like “Hey Google, turn down the temperature” with your Nest Thermostat. Or set up quick Routines that can help you automate energy savings by controlling multiple devices with a single command.Our commitment to supporting families and the environment  There are lots of changes we can make as individuals to combat climate change, but we're taking steps as a company to reduce energy in U.S. households, too. ThePower Project is our pledge to bring one million Nest thermostats to low income families by 2023. Along with a coalition of partners—nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and the National Housing Trust and energy companies like Georgia Power— we’ve installed Nest thermostats in homes over the last year to help families reduce their energy costs. This year, the Power Project is expanding to include partners Philips Hue and Whirlpool. Along with Nest, they’ll donate thousands of energy-saving technology products to Habitat for Humanity in the coming year. You can join us in providing energy-saving technology to those who need it most in your community by donating to nonprofits at nest.com/powerproject.Making consistent changes to reduce energy consumption in our day-to-day lives is the key to long-term conservation; even the smallest changes add up to measurable impact. With Google Assistant and the right energy-saving technology, these changes are easier to make than ever.

From kids' music to the tech world, without missing a beat

Matan Ariel’s young nieces and nephew live on the other side of the world, but they keep up with their uncle thanks to his music—and thanks to Google, too. Though they live in Israel and he lives in New York, the three kids love to ask the Google Assistant to play his songs, which have gone double platinum in their country.Matan, or “Uncle Matani” as they call him, works in sales in Google’s New York office. But he also has another love, children’s music, which brought him a level of success he never expected before he headed to Google.He first started singing full-time during his three years serving in the Israeli military. He was part of an entertainment unit for the navy, traveling from base to base to perform at various ceremonies, whether they were celebrations or memorials or something in between. “Think about it as a cover band for Israeli pop songs,” he says. “It was a range of different performances.”It was during his years in the navy that he decided to record children’s music. Some people in his entertainment unit were babysitters on the side, and they lamented the lack of quality songs for kids. Matan took action, setting up time in a recording studio and coming up with a plan to record as Matan Ariel & Friends. They chose classic Hanukkah songs, since they were in the public domain, and recorded the album immediately after their service officially ended.Matan and his group recorded modern covers of classic Jewish holiday songs, in Hebrew, and they filled an important need for families in Israel. “There were either the classic songs we all knew growing up, but recordings from the ‘50s and ‘60s that hadn’t been digitally enhanced. You could even hear hissing sounds from the original vinyl records,” he says. “Or there were newer albums where people were saying, ‘I’m going to create my own Passover or Purim songs,’ and they just weren’t as good.”And to Matan’s surprise, the album took off, selling out its initial run in just a few weeks. “I got an email a few weeks later, saying, ‘We sold out of the Hanukkah songs, so can we have more, because Hanukkah is still not here yet? And do you have Passover songs, and something you can sell year-round?’” he says. “I said, Sure, I’ll get you that!’”Eventually, the album of Hanukkah songs exceeded Israeli double platinum status. Matan Ariel & Friends recorded 17 albums and five DVDs, about themes like birthdays and animals and around holidays like Passover, Purim and Sukkot. Two of his favorites are an album of Israeli lullabies and an album of Israeli memorial day songs.After he graduated from college, though, Matan decided to step back from music and focus on the business world. These days, he leads a team of ad sales executives who work with agencies to help small and medium businesses use Google ads. He saves his singing voice for karaoke nights with friends and the occasional Googler cover band. At work, sometimes he’ll hand out CDs to his coworkers with children, but there’s one problem: many of them don’t have CD players anymore, so they just stream his music instead.Matan says the biggest reward he’s seen from his music has been with his young nieces and nephew, who he doesn’t get to see as often as he’d like. “I wasn’t a stranger to them because [my brother and sister-in-law] would play my albums to the children, and they would show the DVDs to the children. So Uncle Matani was someone the kids knew,” he says. “I would come to Tel Aviv and they would see me, and run to me and hug me. That to me is an impact that goes even beyond the sales.”

Visit the U.S. National Parks in Google Earth

Each spring, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation dedicate a week to celebrating the protected spaces in our communities. Today, we’re bringing the national parks to you in a Google Earth guided tour through 31 different parks around the country.From the breathtaking vistas of the Shenandoah Valley to the awe-inspiring hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, the National Parks allow us to truly experience the natural wonders of our country. Start with the pink granite formations of Otter Cliff in Maine’s Acadia National Park, then head west to explore the ancient Pueblo dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Finally, complete your journey with a peek through the North Window arch in Utah’s Arches National Park.Acadia National Park.pngAcadia National ParkMesa Verde National Park.pngMesa Verde National ParkArches National Park.pngArches National ParkOnce you’ve virtually explored the national parks in Google Earth, we encourage you to put down your phone, put on some sunscreen and get outside to explore the wonders that our parks system has to offer. Start by finding the park closest to you.

