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If you’re a blind or low-vision user, you know that working in the cloud poses unique challenges. Our accessibility team had an opportunity to address some of those challenges at the 28th annual CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference this week. While there, we led a workshop on how we’ve been improving the accessibility of Google technologies. For all those who weren’t at the conference, we want to share just a few of those improvements and updates:

Chrome and Google Apps
  • Chrome OS now supports a high-quality text-to-speech voice (starting with U.S. English). We’ve also made spoken feedback, along with screen magnification and high-contrast mode available out-of-the-box to make Chromebook and Chromebox setup easier for users with accessibility needs.
  • Gmail now has a consistent navigation interface, backed by HTML5 ARIA, which enables blind and low-vision users to effectively navigate using a set of keyboard commands.
  • It’s now much easier to access content in your Google Drive using a keyboard—for example, you can navigate a list of files with just the arrow keys. In Docs, you can access features using the keyboard, with a new way to search menu and toolbar options. New keyboard shortcuts and verbalization improvements also make it easier to use Docs, Sheets and Slides with a screenreader.
  • The latest stable version of Chrome, released last week, includes support for the Web Speech API, which developers can use to integrate speech recognition capabilities into their apps. At CSUN, our friends from Bookshare demonstrated how they use this new functionality to deliver ReadNow—a fully integrated ebook reader for users with print disabilities.
  • Finally, we released a new Help Center Guide specifically for blind and low-vision users to ease the transition to using Google Apps.

Android
  • We added Braille support to Android 4.1; since then, Braille support has been expanded on Google Drive for Android, making it easier to read and edit your documents. You can also use Talkback with Docs and Sheets to edit on the go.
  • With Gesture Mode in Android 4.1, you can reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.
  • Screen magnification is now built into Android 4.2—just enable “Magnification gestures,” then triple tap to enter full screen magnification.
  • The latest release of TalkBack (available on Play soon) includes several highly-requested features like structured browsing of web content and the ability to easily suspend/resume TalkBack via an easy-to-use radial menu.

These updates to Chrome, Google Apps, and Android will help create a better overall experience for our blind and low-vision users, but there’s still room for improvement. Looking ahead, we’re focused on the use of accessibility APIs that will make it easier for third-party developers to create accessible web applications, as well as pushing the state of the art forward with technologies like speech recognition and text-to-speech. We’re looking forward to working with the rest of the industry to make computers and the web more accessible for everyone.

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One in three Internet users suffers from restricted access to the web due to government censorship, filtering or online surveillance, according to the free expression advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. Around the world, bloggers and cyber-dissidents are jailed for expressing their views. Reporters Without Borders makes sure their struggles are not forgotten.

We believe in a free and open Internet where everyone can express their opinions and learn from others. For this reason, for the past several years we’ve partnered with Reporters Without Borders to organize their annual Netizen of the Year Award, which honors an Internet user, blogger or cyber-dissident who has made a notable contribution in defense of online freedom of expression.

This year for the first time, Reporters Without Borders is asking you to help decide who will win the award. Nine “netizens”—from Bulgaria, Egypt, Honduras, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mali, Russia, Senegal and Vietnam—have been nominated for consideration. Watch the videos showing their stories and then vote at youtube.com/netizen2013.


We hope you’ll be as inspired as we have been by these brave people. The winner, based on votes from people like you around the world, will be announced on March 7. He or she will be invited to the award ceremony taking place at Google’s Paris office on March 12—the World Day Against Cyber Censorship.

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Smartphones and tablets are great for all sorts of games, and lately we've been thinking about new ways to play. Chrome Super Sync Sports is a new Chrome Experiment that uses the unique features of mobile devices to create a new gaming experience on big and small screens. In this game up to four friends can compete in running, swimming and cycling on a shared computer screen, using their smartphones or tablets as game controllers.



To get started, you’ll need a computer and a smartphone or tablet that run a modern browser, like Chrome. Visit chrome.com/supersyncsports on your computer, pick a game and decide if you’re playing solo or with friends. Next, visit g.co/super in Chrome on your smartphone or tablet and type in the unique code shown on your computer screen. You’ve now “super sync”ed your mobile device with your computer, and you’re ready to race!

