Articles about Google

What did people ask Quora about in 2016? Trump, Brexit and Pokémon for starters


We've already learned what people have been using Google to search for in 2016, and now it's the turn of Quora. The Q&A site has just published details of what its users have been asking throughout 2016, and while there are some obvious entries, there are also a few surprises.

Quora's "Year in Questions" stats show that Brexit ("how does Brexit affect Europe?") and the US election ("How did Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential Election?") were both subjects that "captivated" the US. While topics such as Pokémon had hotspots of popularity through the year, Donald Trump sparked the most discussion. Interestingly, people also turned to Quora for relationship advice.

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"Does Alaska have polar bears?" and other popular Google search queries in 2016


Google search's autocomplete function is an interesting feature; as well as helping to save time, it can also be very revealing of the zeitgeist. The feature has been in the headlines recently for reasons that probably didn’t make Google particularly happy, but autocomplete can also be the source of some amusement.

Marketing company WebpageFX has come up with an entertaining lookback at the most popular searches in the US, broken down by state. This fairly simple piece of research shows that people are asking questions such as "does Idaho exist?", "does Florida have zika?", and "does Arizona have pee in it?" (yep... we're lost too...*). Some searches are serious, some silly, some weird. Here's how they break down.

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Open source champion Google becomes Cloud Foundry Foundation gold member


Say what you want about Google, but the company is clearly a major proponent of open source ideology. Some people criticize the search giant for making billions on the back of open source (such as with Android), but Google is a code contributor too. You know what? If a company can have success using open source code, that is a good thing -- as long as it is properly licensed, of course.

Today, Google announces that it has joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation as a gold member. This is yet another example of the search giant's open source focus. Google joins some other respected companies at this membership level, such as Verizon, GE Digital, and Huawei to name a few. For whatever reason, the search giant stopped short of committing as the highest-level platinum member, however.

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Chromebook's future is bleak

Chromebook Pixel LS

A few days ago, one of my Google+ followers, Steve Kluver, commented on an August 2014 share: "I am shopping for some more Chromebooks this Holiday Season, and found this post via G+ hashtag #chromebook search. How current is your ebook now?" He refers to Chromebook Reviews, which is available from Amazon for sale or for free reading with Kindle Unlimited. I apologized that the tome, published more than two years ago, is "way out of date". If I'm not going to revise, I really should remove the title.

I offered to give him buying advice, which got me to thinking about Chromebook as a concept and computing edifice. While a big fan, and owner of both generations of Google-made Chromebook Pixel, my primary laptop was a MacBook Pro for most of 2016. Measure of commitment: I bought the new 15.4-inch Touch Bar model just a few weeks ago. I've moved on, and got to thinking about why in crafting my response.

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Google agrees to change its email scanning systems to avoid a privacy lawsuit


The fact that Google scans the contents of emails sent and received through Gmail has been known for some time now. It's just one of the ways in which the company gathers information about users to help deliver targeted advertising. Faced with a lawsuit over the privacy implications of this technique, Google has agreed to change its scanning systems.

Before you check to see whether hell has indeed frozen over, this is hardly a dramatic change of heart for Google. The change is only very slight, and in practice it will make little -- if any difference -- to end users.

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Google makes it easier than ever to switch from iOS to Android via the cloud


Christmas is a time that sees many people getting new phones -- and for Google this is the perfect opportunity to try to steal a few iPhone users. But the problem with switching from one mobile platform to another is making sure data migrates across. Thanks to Google Drive, this is now easier than ever.

Google has had a guide to switching from iOS to Android on the Android website for some time, but it has now been updated to reflect important changes that have been made to the iOS version of Google Drive.

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'Reserve with Google' helps you get into better physical shape with easy fitness class bookings


If you are anything like me, you want to get into better physical shape. While it is easy to cover up your flabby body during the colder months, before you know it, summer will be here. No one wants to be seen at the beach with an embarrassing body. Heck, everyone wants to look good and be healthy -- am I right?

Today, Google announces a new way to more easily achieve that sexy body you desire. The search-giant is making it simpler to book fitness classes with "Reserve by Google". Surprisingly, the company is even offering pole dancing classes on its booking page.

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Google signs a deal with Cuba to grant Cubans faster access to Google content


Cuba's state-run Etecsa telecoms company has signed a deal with Google. It means that Cuban citizens will be able to more quickly access content provided by the monopolistic internet company.

