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October 21, 2014

Google Generated $16.5 Billion in Revenues

Google Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $16.52 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, an increase of 20% compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Sites Revenues - Google sites generated revenues of $11.25 billion, or 68% of total revenues, in the third quarter of 2014. This represents a 20% increase over third quarter of 2013 sites revenues of $9.38 billion.
Network Revenues - Google's partner sites generated revenues of $3.43 billion, or 21% of total revenues, in the third quarter of 2014. This represents a 9% increase over third quarter of 2013 network revenues of $3.15 billion.
Other Revenues - Other revenues were $1.84 billion, or 11% of total revenues, in the third quarter of 2014. This represents a 50% increase over third quarter of 2013 other revenues of $1.23 billion.
International Revenues - Revenues from outside of the United States totaled $9.55 billion, representing 58% of total revenues in the third quarter of 2014, compared to 58% in the second quarter of 2014 and 56% in the third quarter of 2013.

"Google had another strong performance this quarter, with revenue up 20% year on year, at $16.5 billion," said Patrick Pichette, CFO of Google. "We continue to be excited about the growth in our advertising and emerging businesses."

Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of Network members, increased approximately 17% over the third quarter of 2013 and increased approximately 2% over the second quarter of 2014. Sites paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads serve on Google owned and operated properties across different geographies and form factors including search, YouTube engagement ads like TrueView, and other owned and operated properties like Maps and Finance, increased approximately 24% over the third quarter of 2013 and increased approximately 4% over the second quarter of 2014. Network paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on non-Google properties participating in our AdSense for Search, AdSense for Content, and AdMob businesses, increased approximately 2% over the third quarter of 2013 and decreased approximately 4% over the second quarter of 2014.

Average cost-per-click declined 2% in the quarter. Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google's partners, increased to $3.35 billion in the third quarter of 2014, compared to $2.97 billion in the third quarter of 2013.

Employment at Google increased during the quarter. On a worldwide basis, the company employed 55,030 full-time employees (51,564 in Google and 3,466 in Motorola Mobile) as of September 30, 2014, compared to 52,069 full-time employees (48,584 in Google and 3,485 in Motorola Mobile) as of June 30, 2014. Google is selling its Motorola Mobile business to Lenovo.


October 14, 2014

Google Express Expands to Boston, Chicago, DC

Google Shopping Express announced it is changing its name by shortening it to just Google Express. The delivery service is also expanding to three new cities: Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C.

The service is already available in San Francisco, the Peninsula and San Jose, Manhattan and West Los Angeles. Google says that more than 7 million people can now access its same-day delivery service, and in Northern California almost 12 million can use next-day service.

Google Express is also adding more merchants: 16 in total over the last couple of months. New national brands include 1-800-Flowers, Barnes & Noble, Nine West, PetSmart, Vitamin Shoppe and Sports Authority, and regional merchants such as Paragon Sports in New York and Vicente Foods in Los Angeles. In the new markets, Google has added regional brands including Stop & Shop in Boston; Giant Food in D.C.; and Lux Roses, TigerDirect, Treasure Island Foods and Wrigleyville Sports in Chicago.

Customers over 21 in the Bay Area can now order alcohol for delivery.

Membership costs $95/year or $10/month. Or you can choose to pay as you go, at $4.99 per eligible order. Google says members can now get free same-day or next day delivery on eligible orders over $15. Membership can also be shared with a household member.


October 10, 2014

Google Unveils Street View for California Parks

The California State Parks and Google Maps officially unveiled panoramic street view imagery collected by Google's Trekker cameras of 14 popular state park destinations and trails. The imagery will allow people all over the world to virtually explore California's state parks, trails and beaches, and is helping to modernize the way the department is connecting with visitors.

"We are listening to our customers, and doing what we can to meet the needs of our visitors, in our parks and online," said Lisa Mangat, Acting Director of California State Parks. "By using the Google Street View Trekker, we can make our parks even more accessible to the public, as this gives users a virtual and personal tour of our parks and trails before they step foot in them."

The project is part of a partnership between State Parks and Google, which was signed this past summer with the intent of showcasing some of our state parks virtually and connecting to a 21st Century audience. Today s unveiling is part of an ongoing project that will eventually cover more state parks across California.