Use the arrow pad on your smartphone or tablet to select one of 50 athletes and prepare yourself for the competition. The motions you make on your mobile touchscreen will move your athlete on your computer screen. To move your athlete forward and win the race, you need to make the correct gestures as quickly as possible. The better you are, the higher your chances of making it to the global leaderboard.


Select your athlete by using the keypad arrows on your mobile

Race using your smartphone or tablet touchscreen

Up to four friends can play using a shared computer screen

Chrome Super Sync Sports is available for Chrome v15 and above, and for Android 4.0+ and iOS 4.3+ devices. It uses the latest modern web technologies, including HTML5 features such as WebSockets for real-time gaming synchronicity on desktop and mobile, and Canvas and CSS3 for rich and engaging visuals. For more detailed information on the technologies used, see the “About” page.

On your marks, get set, race for your place on the World Leaderboard!

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As millions of people tuned in to watch the 85th Academy Awards, many also turned to the web to keep up with the action. Here's a look at the Oscar nominees and moments that captured the world's imagination and brought people to Google Search.

The award for “most-searched” nominee goes to...
We took a look at search interest in all of the Oscar nominees across categories. Here's a list of the most searched:

Top 5 Most Searched 2013 Oscar Nominees on Google 1 Jennifer Lawrence 2 Daniel Day Lewis 3 Anne Hathaway 4 Life of Pi 5 Les Miserables

At the end of the show, Best Picture winner “Argo” held the #6 spot, followed by Ang Lee, Christoph Waltz, “Silver Linings Playbook” and Halle Berry.

The 10 most searched red carpet dresses
The red carpet is many people's favorite part of the show. While no Oscar is awarded for "best dress," we wanted to know which gowns caught people's attention this year. The results are in, and the winners are...

Top 5 Most Searched Red Carpet Dresses at 2013 Oscars on Google 1 Jennifer Lawrence 2 Anne Hathaway 3 Halle Berry 4 Charlize Theron 5 Jessica Chastain

Beyond these top five, Brandi Glanville, Amanda Seyfried, Naomi Watts, Kate Hudson and Zoe Saldana took the next top spots.

The moments that caught our attention
This year's Oscars brought with it a number of unexpected moments that grabbed our attention. Early in the show, Seth MacFarlane was visited by William Shatner in full Captain Kirk regalia, come from the future to save Seth’s monologue; at 8:36pm ET, searches for [kirk] spiked to almost 1,500 per minute. Later in the show, “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” tied for sound editing, and people flocked to the web with questions. Searches for [tie] spiked to more than 5,000 per minute, with many people wanting to know [has there ever been a tie in the oscars]. And in a final surprise, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the Best Picture nominees and opened the winning envelope for “Argo.” Searches for [michelle obama] spiked to 4,500 per minute.

For more, check out Google Trends and visit our Oscars site
Before the ceremony started, we shared our “picks”—who would win if the Oscars were determined by search volume alone. Out of the six Google Search Picks, four actually won! Visit Google Trends to explore all the topics you're curious about. And if you want one more tug at the ol’ heartstrings, enjoy a look at the year’s top movies on our Oscars site.



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More than 2,300 students from across the globe applied for the first Google Journalism Fellowship. The interest the Fellowship attracted clearly demonstrates the need for these types of opportunities, especially as the worlds of journalism and technology increasingly become one.

The students who have been picked for the 10-week program will get the chance to work with organizations focused on exciting projects ranging from those steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age. They will also spend a week with the Knight Foundation and a week with Google.

We had so many applications—on the last day they poured in at a rate of roughly one every two minutes—that we extended our review period by a week to make selections. Our host organizations had the unenviable task of choosing just one Fellow out of the mass of talented students who applied; the Nieman Journalism Lab is taking two Fellows.

The Fellows who will take part in the program are:


Thank you to everyone who made the effort to apply and to the host organizations for their hard work.

