Celebrating 10 years of shared success

Ten years ago we launched AdSense to help publishers earn money by placing relevant ads on their websites. I can still remember the excitement and anticipation as AdSense went live that first day. Our small team huddled together in a cramped conference room, and right away we saw that publishers were as excited about AdSense as we were.

Fast-forward 10 years, and AdSense has become a core part of Google’s advertising business. The AdSense community has grown to include more than 2 million publishers, and last year alone, publishers earned more than $7 billion from AdSense. AdSense is a community that thrives because of all the content creators we are so fortunate to partner with. Their stories inspire us to do our part to make AdSense great.

On this occasion, it’s especially inspiring to hear the stories of partners who have been with us since the very beginning—like a retiree in New Zealand who was able to pursue her dream of writing about her garden, a tech support expert in Colorado who can spend more time with his kids, and a theme park reviewer who now sends employees around the world to test and review rides—all thanks to money earned from AdSense.

As part of our 10th anniversary celebration, we hope you’ll tune into our live Hangout on Air today at 10 a.m. PDT (5 p.m. GMT) on the AdSense Google+ page. I look forward to joining several of our partners to share stories from the early days of AdSense, talk about how we’ve all grown since then, and discuss the future for publishers and online advertising. And if you want even more 10th anniversary celebration, just visit our AdSense 10th anniversary page at any time.

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, SVP, Ads and Commerce

Chromebooks: coming to more stores near you

In Northern California where I live, summer is here, which means family vacations, kids’ camps, BBQs and hopefully some relaxation. But it also means back-to-school shopping is just around the corner. So in case you’re on the hunt for a laptop in addition to pens, paper, and stylish new outfits, your search just got a whole lot easier. Chromebooks—a fast, simple, secure laptop that won’t break the bank—will now be carried in over 3 times more stores than before, or more than 6,600 stores around the world.

In addition to Best Buy and Amazon.com, we’re excited to welcome several new retailers to the family. Starting today, Walmart will be making the newest Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive (SSD), available in approximately 2,800 stores across the U.S., for just $199. Look for Chromebooks coming to the laptop sections of a Walmart near you this summer.

And beginning this weekend, Staples will bring a mix of Chromebooks from Acer, HP and Samsung to every store in the U.S.—more than 1,500 in total. You can also purchase via Staples online, while businesses can purchase through the Staples Advantage B2B program. In the coming months select Office Depot, OfficeMax, and regional chains Fry’s and TigerDirect locations will begin selling Chromebooks.

In the 10 other markets worldwide where Chromebooks are sold, availability in national retailers continues to expand. In addition to Dixons in the UK, now 116 Tesco stores are selling Chromebooks, as well as all Media Markt and Saturn stores in the Netherlands, FNAC stores in France and Elgiganten stores in Sweden. In Australia, all JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores will be carrying Chromebooks for their customers as well. We’re working hard to bring Chromebooks to even more countries later this year.

Chromebooks make great computers for everyone in the family—and now you shouldn’t have to look very far to find one. Happy summer!

Posted by David Shapiro, Director of Chromebook Marketing

Happy Small Business Week.

Our first AdWords customer was a small business selling live mail-order lobsters. It’s been a long time since then, but a majority of our customers are still small businesses, who play a vital role not only for Google, but for the American economy. More than 60 percent of new jobs each year come from small businesses.

This Small Business Week, we want to celebrate you. We’re grateful to you for everything you do for us and our communities. Whether you fix people’s cars, offer music lessons to aspiring musicians, or make the world’s best homemade ice cream—when you do what you love, our lives get better.

As part of the celebration, we’ll be highlighting some amazing small businesses across the country, so keep an eye on the Google+ Your Business page. And in the meantime, check out some of the Google tools that are designed to help you take care of business.

Happy Small Business Week.

Posted by Lisa Gevelber, VP Marketing, Americas

Our continued commitment to combating child exploitation online

The Internet has been a tremendous force for good—increasing access to information, improving people’s ability to communicate and driving economic growth. But like the physical world, there are dark corners on the web where criminal behavior exists.

In 2011, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC’s) Cybertipline Child Victim Identification Program reviewed 17.3 million images and videos of suspected child sexual abuse. This is four times more than what their Exploited Children’s Division (ECD) saw in 2007. And the number is still growing. Behind these images are real, vulnerable kids who are sexually victimized and victimized further through the distribution of their images.

