Google Knol And Internet News
Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey and Sophie Healy-Thow became interested in addressing the global food crisis after learning about the Horn of Africa famine in 2011. When a gardening project went awry, they discovered a naturally occurring bacteria in soil called Diazotroph. The girls determined that the bacteria could be used to speed up the the germination process of certain crops, like barley and oats, by 50 percent, potentially helping fulfill the rising demand for food worldwide. Oh—and they’re 16 years old.
Today, Ciara, Émer and Sophie were named the Grand Prize Winner and the 15-16 age category winners of our fourth annual Google Science Fair
. They are some of thousands of students ages 13-18 who dared to ask tough questions like
: How can we stop cyberbullying? How can I help my grandfather who has Alzheimer's from wandering out of bed at night? How can we protect the environment? And then they actually went out and answered them.
From thousands of submissions from 90+ countries, our panel of esteemed judges
selected 18 finalists representing nine countries—Australia, Canada, France, India, Russia, U.K., Ukraine and the U.S.—who spent today impressing Googlers and local school students at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. In addition to our Grand Prize Winners, the winners of the 2014 Google Science Fair are:
- 13-14 age category: Mihir Garimella (Pennsylvania, USA) for his project FlyBot: Mimicking Fruit Fly Response Patterns for Threat Evasion. Like many boys his age, Mihir is fascinated with robots. But he took it to the next level and actually built a flying robot, much like the ones used in search and rescue missions, that was inspired by the way fruit flies detect and respond to threats. Mihir is also the winner of the very first Computer Science award, sponsored by Google.
- 17-18 age category: Hayley Todesco (Alberta, Canada) for her project Waste to Water: Biodegrading Naphthenic Acids using Novel Sand Bioreactors. Hayley became deeply interested in the environment after watching Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Her project uses a sustainable and efficient method to break down pollutant substances and toxins found in tailing ponds water in her hometown, a hub of the oil sands industry.
- The Scientific American Science in Action award: Kenneth Shinozuka (Brooklyn, New York) for his wearable sensors project. Kenneth was inspired by his grandfather and hopes to help others around the world dealing with Alzheimer's. The Scientific American award is given to a project that addresses a health, resource or environmental challenge.
- Voter’s Choice award: Arsh Dilbagi (India) for his project Talk, which enables people with speech difficulties to communicate by simply exhaling.
As the Grand Prize winners, Ciara, Émer and Sophie receive
a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands provided by National Geographic
, a $50,000 scholarship from Google, a personalized LEGO prize provided by LEGO Education
and the chance to participate in astronaut training at the Virgin Galactic
Spaceport in the Mojave desert.
Thanks to all of our young finalists and to everyone who participated in this year’s Google Science Fair. We started the Science Fair to inspire scientific exploration among young people and celebrate the next generation of scientist and engineers. And every year we end up amazed by how much you inspire us. So, keep dreaming, creating and asking questions. We look forward to hearing the answers.
-Welcome to this week’s search trends. May I take your order?-Can I have a referendum on independence, a totally inappropriate flight passenger with a Hollywood baby on the side?-Coming right up!Flag and country
“They may take away our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!” That was Sir William Wallace battlecry for Scottish independence in the film Braveheart. While this week’s events in Scotland
weren’t quite as cinematic, the results could have been revolutionary. On Thursday the world watched and searched as an unprecedented numbers of Scots went to the polls to answer the question, "Should Scotland be independent from the United Kingdom?" Turns out the majority of people don’t think it should, and voted to stay a member of the U.K. Party leaders have now promised significant constitutional changes for the entire kingdom. What would Wallace have made of that? The comeback kings
Everybody loves a comeback and search had its fair share this week. First up, nostalgia for the 90’s brought Surge
soda back from the dead. Thanks to a Facebook campaign called "The SURGE Movement," Coca-Cola will now sell its "fully-loaded citrus” soft drink for a limited time on Amazon. And the Chicago Bears
denied the 49ers a win in their brand-spanking-new stadium when they rallied to overturn a 13-point deficit in the last quarter to beat San Francisco 28-20.
Airing dirty laundry
Hard plastic-y seats, broken recliner adjusters, zero leg room—flying economy isn’t always the most pleasant experience. And depending on who you’re sitting next to, your easy two-hour flight could turn into a nightmare before you even take off. But the passengers of the world aren’t having it, not anymore. This week, “passenger shaming” went viral on social media as traumatized travelers shared photos of the most absurdly obnoxious unconscientious things some passenger do on flights—we’re talking bare feet, bare skin... well, you should just see for yourself
But at least those offending fliers were shielded in anonymity. Singer Robin Thicke
wasn’t afforded the same luxury, revealing in a court deposition this week that he had little to do with the creation of last year’s song of the summer “Blurred Lines.” As part of his defense against a copyright infringement lawsuit, Thicke admitted that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol for most of 2013—bringing a whole new meaning to the song’s title. And the winner is ...
The hipster revolution has finally taken over the United States! Need proof? Searchers don’t. When New Yorker Kira Kazantsev won the the title of Miss America
, the Internet discovered that the U.S.A’s new leading lady is a former food blogger. She’s even reported on her state’s crown foodie jewel, the cronut
. Miss America wasn’t the only who got to bask in the limelight; boxing world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather
Jr. won his rematch with contender Marcos Maidana by an unanimous decision. The victory brings his undefeated tally to 47… somehow the title world champion is starting to sound like an understatement. Love on the set!