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Chromebooks were designed to make computing speedy, simple and secure. For many of you, they have become the perfect, additional (and yes, affordable) computer: ideal for catching up on emails, sharing documents and chatting via Hangouts. We’re tremendously grateful to our partners—Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and HP—for their commitment. The momentum has been remarkable: the Samsung Chromebook has been #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for laptops every day since it launched 125 days ago in the U.S., and Chromebooks now represent more than 10 percent of notebook sales at Currys PC World, the largest electronics retailer in the U.K.

So what’s next? Today we’re excited to announce our newest laptop—the Chromebook Pixel—which brings together the best in hardware, software and design to inspire the next generation of Chromebooks. With the Pixel, we set out to rethink all elements of a computer in order to design the best laptop possible, especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud. The philosophy of Chrome has always been to minimize the “chrome” of the browser. In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best web experience.


Let’s start with the screen. This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today. Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it—so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organize tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger.

The Pixel has been engineered with the highest quality components to ensure it’s comfortable to use all day long and meets the needs of demanding power users. The body of the Pixel is made from an anodized aluminum alloy to create a smooth and durable surface; vents are hidden, screws are invisible and the stereo speakers are seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard. The touchpad is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation. The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise.

Other aspects of the Pixel include:

  • Speed: Speed has been a core tenet of Chrome and Chromebooks since the beginning. For Pixel, it’s critical that the overall experience, everything from loading webpages to switching between apps, is near instant. Powered by an Intel® Core™ i5 Processor and a solid state Flash memory architecture, the Pixel performs remarkably fast.

  • Connectivity: The Pixel has an industry-leading WiFi range thanks to carefully positioned antennas and dual-band support. Long-term evolution (LTE) is engineered directly into the machine, delivering fast connectivity across Verizon's network, the largest, fastest 4G LTE network in the U.S. (LTE model optional). It also comes with 12 free GoGo® Inflight Internet passes for those times you need to connect while in the air.

  • Storage: Since this Chromebook is for people who live in the cloud, one terabyte of Google Drive cloud storage* is included with the Pixel. This enables you to save, access and share photos, videos, documents, and all of your stuff from all of your devices, from anywhere.

Finally, as you’ve come to expect from all Chromebooks, all of your favorite Google products like Search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and Google+ Hangouts are integrated and just a click away. And since it’s based on Chrome OS, the Pixel boots up in seconds and never slows down, requires almost zero setup or maintenance, and comes with built-in virus protection. Best of all, it stays up to date with automatic updates every few weeks.



If you want to be part of the next step in the Chromebook journey, the Pixel will be available for purchase starting today on Google Play in the U.S. and U.K., and soon on BestBuy.com. The WiFi version ($1,299 U.S. and £1,049 U.K.) will start shipping next week and the LTE version ($1,449) will ship in the U.S. in April. If you’re interested in a hands-on experience, you can visit select Best Buy (U.S.) and Currys PC World (U.K.) store locations.

It’s one of the most exciting times in the history of personal computing, thanks to a rapid pace of change, innovation and consumer adoption of devices. Our goal is to continue to push the experience forward for everyone, working with the entire ecosystem to build the next generation of Chrome OS devices. We hope you enjoy what’s next.



*You will have 1TB of free storage for 3 years, starting on the date you redeem the offer on eligible Chrome devices.

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Are you a young artist from California? Alabama? Or Indiana (like me!)? Well, get doodling with the topic “My Best Day Ever…” for a chance to see your very own artwork on the Google homepage—and help represent your piece of the union.

Today marks the 30-day countdown to the March 22 submission deadline for the U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition. And in the spirit of friendly competition, we’re inviting you to rally fellow students and teachers in your state to take part in Doodle 4 Google’s 30-day Race to the Finish with an interactive map that shows the top submitting states. States are ranked in order of submissions relative to student population size.