Presenting search app and browser options to Android users in Europe

People have always been able to customize their Android devices to suit their preferences. That includes personalizing the design, installing any apps they want and choosing which services to use as defaults in apps like Google Chrome.Following the changes we made to comply with the European Commission's ruling last year, we’ll start presenting new screens to Android users in Europe with an option to download search apps and browsers.  These new screens will be displayed the first time a user opens Google Play after receiving an upcoming update. Two screens will surface: one for search apps and another for browsers, each containing a total of five apps, including any that are already installed. Apps that are not already installed on the device will be included based on their popularity and shown in a random order.An illustration of how the screens will look. The apps shown will vary by country.Users can tap to install as many apps as they want. If an additional search app or browser is installed, the user will be shown an additional screen with instructions on how to set up the new app (e.g., placing app icons and widgets or setting defaults). Where a user downloads a search app from the screen, we’ll also ask them whether they want to change Chrome's default search engine the next time they open Chrome.The prompt in Google Chrome to ask the user whether they want to change their default search engine.The screens are rolling out over the next few weeks and will apply to both existing and new Android phones in Europe.These changes are being made in response to feedback from the European Commission. We will be evolving the implementation over time.

On World Heritage Day, explore historic sites in 3D

Last year on World Heritage Day, CyArk launched Open Heritage on Google Arts & Culture to showcase the technology used for heritage preservation around the world. This year, we’re expanding the project further. Our goal isn’t just to digitally preserve heritage sites at risk, but to make their stories and the data we collected available to future generations of researchers, educators and students.In addition to bringing new heritage locations and their stories to Google Arts & Culture, this year Historic Environment Scotland and the University of South Florida—organizations with a shared commitment to opening their 3D datasets to the world—have also joined the Open Heritage project. Together, we’re launching Open Heritage 3D, a dedicated portal for sharing 3D cultural heritage data and its results with everyone.The Temple of Apollo, a structure at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean.Explore the Temple of Apollo, or Portara—an unfinished Greek temple said to offer one of the most enchanting sunsets in Greece.The Neolithic Orkely, ceremonial stone circles.Discover the 5,000 year old ceremonial buildings at the heart of Neolithic Orkney.The Jefferson Memorial, a large white building with columns in West Potomac Park, in Washington, D.C.The Thomas Jefferson Memorialhonors one of America's founding fathers.The "spider web" wooden ceiling of the Lukang Longshan Temple.Discover Lukang Longshan Temple's impressive architectural features including painted murals, wood carvings and the largest spider web wooden ceiling in Taiwan.The front of the Masjid Wazir Khan, an ornately decorated Mughal-era mosque.Dive into the intricate details of the Masjid Wazir Khan, the most ornately decorated Mughal-era mosque.Launch Complex 34, a rocket launch site.Historic photo from 1963 of Launch Complex 34 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.The Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, surrounded by trees and a pond.Wander the streets of Vietnam's old imperial city and explore the majestic Tomb of Emperor Tu Duc.At CyArk, we carry out this mission through 3D documentation. In 2018, we traveled to Mexico City to support restoration efforts following the devastating earthquake that struck there in 2017. Our efforts included the 3D documentation of the city’s enormous cathedral. It’s one of many cultural heritage sites across the world facing unprecedented challenges from natural disasters, climate change, human conflict and urban encroachment. Today, we’re adding the data collected during the Mexico City project to Google Arts & Culture, along with 29 other endangered sites around the globe, including the Temple of Apollo in Greece, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the U.S. and the Tomb of Tu Ducin Vietnam.3D model of Mexico City’s Cathedral.Since we began this project last year, the data has been downloaded thousands of times, used to create 3D printed temples from Thailand and incorporated into VR experiences that let you explore an ancient city. Five of the new locations available today are in Damascus, Syria, a city impacted by civil war. From 2016 to 2017, we embarked upon an extensive training program for young professionals from the Syrian Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Lebanon, providing them with the tools and skills to document their heritage. Teaching our 3D documentation methodology is a core part of our mission and is becoming increasingly more important as organizations around the world adopt the use of 3D recording technologies.Photogrammetry at the Temple of Eshmun.You can explore more stories by visiting g.co/openheritage, downloading the Android or iOS app or visiting Google Arts & Culture.