For Orange is the New Black screenwriter Lauren Morelli
, life imitated art a bit more than she probably expected. While writing the hit program, Morelli decided to divorce her husband and start a relationship with Samira Wiley, an actress from the show. Meanwhile, searchers learned that Mindy Kaling
considers former The Office castmate and on-screen boyfriend B.J. Novak “the love that got away
.” But while not all on-set relationships last, some couples not only make it work but also take their relationship to the next level. That’s the route taken by Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes
, who met while making the movie The Place Beyond the Pines. The power couple welcomed baby girl Gosling earlier this week.Tip of the week
The NFL season’s just getting started so it’s time to hunker down and plan your football viewing schedule. Just say, “OK Google, show me the NFL schedule” to coordinate your life for the next four months. We’ll see you back in the spring.
Knowledge is a game changer. I’ve long been inspired by the Internet and how it opens the doors to opportunity. It provides access to knowledge, no matter who you are or where you are. For instance, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Nobel Laureate at a world-class research center or a young student at a rural school in Indonesia, with Google Search, you have the same information at your fingertips as anyone else.
If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone. While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web. We want to bring these experiences to more people.
That’s where Android One
comes in. At I/O, we first talked
about this initiative to make high-quality smartphones accessible to as many people as possible. And today we’re introducing the first family of Android One phones in India
Addressing key barriers—hardware, software and connectivity
There are three big reasons why it’s hard for people in countries such as India, Indonesia or the Philippines to get their hands on a high-quality smartphone. First, is the hardware itself. Even entry-level smartphones still remain out of reach for many (bear in mind that in some of these countries the average monthly income is around $250). Second, many people in these markets do not have access to the latest Android software and popular applications. Finally, even where 3G and 4G networks are available, not enough people have phones that can support data and the plans can be expensive.
Android One aims to help tackle these challenges. By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable. They have lots of processing power, so you can get information quickly. They have high-quality front- and rear-facing cameras. And for all those pictures, along with your apps and videos, Android One phones will have expandable storage. We also added features that people in India will find particularly useful, like dual SIM cards, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio.
To help ensure a consistent experience, Android One devices will receive the latest versions of Android directly from Google. So you’ll get all the latest features, up-to-date security patches, and peace of mind knowing your stuff is always backed up. It also means Android One devices will be some of the first to be updated to the Android L release later this year. For our hardware partners, they’ll be able to create customized experiences and differentiate their devices without having to change the core software.
In an effort to reduce data costs, if you have an Airtel SIM card, you’ll get these software updates for free for the first six months. As part of this same Airtel offer, you’ll also be able to download up to 200MB per month worth of your favorite apps (that’s about 50 apps overall) from Google Play—all without counting toward your mobile data usage.
More to come
This is just the beginning of the Android One journey. The first phones, from our hardware partners Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and chipmaker MediaTek, are available starting today in India from leading retailers starting at Rs 6,399
. We’re also excited to welcome more partners to the program, including phone manufacturers Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. We expect to see even more high-quality, affordable devices with different screen sizes, colors, hardware configurations and customized software experiences. Finally, we plan to expand the Android One program to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.
Access for access’s sake is not enough. With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone.
New phones, new games, new looks. Let’s take a peek at all the happenings this week in search:All you can eat?
The Olive Garden
learned this week that it’s risky to get between people and their food. The restaurant chain’s new “Never Ending Pasta Pass” offered up to 1,000 people seven weeks of unlimited pasta, salad and those sneaky-good breadsticks for just $100. The rush of pasta lovers eager for a deal crashed the Olive Garden website before the pass was even for sale—and thousands more turned to search to learn more about the debacle.The latest edition
It was a big week for our neighbors from Cupertino. Apple’s latest announcement this week flooded the search trends, with more than 10 million searches for the new iPhone 6
, along with its release date and price. People were also curious about the new Apple Watch
, the band U2
—whose latest album Apple gave away for free to all iTunes users—and how the announcement was affecting AAPL
And baby makes four for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton
, who announced this week that they’re expecting a little brother or sister for one-year-old Prince George. People turned to the web to learn more about the news. Start your office naming pools now! Football frenzy
A full 15 out of 20 top searches on Sunday were related to the first Sunday of football season, with the Cowboys
topping the pack—on search, at least. But unfortunately, it was events off the field that had many people turning to the web this week. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice
was suspended indefinitely from the league on Monday, after TMZ
released a video that appears to show him assaulting his then-fiancee in an elevator. More than 2 million searches for Rice followed—the highest spike
ever. People were also looking for more information on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
in an effort to understand whether the league’s leadership had knowledge of the incident earlier in the year.
POTUS and ISIS
Just a day earlier, President Obama announced that the U.S. military would expand its air strikes in Iraq and now Syria, against the extremist group ISIS. Searches for ISIL
, the term the President used for the group, climbed the day of his speech as people looked for more information on the news. Transformations
The latest season of “The Biggest Loser
” premiered yesterday with new trainers and a new concept—“Glory Days,” in which former athletes compete to regain their former fitness—leading people to the web to learn more. And “The Sixth Sense” star Haley Joel Osment was in the news this week—but we won’t blame you if you missed it, since he was nearly unrecognizable from his former self
. Osment is filming a new Kevin Smith movie “Yoga Hosers,” in which he plays Canadian fascist journalist Adrien Arcand.Tip of the week
September is National Emergency Preparedness Month. With the Google Search App, you can get warnings from Google Public Alerts when bad weather is on its way. Take a few minutes to get prepared by learning more
about Alerts, which are available on Google Now, Search and Maps.