"There's nothing quite like looking at the sights of our state parks, and with this technology, parks are going to be seen in a way they have never been seen before," said John Laird, Natural Resources Secretary. "Google Trekker is an innovative way to add value to the state parks system by putting visitors in the middle of destinations to experience them, and gain an appreciation of the diversity and beauty of our state."

Trekker is Google's newest camera platform that takes the street view camera system and fits it all into a wearable backpack to take still photos as the operator walks. The images collected allow viewers to virtually travel along parks, trails, and pedestrian routes via their computers or mobile devices in a 360 degree angle. During the summer, Google Trekker operators visited state parks carrying the Trekker device to take hundreds of pictures.


October 3, 2014

Google Drive Offers Free Storage for Education

Google has announced the launch of Drive for Education, online cloud storage exclusively for schools. The company says that more than 190 million people worldwide use Google Drive regularly at home, work and school. For many of the 30 million students and educators using Google Apps for Education, Drive has even replaced their bookbags.

Drive for Education will be available to all Google Apps for Education customers at no charge and will include:

  • Unlimited storage: No more worrying about how much space you have left or about which user needs more gigabytes. Drive for Education supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in coming weeks. 
  • Vault: Google Apps Vault, a solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, will be coming free to all Apps for Education users by the end of the year. 
  • Enhanced Auditing: Reporting and auditing tools and an Audit API easily let you see the activity of a file, are also on the way. 

Google says that Drive will be free for all nonprofit educational institutions with no ads or ad-scanning of content.


September 16, 2014

Google Launches Low-Cost Android One Phones

Google is launching a new line of low-cost smartphones starting in India called Android One.

According to a blog post by Sundar Pichai, Google's Sr. VP of Android, the company is working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components to make it easier for 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. Google has also added features that people in India will find particularly useful, like dual SIM cards, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio in the Android One phones.

The average income in India is about $250 per month, putting the cost of current smartphones out of reach for most people.

The first Android One phones, from hardware partners Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and chipmaker MediaTek, are available now in India from leading retailers starting at Rs 6,399 or $104 U.S. dollars. The company said it is also welcoming more partners to the program, including phone manufacturers Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm. More high-quality, affordable devices are expected this year with different screen sizes, colors, hardware configurations and customized software experiences. Google plans 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.


September 4, 2014

Google's Calico to Partner With AbbVie

AbbVie and Calico announced a novel Research and Development collaboration intended to help the two companies discover, develop and bring to market new therapies for patients with age-related diseases, including for neurodegeneration and cancer.

Calico is the Google-backed life sciences company led by Arthur Levinson, Ph.D. (former chairman and CEO of Genentech) and Hal Barron, M.D. (former Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Genentech). The agreement paves the way for Calico to establish a world-class research and development facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Under the agreement, the companies will combine their complementary strengths to accelerate the availability of new therapies for age-related diseases:

- Calico will use its scientific expertise to establish a world-class research and development facility, with a focus on drug discovery and early drug development; and
- AbbVie will provide scientific and clinical development support and its commercial expertise to bring new discoveries to market.

Calico plans to build a leading R&D facility in the San Francisco Bay Area focused on aging and age-related diseases, including neurodegeneration and cancer. Calico expects to begin filling critical positions immediately, and plans to establish a substantial team of scientists and research staff in the San Francisco Bay Area.

AbbVie and Calico will each initially provide up to $250 million to fund the collaboration with the potential for both sides to contribute an additional $500 million.

August 29, 2014

Google Testing Drones for Deliveries

Google is testing a drone delivery program that could one day deliver products ordered online across cities within minutes according to a report in The Atlantic.

The drone development is known as Project Wing and is part of Google X, a research lab involved in exploratory projects such as self-driving cars and Google Glass eyewear. The drone program is similar to a project that Amazon.com is also testing to one day deliver packages to customers.

Google admits the drone delivery service is still years away from actually happening and could run into FAA restrictions in the future.

The company has posted a YouTube video about the project and testing done in Australia.