It is critical that we take action as a community—as concerned parents, guardians, teachers and companies—to help combat this problem.

Child sexual exploitation is a global problem that needs a global solution. More than half of the images and videos sent to NCMEC for analysis are found to have been uploaded to U.S. servers from outside the country. With this in mind, we need to sustain and encourage borderless communication between organizations fighting this problem on the ground. For example, NCMEC’s CyberTipline is able to refer reports regarding online child sexual exploitation to 66 countries, helping local law enforcement agencies effectively execute their investigations.

Google has been working on fighting child exploitation since as early as 2006 when we joined the Technology Coalition, teaming up with other tech industry companies to develop technical solutions. Since then, we’ve been providing software and hardware to helping organizations all around the world to fight child abuse images on the web and help locate missing children.

There is much more that can be done, and Google is taking our commitment another step further through a $5 million effort to eradicate child abuse imagery online. Part of this commitment will go to global child protection partners like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the Internet Watch Foundation. We’re providing additional support to similar heroic organizations in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and Latin America.

Since 2008, we’ve used “hashing” technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere. Each offending image in effect gets a unique ID that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again. Recently, we’ve started working to incorporate encrypted “fingerprints” of child sexual abuse images into a cross-industry database. This will enable companies, law enforcement and charities to better collaborate on detecting and removing these images, and to take action against the criminals. Today we’ve also announced a $2 million Child Protection Technology Fund to encourage the development of ever more effective tools.

We’re in the business of making information widely available, but there’s certain “information” that should never be created or found. We can do a lot to ensure it’s not available online—and that when people try to share this disgusting content they are caught and prosecuted.

Update June 17: Clarified language around NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program and CyberTipline.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Google Giving

Introducing Project Loon: Balloon-powered Internet access

The Internet is one of the most transformative technologies of our lifetimes. But for 2 out of every 3 people on earth, a fast, affordable Internet connection is still out of reach. And this is far from being a solved problem.

There are many terrestrial challenges to Internet connectivity—jungles, archipelagos, mountains. There are also major cost challenges. Right now, for example, in most of the countries in the southern hemisphere, the cost of an Internet connection is more than a month’s income.

Solving these problems isn’t simply a question of time: it requires looking at the problem of access from new angles. So today we’re unveiling our latest moonshot from Google[x]: balloon-powered Internet access.

We believe that it might actually be possible to build a ring of balloons, flying around the globe on the stratospheric winds, that provides Internet access to the earth below. It’s very early days, but we’ve built a system that uses balloons, carried by the wind at altitudes twice as high as commercial planes, to beam Internet access to the ground at speeds similar to today’s 3G networks or faster. As a result, we hope balloons could become an option for connecting rural, remote, and underserved areas, and for helping with communications after natural disasters. The idea may sound a bit crazy—and that’s part of the reason we’re calling it Project Loon—but there’s solid science behind it.

Balloons, with all their effortless elegance, present some challenges. Many projects have looked at high-altitude platforms to provide Internet access to fixed areas on the ground, but trying to stay in one place like this requires a system with major cost and complexity. So the idea we pursued was based on freeing the balloons and letting them sail freely on the winds. All we had to do was figure out how to control their path through the sky. We’ve now found a way to do that, using just wind and solar power: we can move the balloons up or down to catch the winds we want them to travel in. That solution then led us to a new problem: how to manage a fleet of balloons sailing around the world so that each balloon is in the area you want it right when you need it. We’re solving this with some complex algorithms and lots of computing power.

Now we need some help—this experiment is going to take way more than our team alone. This week we started a pilot program in the Canterbury area of New Zealand with 50 testers trying to connect to our balloons. This is the first time we’ve launched this many balloons (30 this week, in fact) and tried to connect to this many receivers on the ground, and we’re going to learn a lot that will help us improve our technology and balloon design.

Over time, we’d like to set up pilots in countries at the same latitude as New Zealand. We also want to find partners for the next phase of our project—we can’t wait to hear feedback and ideas from people who’ve been working for far longer than we have on this enormous problem of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas. We imagine someday you’ll be able to use your cell phone with your existing service provider to connect to the balloons and get connectivity where there is none today.