Spring into healthy habits with help from Google Home

Spring is (finally) here. Not only am I using the warmer weather and longer days as a reason to clean out my closet, but I'm also taking the opportunity to clean up my routine and stick to my wellness goals. I'd like to read one book per week, cook more healthy recipes for my family and get at least seven hours of sleep per night… with a full time job and two toddlers. Life is a lot to manage, so I use my Google Home products to keep track of everything I want to accomplish.Here are a few ways that your Google Assistant on Google Home devices can help with your wellness goals and put some spring in your step:Get more sleepStarting today, our Gentle Sleep & Wake feature lets you use any Google Home device to set a routine that gradually turns your Philips Hue smart lights on (wake) or off (sleep) over the course of 30 minutes, to mimic the sunrise or help you prepare for bed. This gradual change of light helps improve the quality of your sleep. Just say, “Hey Google,” then:“Turn on Gentle Wake up" to have your daily morning alarms pair with gradual brightening. Make sure to enable Gentle Wake Up on the same Google Home device you’ll  set your alarms on."Wake up my lights." You can also say, “Hey Google, wake up my lights in the bedroom at 6:30 a.m.” This will start to gradually brighten your Philips Hue lights at the time that you set and can be set up to 24 hours in advance. "Sleep my lights." You can also say, “Hey Google, sleep the lights in the living room.” This will gradually start to dim your Philips Hue lights and can be programmed up to 24 hours in advance. The Gentle Sleep & Wake feature is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Singapore and India in English only. For other ways to wind down at the end of the day, you can also tune out noises from street traffic or construction next door by saying, “Hey Google, play white noise.”Put your mind to bedWith Headspace on Google Home, you can try out a short meditation or a sleep exercise. Just say, "Hey Google, tell Headspace I'm ready for bed.” You can also say, “Hey Google, I want to meditate” to get recommendations like healing sounds, sleep sounds and more.Cook healthy recipesCooking is easy with Google Home’s step-by-step recipes, and the convenience of a screen on Google Home Hub means that I can search for healthy family recipes and save them to “My Cookbook” for later. Use your voice to browse millions of recipes, get guided cooking instructions, set cooking timers and more.Get some exerciseUse your Google Home to play your workout playlist, set alarms for working out or cast workout videos from YouTube to your TV with Google Home and Chromecast. If you’ve got a Google Home Hub, you can also watch workout videos right on the device. Try “Hey Google, show me barre workout videos” to get started.Read more booksWith Audiobooks on Google Play, you can buy an audiobook and listen to it on Google Home. Say, “Hey Google, read my book” to listen to your favorite audiobook hands-free with the Google Assistant. You can also use the Assistant on your phone to pick up where you left off. You can say, “Hey Google, stop playing in 20 minutes” to set a timer for bedtime reading each night, or multitask by listening to a book while tackling laundry or doing the dishes.Hopefully your Google Home Hub, Mini or Max can help keep you healthy, happy and mindful for the remainder of 2019 and beyond.

With the Roav Bolt, use your Google Assistant safely when driving

I spend so much time on the road every day, whether I’m hustling to the office or picking up the kids at school. While I’m driving, it can be very tempting to pull out my phone to check text messages, make phone calls or fumble around to find my favorite podcast. One way to safely stay connected and use your phone hands-free while on the road is by using the Roav Bolt, an affordable aftermarket device by Anker Innovations. The Roav Bolt is built to work with Android devices, and brings the Google Assistant to almost any car. Just say, “Hey Google,” when you’re in the car or tap the button on Roav Bolt to find the nearest coffee shop, play your favorite song or podcast, navigate home, read texts, make calls, set reminders and check your schedule for the day. Roav Bolt plugs into your car’s charging socket, connecting to your phone’s Bluetooth and then to your car’s stereo. The far-field built-in mics on the Roav Bolt ensure that your Assistant hears you clearly, whether your phone is locked or stashed away or if you’re blasting music.Here’s a closer look at what you can do with the Assistant using Roav Bolt, starting with “Hey Google”: NavigationAsk the Google Assistant to help you get to your destination and find the things you need as you’re driving, such as current traffic along your route, nearby gas stations, or restaurants and businesses.“Navigate home/to work”“How’s the traffic to Los Angeles?”“Share my ETA with Evelyn” “Find a gas station on the way” “Find dry cleaners nearby”EntertainmentThe Google Assistant can play your favorite songs, radio stations, audiobooks and podcasts through your car’s sound system.“Play {song / artist / album}”“Play {Jazz / Country / Top 40}”“Play {content} on {app name}”“Play the latest episode of {podcast}”“What’s on the news?”CommunicationCall, send a message and have your notifications read out loud while you’re driving, all with just with your voice. And with proactive notifications, stay connected without needing to look at your phone so you don’t miss important updates while you’re in the car.“Call” or “text [contact, or business name]”“Send message to [name] on [App: Whatsapp / Wechat / Hangouts]”“Read my messages”Get things doneControl compatible smart home devices on the go—check that the lights are turned off when you leave home and adjust the thermostat when you’re on your way home. You can also check what’s on your calendar, add things to a shopping list and set up important reminders like picking up your dry cleaning at a specific time.“What’s on my agenda today?”“Turn off all the lights at home”“Remind me to pick up dry cleaning at 6:00 p.m.”“Add milk to my shopping list”The Roav Bolt will also be available for iOS in a beta experience with limited capabilities to begin with. You can find the Roav Bolt online and in store at major retailers, including Best Buy retail locations, bestbuy.com and walmart.com for $49.99.