August 12, 2014

Google Part of Consortium to Build Underwater Cable

Google is part of a consortium of six global companies that have signed commercial agreements to build and operate a new Trans-Pacific cable system to be called "FASTER" with NEC Corporation as the system supplier. The FASTER cable network will connect the United States to two landing locations in Japan. The total amount of investment for the FASTER system is estimated to be approximately USD $300 million.

In order to address the intense traffic demands for broadband, mobile, applications, content and enterprise data exchange on the Trans-Pacific route, FASTER will feature the latest high-quality 6-fiber-pair cable and optical transmission technologies, with an initial design capacity of 60Tb/s (100Gb/s x 100 wavelengths x 6 fiber-pairs).

This new cable system will be landed at Chikura and Shima in Japan and will feature seamless connectivity to many neighboring cable systems to extend the capacity beyond Japan to other Asian locations. Connections in the United States will extend the system to major hubs on the US West Coast covering the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle areas.

The six-company consortium is comprised of China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, Google, KDDI and SingTel. The name FASTER was adopted to represent the cable system's purpose of rapidly serving surging traffic demands.

Construction of FASTER will begin immediately and the system is targeted to be ready-for-service during the second quarter of 2016.

July 16, 2014

Novartis to License Google Smart-Lens Technology

Novartis announced that its eye care division Alcon has entered into an agreement with a division of Google Inc. to in-license its "smart lens" technology for all ocular medical uses. The agreement with Google[x], a team within Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to big global problems, provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialize Google's "smart lens" technology with the potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon's pipeline and global leadership in contact lenses and intraocular lenses. The transaction remains subject to anti-trust approvals.

The agreement between Google and Alcon represents an important step for Novartis, across all of its divisions, to leverage technology to manage human diseases and conditions. Google's key advances in the miniaturization of electronics complement Novartis's deep pharmaceuticals and medical device expertise. Novartis aims to enhance the ways in which diseases are mapped within the body and ultimately prevented.

"We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs," said Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. "This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye."

"Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people," said Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, Google. "We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true."

Under the agreement, Google[x] and Alcon will collaborate to develop a "smart lens" that has the potential to address ocular conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics which are embedded within contact lenses.

Novartis' interest in this technology is currently focused in two areas:

- Helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body's glucose levels via a "smart contact lens" which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device;

- For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the "smart lens" has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye's natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.


July 11, 2014

Google Ventures Launches $100 Million European Fund

Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of Google, is launching a new venture fund with $100 million to invest in the best ideas from European entrepreneurs.

Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures, said in a blog post, "We believe Europe's startup scene has enormous potential. We've seen compelling new companies emerge from places like London, Paris, Berlin, the Nordic region and beyond -- SoundCloud, Spotify, Supercell and many others."

Google Ventures launched in 2009 and has invested in over 250 companies. Beyond funding, Google Ventures provides startups with more than just capital to succeed: they also benefit from engineering support, design expertise, and guidance with recruiting, marketing and product management.


July 2, 2014

Google Acquires Music Site Songza

Google has acquired Songza, a music streaming service, according to a post on Google+. Terms of the deal weren't announced but reports have put the acquisition price above $30 million.

Based in New York, Songza lets users listen to music via apps for Android and iOS. Songza offers a Concierge feature which plays music according to your mood or preference.

Google announced the following on its site:

We're thrilled to welcome Songza to Google. They've built a great service which uses contextual expert-curated playlists to give you the right music at the right time. We aren't planning any immediate changes to Songza, so it will continue to work like usual for existing users. Over the coming months, we'll explore ways to bring what you love about Songza to Google Play Music. We'll also look for opportunities to bring their great work to the music experience on YouTube and other Google products.

Launched in 2007, investors in Songza include Amazon.com, Metamorphic Ventures, Deep Fork Capital, William Morris Endeavor.


June 26, 2014

Google Shows Off New Versions of Android

Google unveiled new versions of its Android operating software including versions called Wear for your wrist and Auto for automobiles.

Google announced at its I/O Conference that 1 billion people are using Android worldwide on their phones and tablets. The company announced that two Android wearables, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, are available to order today on Google Play, and the Moto 360 from Motorola will be available in the coming months.