Whether your state tops the submissions race or not, you still have the chance to become the individual state winner. The 50 state winners will win an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in May for the final awards ceremony, where we’ll reveal the winning doodle. The national winner will see his or her doodle on the Google homepage, win a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Download an entry form today to get doodling!

Fun fact for those of you who can’t get enough doodles: we run Doodle 4 Google competitions in many countries worldwide, year-round. Vote for your Irish favorites now—the winner will appear on www.google.ie on April 16.

As always, happy doodling!

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We all love a night at the movies. Whether it’s romance, horror, or action adventure, there's no better way to step into another world—even if just for a couple of hours. And for the past 85 years, millions of people throughout the world have gathered around their TVs to watch the Oscars and celebrate the people who make these moments possible.

For the first time, we've created a one-stop shop to help you get more of what you love about the Oscars.

First, if you missed any of the nominees in the theaters, don’t fret! We’ve put together a Year in Review video of 2012’s top movies. Take a whirlwind tour through your favorite moments, or see what you may have missed:



Want to explore more about the nominees? You can:
  • Click through our movie and celebrity knowledge graphs to learn more about your favorite picks, directly on the page.
  • Explore our customized Google Map, which shows you where some of your favorite nominated movies were filmed, as well as where the nominees were born. It’s geography with a celeb twist.
  • Download the Official Oscars App for Android, available for the first time in the Play Store.
Or, maybe you’re making bets with your friends on who’s going to win... Try taking a hint from Google Trends and see who the most searched-for nominees of 2012 were. You never know—the actual winners may end up being pretty similar to Google’s Search “winners.”

For those of you with the itch to win an Oscar yourself, see what it feels like in a Google+ Hangout—we've got a new effect that will make you feel like a star. And if you end up being so inspired by the idea of holding an Oscar, then we’d also like to hear what you’d say if you won the real thing, using the Oscars “Acceptance Speech” widget.

Oscars night is about celebrating the movies—whether you starred in them or just dreamed about the stars. We hope this site will help you get the most out of the night, so go ahead and join Google on the red carpet at google.com/oscars. And don’t forget to tune in on February 24 at 7pm EST / 4pm PST on ABC to see who this year’s lucky winners are.

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In the past month, both the President and Vice President of the United States have come to Google+ to participate in "Fireside Hangouts" to discuss the challenges the country faces and answer people's questions. On March 4, it's First Lady Michelle Obama's turn as she joins her first-ever Fireside Hangout to discuss Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The First Lady will be joined by Kelly Ripa, Emmy award-winning co-host of popular daytime talk show "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," and families from around the country.

Three years ago, the First Lady launched the Let's Move! initiative to unite the country around our kids' health and create real support for families to live healthier lives. Since then communities across the United States have worked together to share, collaborate on and create ways to improve the health of our nation's children. This year, the First Lady is using Google+ to celebrate the anniversary of Let's Move! and to connect with communities on Google+ who are passionate about healthy eating, fitness and parenting.


For a chance to join the Google+ Hangout with First Lady Michelle Obama, share your thoughts and questions on raising healthier families and communities on the Let's Move YouTube channel. Submit a video or text entry (video is preferred) telling us a bit about yourself, what your family does to stay healthy and a question for the First Lady by Thursday, February 28, 2013.

Then tune in to the First Lady's Fireside Hangout live on the White House Google+ Page or Let's Move YouTube channel at 11:10 am ET on March 4.

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Have you ever gotten a plea to wire money to a friend stranded at an international airport? An oddly written message from someone you haven’t heard from in ages? Compared to five years ago, more scams, illegal, fraudulent or spammy messages today come from someone you know. Although spam filters have become very powerful—in Gmail, less than 1 percent of spam emails make it into an inbox—these unwanted messages are much more likely to make it through if they come from someone you’ve been in contact with before. As a result, in 2010 spammers started changing their tactics—and we saw a large increase in fraudulent mail sent from Google Accounts. In turn, our security team has developed new ways to keep you safe, and dramatically reduced the amount of these messages.