At Tech Day, hundreds of kids dive deep into STEM

On April 13 and 14, Google’s Mountain View campus suddenly had a much younger population. That’s because 875 high school students stopped by for Google’s fourth annual Tech Day. Over 150 Google and Alphabet volunteers joined the kids in 129 interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities to empower them with knowledge and inspire them to get started in disciplines like computer science.But Tech Day isn’t just about fun and games. The event was designed for students who may not have regular access to technology classes at their schools. The students who attend Tech Day have very little experience in technology and computing, but they might leave the event inspired to pursue a new career path.Software engineer Matthew Dierker started Tech Day in 2016, based on a similar event at his alma mater. He started his university’s program along with a friend at the University of Illinois, and decided to bring the idea to the Bay Area. “I thought it'd be a natural fit here, given the large number of passionate engineers in Silicon Valley, plus I like organizing stuff,” he says. “I gathered a few friends and that effort found a good home in Google's engEDU initiative.”Since then, Tech Day has expanded to a full weekend, with three times the students it had in 2016. And the list of activities has grown beyond just classes. Kids can now participate in games and breakout sessions that help them loosen up around technology. The event’s organizers say one of the biggest obstacles the kids face is not seeing all the career options they may have. “They might think they can’t work in any role in tech just because they struggle with math. This isn’t the case,” says Melaena Roberts, a software engineer and volunteer team lead.User experience designer Bingying Xia says she volunteers at Tech Day because she’d like to let students know that there's more to tech than computer science. “The world also needs smart, creative designers to find user problems and come up with innovative design solutions,” she says.Even if students aren’t interested in pursuing a career in the industry, one of Tech Day’s biggest goals is to make technology seem less intimidating. “Technological skills apply to any job, even outside of the technology industry. Tech isn't all sitting at a desk in front of a computer,” Matthew says. “If that inspires enough curiosity to keep someone learning, the skills they learn will almost certainly be useful regardless of what they wind up doing.”Organizers and volunteers really invest themselves during Tech Day to give students as much knowledge as they can, but they learn a lot from the students, too. Melaena says student feedback has informed how Tech Day has changed over the years. Volunteer Volker Grabe, a software engineer at Waymo, says he notices kids speak their minds more as the day goes on and they realize the day isn’t as tough or competitive as they expected.Their main takeaway from the students? They’re curious about tech and excited to learn outside the classroom. “I saw raw passion, curiosity, and excitement in the students,” says volunteer Hannah Huynh, a product design engineer. “I was impressed that these students were so dedicated to give up their weekend to learn about engineering.”

New research shows how Android helps companies build a digital workforce

IDC reports that by 2022, 75 percent of CIOs who don’t transition their organization to flexible IT product teams that use technology to solve problems in new ways will fall behind the competition. According to IDC, mobility is the key to building a connected workforce that’s agile, particularly when the organization is going through rapid change.  In new research sponsored by Google, IDC asserts that teams can thrive with platforms that feature a diversity of hardware, offer strong security, and support IT management that balances with user experience. This series of whitepapers, videos and blog posts detail the critical role that mobility plays in achieving these core pillars and the strengths that Android offers as a strategic platform of choice for enterprise.Phil Hochmuth, Program Director of IDC Mobility, said that for businesses to transform how their workers do their jobs with mobility, they must address key challenges around mobile computing risk, device capabilities, and form-factor selection, as well as the underlying provisioning and management of mobile end-user technology. IDC sees Android as a strategic platform that addresses each pillar to consider when choosing a mobile platform: Overall security, solution breath, and IT management capabilities balanced with user experience.Android security extends from the hardware to the application stack, ensuring corporate data is kept secure. Our broad set of OEM partners offers a wide range of both price points as well as form factors that can enable every worker. And Android IT management capabilities span from the Work Profile, which separates personal data from corporate data access on a BYOD or personally enabled device, to locked down modes that control the device experience to a set of IT approved applications. Combined with innovative tools that bring machine learning, immersive experiences, and both native and web apps to users, Android is well suited to powering an organization’s digital transformation efforts.Explore the IDC findings to discover how Android powers a mobile, connected workforce and can help your company take the next steps toward transitioning to a digital workforce.