Google also showed off Android Auto, which allows you to connect your Android phone to a car, and you'll have what you need at your fingertips such as turn-by-turn navigation from Google Maps, your curated playlists and radio stations through Play Music, simple-to-use voice search, and reminders from Google Now. This is accessible through your car's controls, and more importantly, is far safer than fumbling around with your phone. You'll start to see Android Auto in cars later this year.

A new version of Google's Chromecast dongle for TVs was introduced along with Android TV, a set-top box that brings apps and games to your TV. You can use voice search to find a live TV show, a good flick from Google Play, or a music video on YouTube. Plus, you'll be able to play your favorite Android games, reimagined for TV and with a gamepad. Android TV, which, like Chromecast, supports Google Cast technology, will ship with products from a range of consumer electronics companies later this year.


June 21, 2014

Google Nest to Acquire DropCam for $555 Million

Nest Labs, a division of Google, announced that it has entered into an agreement to buy Dropcam for $555 million in cash, subject to adjustments.

Dropcam is based in San Francisco and lets users monitor their homes or businesses with cloud-based Wi-Fi cameras that can be viewed online or through Android or iOS apps. The company is backed by Accel Partners, Menlo Ventures, Mitch Kapor, David Cowan, Aydin Senkut, Ben Narasin, Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers.

Nest is a maker of thermostats and smoke detectors that can be controlled via apps. It was acquired by Google earlier this year for $3.2 billion in cash.

Nest founder and director of engineering Matt Rogers shared the news about the deal on the Nest blog:

Although this was a big decision for us, it wasn't a difficult one to make. Before deciding to extend an offer to Dropcam, we spent a lot of time looking at camera companies and technologies around the world. And I can say without a doubt, Dropcam has the best products, services, and customer experience in the business.

Dropcam lets you check in on your home, no matter where you are in the world. But that's not the only reason we re excited about adding them to the Nest family. Our companies actually have a lot in common.


June 11, 2014

Google Buying Skybox Imaging for $500 Million

Google said it plans to buy Skybox Imaging for $500 million in cash. Skybox is headquartered in Mountain View, not far from Google's own headquarters, and has over 100 employees.

Skybox has built the world's smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, which captures useful images and videos everyday. Skybox investors include Khosla Ventures, Draper Associates, Canaan Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Partners and Youniversity Ventures. It has raised over $91 million to date.

The company was founded in 2009 and originated from a business plan at a Stanford University graduate entrepreneurship course.

Skybox's satellites will be used to help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, Google says it hope that Skybox's team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief -- areas Google has long been interested in.


May 29, 2014

Google Releases Company Diversity Statistics

Google has released groundbreaking statistics on diversity at the company and the numbers show a workforce dominated by white males.

According to a blog post from Laszlo Bock, Senior Vice President of People Operations for Google, the workforce at Google as broken down by ethnicity: 61% white, 30% Asian, 3% Hispanic and 2% Black. A total of 70% of Google employees are male and 30% are female. On the executive level, 72% are white, 23% are Asian and 2% are Black with Hispanics only 1%.

There are lots of reasons why technology companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities according to Bock. For example, women earn roughly 18 percent of all computer science degrees in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics make up under 10 percent of U.S. college grads and collect fewer than 5 percent of degrees in CS majors, respectively.

More information about diversity at Google can be found at http://www.google.com/diversity


May 7, 2014

Google Expands Shopping Express to NY, LA

Google is expanding its same-day home delivery service called Google Shopping Express to Manhattan in New York City and West Los Angeles. The service has been available to shoppers in the Bay Area since last year.

In the Los Angeles area, shoppers in Culver City, Inglewood, Marina Del Rey, Santa Monica, Venice, West Los Angeles, and Westwood can now shop from some of their favorite retailers like Costco, Guitar Center, L'Occitane, Smart & Final, Staples, Target, Toys 'R 'Us/Babies 'R 'Us, and Walgreens. In the coming months, Shopping Express will be expanding delivery to other parts of Los Angeles, Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista and West Hollywood.

In New York, Google is starting with service to the entire island of Manhattan with Babies 'R 'Us, Costco, Fairway Market, L'Occitane, Staples, Target, and Walgreens. It plans to bring Shopping Express to shoppers in Queens and Brooklyn in the coming months.