By providing Cuba with access to the Google Global Cache, content will be delivered to internet users via servers which are physically closer, helping to speed up things. The deal will do nothing to speed up general internet access, but it will ensure that Cubans have faster access to Google services such as YouTube.

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Google brings Gboard keyboard to Android


You would think that Google would concentrate on bringing its apps and tools to its own Android operating system before rivals, but this is not always the case. In fact the company has only just got around to launching the Android version of Gboard, months after it debuted on iOS.

Gboard is an updated version of the Google keyboard, and it comes with a raft of new features that make it well worth considering. Among the new additions are a dedicated number row, GIF and emoticon search, and the ability to perform Google searches from any app.

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Google brings Android Pay to Japan


Mobile payments could one day be the death of cash. While many people will surely be anxious regarding the disappearance of paper money, it is really not the question of "if", but "when". True, that takes away privacy, but it also limits the possibilities of secret transactions for things like illegal drugs or unregistered handguns. Not to mention, it is very convenient!

Android Pay is Google's smartphone-based mobile payment system, and it has been growing in popularity in the USA. Today, Android Pay comes to yet another country -- Japan.

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Google makes 'Embedding Projector' an open source project


Data can be highly valuable, and no company knows that more than Google. It is constantly collecting a massive amount of it -- it is pretty much how the company butters its bread. Data only has value when it can be used, however, meaning it must ultimately tell a story. In other words, collecting it is only the beginning.

One of the best ways to digest and present data is with visualizations and dashboards. Not everyone is a data scientist, so how you tell a story matters. Today, Google is making a rather nifty data visualization tool an open source project. Called "Embedding Projector", it can show what the search giant calls "high-dimensional data".

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Would a Trump administration allow Google to sell Motorola to Lenovo?

American Flag What's Next Question

I don't want to start an argument about politics. My sentiment this lovely day derives from what the incoming White House is, not what so many people here in California want it to be. I wonder: If Google bought Motorola during a Trump presidency, rather than Obama regime, would later sale to Lenovo be allowed or closing of the Texas phone-assembly factory about 18 months after opening?

The question arises from a pique of sadness as I look at the FedEx tracking information for two Motorola phones purchased directly from Lenovo. City of origin: Wuhan, China. My last Moto came from the Lone Star State, here in the USA. I pine for what might have been, remembering my excitement about Google's $12.5 billion Motorola Mobility acquisition, in August 2011. My opinion expressed then remains: "The acquisition is bold for its risks, which are no less great than the benefits". I was no fan of the later sale to Lenovo.

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How to change your Google Play store account country


There's lots of information available on how to change the country associated with a Google Play account, but nothing works for me. I have been unable to switch to the US store despite following the recommended methods to the letter. Everything is in order, but when I open the Google Play app on my Android smartphone afterwards I still see my local store. And I am not alone.

For one reason or another, lots of fellow Android users want to change their Google account country to get access to a different Play store, but only few succeed. But I have found a method that actually gets the job done, and it involves Family Library. I have tested it on two different Google accounts and Android devices and, yes, it worked like a charm. Here is what you need to know.

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Optimizing your website for Google's mobile-first index

smartphone browsing

Google have begun rolling out their new mobile-first index. This update will prioritize the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals, falling back on the desktop version when there is no mobile content. In short, this means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content (even for listings that are shown to desktop users).

If you have neglected mobile SEO in the past, it’s now more important than ever that you up your game. Here are 10 tips to future-proof your website, and make sure it succeeds in the new mobile-first index.

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IDC was so wrong about Windows Phone

Mime Surprise Shock

I laughed so hard and so often at IDC's smartphone forecast, my response took nine days to write -- okay, to even start it. The future isn't my chuckable -- that data looks reasonably believable enough -- but the past. Because 2016 was supposed to be the year that Microsoft's mobile OS rose from the ashes of Symbian to surpass iOS and to challenge Android.

In 2011, IDC forecast that Windows Phone global smartphone OS market share would top 20 percent in 2015. The analyst firm reiterated the platform's No. 2 status for 2016 in 2012 as well. Not that I ever believed the ridiculous forecasts, writing: "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2015, I'll kiss Steve Ballmer's feet" and "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2016, I'll clean Steve Ballmer's toilet". The CEO's later retirement let me lose from those obligations had I been wrong. I was confident in my analysis being truer.

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