Spammers’ new trick—hijacking accounts
To improve their chances of beating a spam filter by sending you spam from your contact’s account, the spammer first has to break into that account. This means many spammers are turning into account thieves. Every day, cyber criminals break into websites to steal databases of usernames and passwords—the online “keys” to accounts. They put the databases up for sale on the black market, or use them for their own nefarious purposes. Because many people re-use the same password across different accounts, stolen passwords from one site are often valid on others.

With stolen passwords in hand, attackers attempt to break into accounts across the web and across many different services. We’ve seen a single attacker using stolen passwords to attempt to break into a million different Google accounts every single day, for weeks at a time. A different gang attempted sign-ins at a rate of more than 100 accounts per second. Other services are often more vulnerable to this type of attack, but when someone tries to log into your Google Account, our security system does more than just check that a password is correct.

Legitimate accounts blocked for sending spam: Our security systems have dramatically reduced the number of Google Accounts used to send spam over the past few years

How Google Security helps protect your account
Every time you sign in to Google, whether via your web browser once a month or an email program that checks for new mail every five minutes, our system performs a complex risk analysis to determine how likely it is that the sign-in really comes from you. In fact, there are more than 120 variables that can factor into how a decision is made.

If a sign-in is deemed suspicious or risky for some reason—maybe it’s coming from a country oceans away from your last sign-in—we ask some simple questions about your account. For example, we may ask for the phone number associated with your account, or for the answer to your security question. These questions are normally hard for a hijacker to solve, but are easy for the real owner. Using security measures like these, we've dramatically reduced the number of compromised accounts by 99.7 percent since the peak of these hijacking attempts in 2011.


Help protect your account
While we do our best to keep spammers at bay, you can help protect your account by making sure you’re using a strong, unique password for your Google Account, upgrading your account to use 2-step verification, and updating the recovery options on your account such as your secondary email address and your phone number. Following these three steps can help prevent your account from being hijacked—this means less spam for your friends and contacts, and improved security and privacy for you.

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“I am standing in a partial enclosure made of sticks and plant fronds. This is the school for roughly 35 students, ranging in age from three to about 20 years old. There are no desks. There is only a single shared chalkboard, and it has gaping holes.” — David Rathmann-Bloch from the 21st Century Chalkboard Project, writing from rural Haiti.
These are just some of the many challenges faced by education organizations who applied for this year’s Google RISE Awards. The RISE (Roots in Science and Engineering) Awards program funds and supports organizations around the world that provide science and technology education at a grassroots level.


This year we’re delighted to give awards to 30 new organizations from 18 different countries. Combined they will reach more than 90,000 children in 2013, helping inspire and teach the scientists and engineers of the future.

  • Some, such as Haiti’s 21st Century Chalkboard Project and the Uniristii Association (site in Romanian) in Romania, help those from underserved communities gain access to computing resources.
  • Others, like the U.K.’s Code Club and the U.S.’s CodeNow, offer extracurricular activities that help interested children, especially those from underrepresented minority backgrounds, to learn programming.
  • A few, such as the Middle East’s MEET and iLab Liberia, seek to use technology education as a platform to bridge wider social and cultural divides.
  • Some, like Girlstart in the U.S. and New Zealand’s Programming Challenge 4 Girls, aim to empower girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In addition to receiving funding and support to continue their outreach, RISE Award recipients will be brought together for a global summit this June in London.

To paraphrase an old saying, from small seeds, great things can grow. The recipients of the 2013 RISE Awards have already made a difference. Connecting with other like-minded organizations will help spread valuable and practical expertise, and spark opportunities for global collaboration and expansion.

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When President Obama heads to a joint session of Congress tomorrow night, he’ll be honoring the 200-year old tradition of delivering the State of the Union to Congress and the American people. Two days later, the President will turn to Google+ to continue a more recent tradition, by taking questions online after his speech. You can tune in to the Hangout this Thursday at 4:50 p.m. ET.