Google Shopping Express is offering six months of free delivery with subscription plus $10 off the first purchase. Users can order online and via iOS and Android apps.


April 22, 2014

Google Reports $15.4 Billion in Revenue

Google Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $15.42 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, an increase of 19% compared to the first quarter of 2013. Net income was $3.45 billion.

Traffic acquisition costs totaled $3.23 billion, or 23% of advertising revenues, in the first quarter. This was paid out to Google's site partners through Adsense program.

"We completed another great quarter. Google's revenue was $15.4 billion, up 19% year on year", said Larry Page, CEO of Google. "We got lots of product improvements done, especially on mobile. I'm also excited with progress on our emerging businesses."

Sites Revenues - Google sites generated revenues of $10.47 billion, or 68% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2014. This represents a 21% increase over first quarter of 2013 sites revenues of $8.64 billion.

Network Revenues - Google's partner sites generated revenues of $3.40 billion, or 22% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2014. This represents a 4% increase over first quarter of 2013 network revenues of $3.26 billion.

Other Revenues - Other revenues were $1.55 billion, or 10% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2014. This represents a 48% increase over first quarter of 2013 other revenues of $1.05 billion.

International Revenues - Google's revenues from outside of the United States totaled $8.76 billion, representing 57% of total revenues in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 56% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 55% in the first quarter of 2013.

Total paid clicks for Google were up 26% but cost-per-clicks were down 9%.

On a worldwide basis, the company employed 49,829 full-time employees (46,170 in Google and 3,659 in Motorola Mobile) as of March 31, 2014, compared to 47,756 full-time employees (43,862 in Google and 3,894 in Motorola Mobile) as of December 31, 2013. Google plans to sell Motorola Mobile to Lenovo Group.


April 15, 2014

Google Buying Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones based in New Mexico. The Wall Street Journal first reported about the acquisition and terms of the deal weren't disclosed by Google. Facebook had also looked at acquiring the company but instead purchased Ascenta, a British-based drone maker, for $20 million in March.

Google said Titan would work closely with its Project Loon venture, which is building large, high-altitude balloons that send Internet signals to remote areas of the world that are currently not online.

Titan Aerospace posted the following message on their website:

At Titan Aerospace, we're passionate believers in the potential for technology (and in particular, atmospheric satellites) to improve people's lives. It's still early days for the technology we're developing, and there are a lot of ways that we think we could help people, whether it's providing internet connections in remote areas or helping monitor environmental damage like oil spills and deforestation. That's why we couldn't be more excited to learn from and work with our new colleagues as we continue our research, testing and design work as part of the Google family.


April 8, 2014

Google to License Room 77 Booking Software

Google is licensing hotel booking software from Room 77 to increase hotel bookings from its own search engine according to Bloomberg.

Room 77 co-founder Calvin Yang and many of its engineers will be joining Google. Room 77 helps users search multiple travel sites to find the best deal for hotels and Google is hoping to add this technology to make it easier for people to book rooms via smartphones.

Room 77 is based in Mountain View, only a few miles from Google's headquarters. The company has raised over $43 million in venture capital since it was founded in 2009.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but Bloomberg reports Room 77 will be returning tens of millions of dollars in excess cash to investors.


March 20, 2014

Google Extends Android to Watches

Google has introduced Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables. And the company is starting with the most familiar wearable—watches. Going well beyond the mere act of just telling you the time, a range of new devices along with an expansive catalogue of apps will give you:
  • Useful information when you need it most. Android Wear shows you info and suggestions you need, right when you need them. The wide variety of Android applications means you’ll receive the latest posts and updates from your favorite social apps, chats from your preferred messaging apps, notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, and more. 
  • Straight answers to spoken questions. Just say “Ok Google” to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game. Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm. 
  • The ability to better monitor your health and fitness. Hit your exercise goals with reminders and fitness summaries from Android Wear. Your favorite fitness apps can give you real-time speed, distance and time information on your wrist for your run, cycle or walk. 
  • Your key to a multiscreen world. Android Wear lets you access and control other devices from your wrist. Just say “Ok Google” to fire up a music playlist on your phone, or cast your favorite movie to your TV. There’s a lot of possibilities here so we’re eager to see what developers build. 