Gathering insights in Google Analytics can be as easy as A-B-C

Today’s customers are deeply curious, searching high and low for information about a product before making a purchase. And this curiosity applies to purchases big and small—just consider the fact that mobile searches for “best earbuds” have grown by over 130 percent over the last two years. (Google Data, US, Oct 2015 - Sep 2016 vs. Oct 2017 - Sep 2018. ) To keep up with this curious customer, marketers are putting insights at the center of the strategy so that they can understand customers’ intentions and deliver a helpful, timely experience.In our new guide about linking Google Analytics and Google Ads, we explore the broad range of reports available in Analytics. These reports give you crucial insights about the customer journey that can then be used to inform your campaigns in Google Ads. Here’s what you should know about the A-B-Cs of reporting.Acquisition reportsHow did your customers end up on your site in the first place? Acquisition reports answer this question, offering insights about how effectively your ads drive users to your site, which keywords and search queries are bringing new users to your site, and much more. This video gives you a quick overview of how Acquisition reports work.  Behavior reportsHow do you users engage with your site once they visit? Behavior reports give you valuable insights about how users respond to the content on your site. You can learn how each page is performing, what actions users are taking on your site, and much more about the site experience. Learn more about behavior reporting here.Conversion reportsWhat path are users taking towards conversion? Conversion reporting in Analytics gathers valuable insights about those actions that are important to the success of your business—such as a purchase or completed sign-up for your email newsletter. Goal Flow reports help you see how a user engages as they move toward a conversion while Ecommerce reports are specifically designed to deliver insights for sites centered around purchases.Reports open up a world of actionable insights that help you deeply understand and then quickly enhance a customer journey that is more complex than ever.Missed the other posts in this series? Catch up now to read how creating effective campaigns for the modern customer journey can be achieved by bringing Google Analytics and Google Ads together.And, download our new guide and learn how getting started with these reports is easy as A-B-C.

Want to Change the Game? Design your own with Google Play

Calling all future game creators and designers! We’re looking for teens to share their game idea and vision for the future of gaming for a chance to see their game come to life on Google Play.Today, we’re opening up our second annual Change the Game Design Challenge with Girls Make Games to inspire teens to consider a career in gaming—and celebrate women as players and creators. The Grand Prize Winner will win a $15,000 college scholarship and $15,000 for their school or community center’s technology program.The top five finalists will serve as the creative directors for their game, teaming up with Girls Make Games and game industry veterans to develop and launch their game on Google Play. They’ll also receive an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to showcase their game design and meet the mentors who will be helping to build their game. The finalists will join a celebration of women in gaming, get a VIP tour of Google Los Angeles, a scholarship to attend Girls Make Games Summer Camp and more.The contest is open to U.S. residents only. For more information, including submission guidelines and how to enter, please visit g.co/ctgdesignchallenge. Looking for inspiration on what kind of game to create? Check out what last year’s finalists dreamed up.

Suit up with Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame and Pixel

Want to defeat a villain like Thanos and save the world?Now #teampixel can, with a little help from Marvel Studios and Playground, a creative mode in the Pixel camera that gives you the power to create and play with the world around you using augmented reality. Just in time for the upcoming release of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame,” in theaters April 26, today we’re adding to our collection of Playmoji from the Marvel Cinematic Universe with five new characters: War Machine, Thor, Black Widow, Rocket and Captain Marvel.The heroes join Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Nebula and Okoye in Playground, so now you can make even more epic scenes come to life by adding the interactive characters to your photos and videos. Thanks to ARCore’s motion tracking, light estimation and ability to understand the real world, the Playmoji look and feel lifelike, and react to your facial expressions in real time.You don’t need superhero strength or a suit of armor to unleash the power of Playground—you just need a Pixel and the newest Playmoji joining the Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame pack.For some added fun, we reimagined the Marvel Cinematic Universe by exploring what would happen if Pixel 3 was launched into a world in need of a little assistance, alongside the Avengers.So whether you’re suiting up to defeat Thanos or getting ready to supercharge your selfie, start saving the world alongside your favorite Playmoji using Playground today. Show us how you’re assembling to defeat Thanos on social with #pixelendgame.