Much like the Fireside Hangouts held by Vice President Biden and Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Munoz over the past few weeks, the President’s Fireside Hangout will include a group of people who regularly discuss important issues of the day online. During the conversation, the selected participants will ask the President their own questions—but we’d also like to hear from you before the Hangout. To let the President know what’s on your mind, head to the White House YouTube channel and submit a video or text question. You can submit or vote on questions you’d like to hear him address until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 13.

Looking for inspiration for your question? Watch the President’s State of the Union speech on YouTube tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET, as well as the Republican response from Senator Marco Rubio directly afterwards.

Then tune in to Thursday’s Fireside Hangout on the White House Google+ page or YouTube channel for a unique online discussion between the President and the American people on Google+.

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Last week we hosted our 2013 Solve for X event, where we gathered 50 experienced entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world, who are taking on moonshots—proposals that address a huge problem, suggest a radical solution that could work, and use some form of breakthrough technology to make it happen.

We heard 18 technology moonshot proposals, which you can watch on SolveforX.com. Make sure to catch Danielle Fong, whose creativity, courage and persistence shine through as she describes her potentially game changing idea for renewable energy storage. Take a look at Peter Diamandis and Eric Anderson describing their new asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources—exactly the kind of moonshot thinking that Solve for X was created to celebrate. Watch Flaminia Catteruccia suggest an ingenious shift in our approach to stopping the spread of Malaria, and check out Keith Black’s proposal to diagnose Alzheimer's 20 years before any symptoms appear using a test that could be included in a routine eye exam.


Solve for X: Moonshot Thinking

Supporting innovators in process, as they take risks and dream big
One of the reasons we created Solve for X was to provide a collaborative forum to celebrate and help innovators who are in the process of attempting to bring radically innovative solutions to reality—attempting moonshots. Moonshots aim to make something 10x better, not just 10 percent. We need many more of us to take on and support moonshots if we are to solve the seemingly intractable problems we face in the world. To do that, we need to better celebrate the audacity of the attempt itself—at the start and in process. Today we celebrate our greatest and most famous innovators after their success—especially those who overcame extreme hurdles and intense skepticism on their path to taking moonshots that solved huge problems. We don’t advocate for stopping this practice in any way—but we must also get better at supporting courageous innovators and their teams who take substantial risks to change the status quo as they begin and while they’re acting—without the security of knowing if the moonshot will work. (For more, read Astro’s piece on moonshot thinking today in Wired.)

SolveForX.com
Today we’re launching some updated features on SolveForX.com, a forum to encourage and amplify moonshot thinking and collaboration. We invite innovators everywhere to use SolveForX.com to promote and support one another, and we encourage everyone to join in, bring your passion and ingenuity, and think big.

SolveforX.com: A forum to encourage and amplify moonshot thinking and collaboration
Our vision for Solve for X is that it becomes a forum where technology-based moonshot thinking is practiced, celebrated and amplified by all of us. We invite you to come collaborate with us at www.SolveforX.com.

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At Zagat we’re obsessed with helping the world find the very best places. We have 33 years of experience working in the field alongside passionate communities of local experts to uncover all the hidden gems in your city. So when you see the maroon Zagat brand—whether it’s in restaurant window or on a Google Search results page—you know you’re in good hands.

Quality of service is a big factor people consider when choosing a place to eat. With that in mind, and with one of the busiest dining nights of the year coming up on Valentine’s Day, we want to help you find the restaurants that get good service right. That’s why today we’re releasing our list of America’s “top service restaurants,” based on ratings from passionate diners like you.

Here’s the full list of top service restaurants in 25 cities throughout the U.S., from the “impeccable hospitality” of the French Room in Dallas, to San Francisco’s Gary Danko where you’ll be treated “like a millionaire”:



We hope this helps you find a restaurant to your liking, and we invite to share your dining experiences—the good, the bad and all that’s in between—by posting a review on Google+. In fact, why don’t you give your favorite restaurant a Valentine’s Day treat and give them props for their great service now? Happy dining.