Google says it is working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to develop watches powered by Android Wear later this year.


March 4, 2014

Google Donates $6.8 Million for Kids' Bus Passes

Google announced a $6.8 million gift to the city of San Francisco to fund an additional two years of Free Muni for Low Income Youth. The popular pilot program is currently funded by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission through June 2014 and provides monthly free muni passes to more than 31,000 low-income San Francisco youth ages 5 to 17. The $6.8 million gift is one of the largest private contributions towards direct City services in San Francisco history.

"Continuing to provide free Muni for thousands of young people from lower-income households will help make our City more affordable for working families," said SF Mayor Edwin Lee. "With this unprecedented gift from Google, we can keep this successful pilot program running for at least two more years at no cost to taxpayers or Muni riders and free up critical funds for other vital Muni maintenance and services. Google is demonstrating with real action and real resources that they are a true partner in addressing our City's affordability crisis for lower and middle-income families. I want to thank Google for this enormous gift to the SFMTA, and I look forward to continuing to work with this great San Francisco employer towards improving our City for everyone."

Preliminary data shows that Free Muni for Low Income Youth has had a positive impact on San Francisco's transportation network. Clipper card data shows 266,000 more rides by youth Muni riders in May 2013 than in May 2012. Approximately 45 percent of Free Muni for Low Income Youth participants plan to ride public transportation as an adult, while 70 percent would recommend Muni to their friends, according to the San Francisco Unified School District Student Survey results.

"Well over half of our 56,000 public school students come from households where their families struggle to make ends meet, so having free access to Muni removes a barrier to their educational opportunities," said SFUSD Superintendent Richard A. Carranza. "Keeping Muni free for low-income youth is a great way for Google to support our children and their families."

February 21, 2014

Google Launches New Investment Fund

Google announced it has launched a new investment fund called Google Capital, a new growth equity fund backed by Google and led by partners David Lawee, Scott Tierney and Gene Frantz.

The company already has a fund called Google Ventures that focuses mainly on early-stage investments but Google Capital is looking to invest in companies solely as they hit their growth phase. That means finding companies that have already built a solid foundation and are really ready to expand their business in big ways.

Google Capital investments to date include SurveyMonkey, Lending Club and Renaissance Learning.

Renaissance Learning is a Wisconsin-based assessment and learning analytics company that has reportedly received $40 million from Google Capital this year.


February 14, 2014

Google to Take Over Moffett Field

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and NASA have selected Planetary Ventures LLC, a Google subsidiary, as the preferred lessee to rehabilitate historic Hangar One and to manage Moffett Federal Airfield, currently managed by NASA's Ames Research Center. The lease will put Hangar One to new use and eliminate NASA's management costs of the airfield.

As a tenant to NASA, Planetary Ventures will be required to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and policies, including those on topics of historic preservation, environmental compliance, security, health and safety, and airfield operations to support ongoing missions and other government objectives. Planetary Ventures' lease proposal includes a number of key benefits for the local community.

The proposal commits to:

-- Re-skin and protect Hangar One
-- Rehabilitate historic Hangars 2 and 3
-- Upgrade the existing golf course
-- Create a public use/educational facility
-- Eliminate NASA's operation and maintenance cost of Moffett Federal Airfield
-- Operate Moffett Federal Airfield in accordance with Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (such as maintaining the status quo such as airfield operations)
-- Comply with security and airfield management requirement

Moffett Field is just a few miles from Google's headquarters and will reportedly be used for Google's robotic and aerospace research projects.


February 4, 2014

Google to Split Shares 2-for-1

Google Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a distribution of shares of the Class C capital stock as a dividend to stockholders with a dividend record date of March 27, 2014 and a dividend payment date of April 2, 2014.

The company also reported consolidated revenues of $16.86 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2013, an increase of 17% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. GAAP net income, including net loss from discontinued operations, in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $3.38 billion, compared to $2.89 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Google-owned sites generated segment revenues of $10.55 billion, or 67% of total Google segment revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2013. This represents a 22% increase over fourth quarter 2012 Google sites segment revenues of $8.64 billion.