This is still highly experimental technology and we have a long way to go—we’d love your support as we keep trying and keep flying! Follow our Google+ page to keep up with Project Loon’s progress.

Onward and upward.

Posted by Mike Cassidy, Project Lead

Getting healthy just got a little easier

We’re all looking for ways to get a little healthier and smarter about the choices we make. Having tools and information at your fingertips might help bring a bit of motivation to your routine, and of course good tunes and a strong community doesn’t hurt either.

What’s in that cupcake?
Want to know how many calories are in a cupcake, or how much potassium is in a banana? You can now find nutrition information for over 1,000 foods in search – helping you stay informed about what you eat more quickly and easily. While using voice search, on desktop, your iPhone, or Android device you can ask, “how many calories are in a cupcake?” and you can follow-up and ask, “how about a cookie?” without needing to repeat parts of your question. Fruits and vegetables don’t have labels, and it’s often hard to track down the nutritional info for wine or more complex dishes like a burrito, so type or tap the microphone and easily ask your question for these foods and more.

Explore what’s around you, on two wheels
If you want a change of scenery from the gym, use Google Maps on your Android device to find nearby biking routes. Mount your device on your handlebars to see the turn-by-turn directions and navigation, or use speaker-mode to hear voice-guided directions for more than 330,000 miles of trails and paths around the world. Dark green lines on the map show dedicated bike trails and paths without cars, light green lines show streets with dedicated bike lanes, and dashed green lines show other streets recommended for cycling.

Team up to get fit
Looking to get healthy with a friend? Join a Google+ Community and connect with others that share your diet and exercise goals. Check out Communities such as Eating Right and Fitness & Weight Loss for motivation, tips and inspiration to keep you on track. Use Hangouts On Air to learn what experts like The Biggest Loser are saying about nutrition or jump into a yoga class.

Don’t stop the music
A good beat will keep you moving and motivated. Sign up for All Access, our new music subscription service, and you can listen to millions of songs from Google Play Music. Build an awesome workout mix or start a radio station from your favorite pop song like “We Can’t Stop!” Miley Cyrus says it best.

Keep track—no matter which device you’re on
Counting calories? Apps such as Diet Diary can be easily accessed through Chrome or on your mobile device—that way it’s with you when it‘s on your mind. If spreadsheets are more your style, try one of several Google Docs templates, like this weekly meal planner.

Get inspired by the pros
Need a little more motivation? Why not watch fitness gurus do their thing on YouTube: you can watch Sadie Nardini and her amazing yoga classes, or Cassey Ho will get you in top shape for summer – all in the comfort of your own living room.

Posted by Roya Soleimani, Google Search team

Play Cube Slam face-to-face against your friends

My friends and I used to play videogames all the time, squashed together on the couch, engaged in structured intellectual discourse about exactly how badly we were going to destroy each other. Now that we live spread out around the world, it’s a bit harder to dance in each other’s faces and yell “booyah!” every time we win a game. Enter: Cube Slam.

Cube Slam is a video game that you can play face-to-face against your friends. It’s a Chrome Experiment built using WebRTC, an open web technology that lets you video chat right in the browser without installing any plug-ins. That means you can quickly and easily play Cube Slam with your friends, no matter where they are in the world, just by sharing a link.

To win Cube Slam, hit the cube against your friend’s screen three times until the screen explodes. Shields, obstacles, and gravity fields change with every new level, and you can unlock power-ups including fireballs, lasers, multi-balls, mirrored controls, bulletproof shields, fog, ghost balls, time bombs, resized paddles, extra lives and death balls––though you might want to avoid the death balls. If none of your friends are online, you can always play against Bob the Bear and see what level you can reach. If you install the Cube Slam app, you can even play Bob when you’re offline.

Cube Slam’s graphics are rendered in WebGL and CSS 3D, and its custom soundtrack is delivered dynamically through Web Audio. WebRTC, which enables the two-person game, is available on desktop Chrome and Chrome OS, and will be available on mobile later this year. In the meantime, you can play Cube Slam against Bob the Bear on your phone or tablet. To learn more about what’s going on under the hood, see our technology page and Chromium blog post.

Play a friend. Play a bear. Have fun!