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You won’t need magical powers to take a journey down the yellow brick road; just point your favorite browser to the latest Chrome Experiment, “Find Your Way to Oz.” Developed in collaboration with Disney and UNIT9 in anticipation of the upcoming film, Oz The Great and Powerful, this experiment takes you through a dusty Kansas circus and leads to a vibrant land, following in the footsteps of the Wizard himself.



Like any good circus, there’s plenty to keep you entertained: compose your own music, play with a fun photo booth and create your own movie with a zoetrope. The path to Oz also involves confronting an ominous tornado; surviving it completes the journey, enabling fans of the movie to watch an exclusive unreleased clip from the film.

Chrome Experiments like “Find Your Way to Oz” would have been impossible a few years ago. Since that time, the web has evolved and allowed developers and designers to create immersive beautiful experiences. For “Find Your Way to Oz” the 3D environment was built entirely with new technologies such as WebGL and CSS3. It’s enhanced by rich audio effects thanks to the Web Audio API. The photo booth and zoetrope were built using the getUserMedia feature of WebRTC, which grants webpages access to your computer’s camera and microphone (with your permission).

For the best experience, you’ll need to use an up-to-date computer built to handle intense graphics. It also works best with a webcam and a modern browser that supports WebGL and WebRTC, like Chrome. For tablet or smartphone users, we have a smaller scale yet equally enjoyable experience that you can try with the latest Chrome browser on your Android device, iPhone or iPad.

If you want to learn more, or run away and join the developer circus, you can get an explanation of the technologies used on the Chromium blog or in our technical case study.

Start your journey towards the yellow brick road at www.findyourwaytooz.com.

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Technology can sometimes be complicated, but you shouldn’t have to be a computer scientist or security expert to stay safe online. Protecting our users is one of our top priorities at Google. Whether it’s creating easy-to-use tools to help you manage your information online or fighting the bad guys behind the scenes, we’re constantly investing to make Google the best service you can rely on, with security and privacy features that are on 24-7 and working for you.

Last year, we launched Good to Know, our biggest-ever consumer education campaign focused on making the web a safer, more comfortable place. Today, on Safer Internet Day, we’re updating Good to Know to include more tips and advice to help you protect yourself and your family from identity theft, scams and online fraud. You can also learn how to make your computer or mobile device more secure, and get more out of the web—from searching more effectively to making calls from your computer. And you can find out more about how Google works to make you, your device and the whole web safer.


For example, we encrypt the Gmail and Google Search traffic between your computer and Google—this protects your Google activity from being snooped on by others. We also make this protection, known as session-wide SSL encryption, the default when you’re signed into Google Drive. Because outdated software makes your computer more vulnerable to security problems, we built the Chrome browser to auto-update to the latest version every time you start it. It gives you up-to-date security protection without making you do any extra work.

Even if you don’t use Google, we work hard to make the web safer for you. Every day we identify more than 10,000 unsafe websites—and we inform users and other web companies what we’ve found. We show warnings on up to 14 million Google Search results and 300,000 downloads, telling our users that there might be something suspicious going on behind a particular website or link. We share that data with other online companies so they can warn their users.

We know staying safe online is important to you—and it is important to us too. Please take some time today to make your passwords stronger and turn on 2-step verification to protect your Google Account. Talk with friends and family about Internet safety. And visit our new Good to Know site to find more tips and resources to help you stay safe online.

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Ask any person who’s never traveled to Brazil what he knows about the country and it’s likely that one of their first responses is: Carnival (or Carnaval in Portuguese). It's no wonder: Carnival is one of the largest celebrations on the planet. As a Brazilian, I can also say that it represents much of what’s wonderful about our country—joy, cultural richness and musical diversity.

From Feb 7-12, YouTube will bring Carnival to the world for the third year in a row—giving you a front-row seat to the entire celebration on the YouTube Carnival channel.

The best Carnival is the one you choose, anytime, anywhere
What better way to experience a party the size of Brazil than by connecting to the rhythms and local traditions of six different cities—from Rio de Janeiro’s samba and Salvador’s axé to southern Brazil’s frevo. This year, you’ll be able to enjoy the festivities of Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Olinda, São Luís do Maranhão, Ouro Preto and Pirenópolis.