Google's partner sites generated segment revenues of $3.52 billion, or 23% of total Google segment revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2013. This represents a 3% increase over fourth quarter 2012 Google network segment revenues of $3.44 billion.

Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of its Network members, increased approximately 31% over the fourth quarter of 2012 and increased approximately 13% over the third quarter of 2013. Average cost-per-click, which includes clicks related to ads served on Google sites and Network members, decreased approximately 11% over the fourth quarter of 2012 and decreased approximately 2% over the third quarter of 2013.

As of December 31, 2013, Google reported cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of $58.72 billion.

The company said it had 47,756 full-time employees (43,862 in Google and 3,894 in Motorola Mobile) as of December 31, 2013, compared to 46,421 full-time employees (42,162 in Google and 4,259 in Motorola Mobile) as of September 30, 2013.


January 31, 2014

Google Sells Motorola to Lenovo for $2.91 Billion

Chinese PC maker Lenovo and Google have entered into a definitive agreement under which Lenovo plans to acquire the Motorola Mobility smartphone business. With a strong PC business and a fast-growing smartphone business, this agreement will significantly strengthen Lenovo's position in the smartphone market. In addition, Lenovo will gain a strong market presence in North America and Latin America, as well as a foothold in Western Europe, to complement its strong, fast-growing smartphone business in emerging markets around the world.

The purchase price is approximately $2.91 billion, including $1.41 billion paid at close, comprised of $660 million in cash and $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares (subject to a share cap/floor). The remaining $1.5 billion will be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note. Google originally bought Motorola Mobility in 2011 for $12.5 billion.

Lenovo, which in 2005 acquired IBM's PC business and its legendary PC brand, will now acquire world-renowned Motorola Mobility, including the MOTOROLA brand and Motorola Mobility's portfolio of innovative smartphones like the Moto X and Moto G and the DROID Ultra series. In addition to current products, Lenovo will take ownership of the future Motorola Mobility product roadmap.

Google will maintain ownership of the vast majority of the Motorola Mobility patent portfolio, including current patent applications and invention disclosures. As part of its ongoing relationship with Google, Lenovo will receive a license to this rich portfolio of patents and other intellectual property. Additionally Lenovo will receive over 2,000 patent assets, as well as the Motorola Mobility brand and trademark portfolio.


January 27, 2014

Google, Samsung Sign Patent Agreement

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Google Inc. furthered their long-term cooperative partnership with a global patent cross-license agreement covering a broad range of technologies and business areas. The mutually beneficial agreement covers the two companies' existing patents as well as those filed over the next 10 years.

"We're pleased to enter into a cross-license with our partner Samsung," said Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents at Google. "By working together on agreements like this, companies can reduce the potential for litigation and focus instead on innovation."

With this agreement, Samsung and Google gain access to each other's industry-leading patent portfolios, paving the way for deeper collaboration on research and development of current and future products and technologies.

"This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry," said Dr. Seungho Ahn, the Head of Samsung's Intellectual Property Center. "Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes."

Google's patent portfolio of more than 50,000 patent assets is ranked as one of the top patent portfolios in the high-tech industry.


January 17, 2014

Google Working on Smart Contact Lenses

Google announced on its corporate blog that it is working on a scientific project to develop contact lenses that can help people with diabetes measure glucose levels in the body. The special lenses would contain miniature chips and glucose sensors that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.

The project is being run by Google employees Brian Otis and Babak Parviz. According to Bloomberg, Otis is on leave to Google from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he is an associate professor in the electrical engineering department.

Parviz was involved in the Google Glass project and has talked about putting displays on contact lenses, including lenses that monitor wearers' health.

In 2012, the two were among the co-authors in a paper titled "Glucose Sensor for Wireless Contact-Lens Tear Glucose Monitoring" for the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits.

Google says it has talked to the FDA about turning the technology into a system that people can use. It is also looking for corporate partners who are experts in bringing products to market.


January 13, 2014

Google Acquires Nest for $3.2 Billion in Cash

Google has made a blockbuster deal to bring technology into the home as it announced an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. of Palo Alto for $3.2 billion in cash.