Posted by Clem Wright, Google Creative Lab, Ursine Diversion Division

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world

Thanks to modern technology you can connect with your loved ones by sending a quick note, a photo of your cat, even a smile :) around the world in seconds. But one of humanity’s most iconic forms of communication—the kiss—has been left out in the cold. Now, though, you can send a kiss to anyone, anywhere in the world, through Burberry Kisses, a new campaign from Burberry and Google. And not just any kiss, but your kiss.

To get started, simply visit kisses.burberry.com and pucker up in front of your webcam (this works best on Chrome). Using unique kiss-detection technology, the site will detect the outline of your actual lips, which you can choose to dress up with a Burberry lipstick color. If you’re using your touch screen mobile or tablet, you can actually kiss your screen (you might want to wipe it off first) and your lip outline will be taken from there. After that, write a short message and send it to someone from your Google+ friends list or via email. Then sit back and see the envelope with your message fly from your city to the receiver’s destination across a 3D landscape. The receiver gets an email, from which they can see the same journey, read your message and hopefully respond with a kiss of their own.

For an example, see this message I sent to my mom this morning. All the kisses being sent around the world can be seen in a real-time interactive map, capturing the story of the world’s love. You don’t have to kiss and tell: all kisses are private unless you choose to share.

Burberry Kisses is the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project, an ongoing series of brand partnerships to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. With this project, we’ve tried to create a beautiful experience that comes to life across all screens, and helps connect you to the people who are important to you, wherever they are. For more details on the campaign, see our agency blog or visit our website.

Posted by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead

Art, Copy & Code: sending kisses around the world

Thanks to modern technology you can connect with your loved ones by sending a quick note, a photo of your cat, even a smile :) around the world in seconds. But one of humanity’s most iconic forms of communication—the kiss—has been left out in the cold. Now, though, you can send a kiss to anyone, anywhere in the world, through Burberry Kisses, a new campaign from Burberry and Google. And not just any kiss, but your kiss.

To get started, simply visit kisses.burberry.com and pucker up in front of your webcam (this works best on Chrome). Using unique kiss-detection technology, the site will detect the outline of your actual lips, which you can choose to dress up with a Burberry lipstick color. If you’re using your touch screen mobile or tablet, you can actually kiss your screen (you might want to wipe it off first) and your lip outline will be taken from there. After that, write a short message and send it to someone from your Google+ friends list or via email. Then sit back and see the envelope with your message fly from your city to the receiver’s destination across a 3D landscape. The receiver gets an email, from which they can see the same journey, read your message and hopefully respond with a kiss of their own.

For an example, see this message I sent to my mom this morning. All the kisses being sent around the world can be seen in a real-time interactive map, capturing the story of the world’s love. You don’t have to kiss and tell: all kisses are private unless you choose to share.

Burberry Kisses is the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project, an ongoing series of brand partnerships to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. With this project, we’ve tried to create a beautiful experience that comes to life across all screens, and helps connect you to the people who are important to you, wherever they are. For more details on the campaign, see our agency blog or visit our website.

Posted by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead

Asking the U.S. government to allow Google to publish more national security request data

This morning we sent the following letter to the offices of the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Read the full text below. -Ed.

Dear Attorney General Holder and Director Mueller

Google has worked tremendously hard over the past fifteen years to earn our users’ trust. For example, we offer encryption across our services; we have hired some of the best security engineers in the world; and we have consistently pushed back on overly broad government requests for our users’ data.

We have always made clear that we comply with valid legal requests. And last week, the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that service providers have received Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests.

Assertions in the press that our compliance with these requests gives the U.S. government unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue. However, government nondisclosure obligations regarding the number of FISA national security requests that Google receives, as well as the number of accounts covered by those requests, fuel that speculation.

We therefore ask you to help make it possible for Google to publish in our Transparency Report aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures—in terms of both the number we receive and their scope. Google’s numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide.

Google appreciates that you authorized the recent disclosure of general numbers for national security letters. There have been no adverse consequences arising from their publication, and in fact more companies are receiving your approval to do so as a result of Google’s initiative. Transparency here will likewise serve the public interest without harming national security.

We will be making this letter public and await your response.

David Drummond
Chief Legal Officer