Pick from a series of live feeds, camera angles and performances from the city of your choice, right in the middle of the party. Channel feeds are made possible by a combination of YouTube Live and Google+ Hangouts. In total, you can access a total of 150 hours of live Carnival feeds—from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.


Here’s a little more detail on some of the celebrations:

  • YouTube from Rio de Janeiro—From Feb 8-12, you can dance as much samba as you want, as you watch the attractions of the Circo Voador concert hall or check out the calmer celebrations of Terreirão do Samba, a venue that receives various samba musicians and afternoon concert sessions throughout the year.
  • YouTube from Salvador de Bahia—For the third year in a row, you’ll be able to check out the best of Salvador’s famed Carnival route, Barra-Ondina. However this time, you’ll be able to choose from four different camera feeds located throughout the Carnival route, so you don’t miss your favorite carnival band. Follow Salvador’s most famous carnival artists such as Claudia Leitte, Chiclete com Banana, Asa de Águia, Ivete Sangalo and others as their mobile stages advance through the circuit.

Google+ joins the party
Everyone knows that a good party generates great photos. That’s why we’ve also joined with photographers who will be uploading pictures daily of Carnaval’s best moments from 20 different Brazilian cities at Google+ Carnaval.


Find the entire agenda of this year’s Carnival events at www.youtube.com/carnaval. To keep track of your favorite events and the artists you want to see, download the Carnaval 2013 extension from the Chrome Web Store, and make sure not to miss a beat.

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This year’s big game was filled with action—brothers battled on the field and a 34-minute-long power outage nearly turned the tide of the game. With all the excitement on the field, we looked online to see what fans across the U.S. were searching for during the game.

Overall, the top trending searches on Google during the game were:
  1. M&M’s
  2. Beyonce
  3. Baltimore Ravens
  4. San Francisco 49ers
  5. Colin Kaepernick
Other noteworthy trending searches include those about the power outage, which started trending mid-game and ended up ranking eighth out of the most-searched terms during game time. Searches for Beyonce spiked dramatically during her halftime show. And showing that ads drive consumer interest, searches for Chrysler spiked significantly after their fourth quarter commercial.


The most searched team: The Ravens
As they did in the game, the Ravens narrowly beat out the 49ers as the most searched team during the game on Google. The most searched players of the game were Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco, Michael Oher, David Akers and Jacoby Jones—thanks to his 108-yard kickoff return.

The Harbaugh brothers’ on-field battle has been one of the big stories of the game, so it’s no surprise that viewers took to the web to find more information on these coaches. While John Harbaugh took home the trophy, Jim was the most searched brother on Google.

Game day commercials
Lastly, it’s not game day without the commercials. Fans were seeking out commercials online throughout the game, driving searches for big game ads on Google 55 times higher this Sunday than the same time last week. The most searched for commercials on YouTube were ads from M&M’s, Mercedes-Benz, Disney’s “Oz Great and Powerful,” Lincoln, and Audi. Searches for "Gangnam Style" were also trending on YouTube, along with searches for big game performers Alicia Keys and Beyonce.

This year many advertisers turned to YouTube to share game day ads and teaser videos in the weeks leading up to the game. In 2013, big game ads or ad teasers were watched more than 66 million times on YouTube before game day.


Now that you’ve seen all the ads, vote for your favorite one on either the YouTube Ad Blitz channel or ADWEEK.com now through February 11. The winners of the Ad Blitz will be announced on the YouTube homepage on February 16.

Will you be Monday-morning quarterbacking the game or the ads?

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Google has worked with news publishers around the globe for years to help them make the most of the web. Our search engine generates billions of clicks each month, and our advertising solutions (in which we have invested billions of dollars) help them make money from that traffic. And last year, we launched Google Play, which offers new opportunities for publishers to make money—including through paid subscriptions. A healthy news industry is important for Google and our partners, and it is essential to a free society.

Today I announced with President Hollande of France two new initiatives to help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers. First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.

This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France—including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.