Nest is a maker of home thermostats and smoke detectors with a sharp design and also allows users to control their home temperature via smartphone apps. Since its launch in 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat has been a consistent best seller--and the recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) has had rave reviews.

Larry Page, CEO of Google, said: "Nest's founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. They're already delivering amazing products you can buy right now--thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!"

Google Ventures, the company's venture capital arm, led an $80 million investment in Nest Labs last January. Other investors include: Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers; Shasta Ventures,; Lightspeed Venture Partners; and Venrock.

Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, said: "We're thrilled to join Google. With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world."

Nest will continue to operate under the leadership of Tony Fadell and with its own distinct brand identity. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the US. It is expected to close in the next few months.


December 15, 2013

Google Buys Robot Maker Boston Dynamics

Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, a maker of robots based in Waltham, MA according to an article in The NY Times. Boston Dynamics has designed mobile research robots for the U.S. military and is the eighth robotics company that Google has purchased in the past six months.

Google hasn't said what it plans to do with all this robot technology but its efforts are being led by Andy Rubin, who helped develop the Android mobile operating system.

Financial details were not disclosed on what Google paid for Boston Dynamics, which was founded in 1992.

Boston Dynamics says it builds advanced robots with remarkable behavior: mobility, agility, dexterity and speed. It uses sensor-based controls and computation to unlock the capabilities of complex mechanisms. Organizations worldwide, from DARPA, the US Army, Navy and Marine Corps to Sony Corporation have turned to Boston Dynamics for advice and for help creating the most advanced robots on Earth.


November 21, 2013

Google Wallet Offers Debit Card

Google has introduced the Google Wallet Debit Card that lets you quickly access money in your Google Wallet account and can be used in stores or at ATMs to withdraw cash.

With the Google Wallet Card, you can:

  • Spend anywhere. Use your Wallet Balance to shop and pay in stores by swiping your card at millions of MasterCard locations.
  • Get cash at ATMs. Withdraw money from your Wallet Balance at ATMs. Some ATM providers may charge you a fee for cash withdrawals.
  • Receive instant notifications when you spend money. Get instant notifications right on your phone to help you keep tabs on all of your transactions.
  • Be free of annual or monthly fees. You can order the Google Wallet Card for free, and there are no annual or monthly service fees to use the card.

The card is currently available only in the U.S.


November 16, 2013

Google Halts Sales of Chromebook Laptop

Google and HP are pausing sales of the HP Chromebook 11 after receiving a small number of user reports that some chargers included with the device have been damaged due to overheating during use. The company said in a blog post that it is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to identify the appropriate corrective action, and will provide additional information and instructions as soon as we can.

In the meantime, Google says customers who have purchased an HP Chromebook 11 should not use the original charger provided with the product. In the interim they may continue using their HP Chromebook 11 with any other Underwriters Laboratories-listed micro-USB charger, for example one provided with a tablet or smartphone. We apologize for the inconvenience.

The Chromebook made by HP was launched in October and sold for $279. It runs on Google's Chrome operating system and sold at Best Buy, Amazon and Google Play.


November 1, 2013

Google Introduces Nexus 5 Smartphone, KitKat

Google has introduced its latest smartphone, the Nexus 5 developed in a partnership with LG. It's the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. Its design is simple and features a 5-inch full HD display. The advanced camera lens on Nexus 5 captures more light for brighter night and sharper action shots. And with optical image stabilization, you no longer have to worry about shaky hands and blurry pictures. A new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot.

Nexus 5 is available now, unlocked and without a contract, on Google Play in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. Nexus 5 will be available soon before the holidays at the following retailers: Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.

The company also unveiled KitKat, the latest version of its Android operating system for smartphones and tablets.

With KitKat, Google said it has slimmed down Android's memory footprint by doing things like removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time. This was done not only within Android but across Google services like Chrome and YouTube. RAM (or memory) is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, and now Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest features in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users.

Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.


October 26, 2013

Google Adds Handwriting Support to Gmail

Google is now offering the ability to input handwriting into its Gmail and Docs applications, which is a huge benefit for foreign users where using the keyboard is less than ideal. Whether you're a student trying to include a foreign phrase in your paper or an international consultant hoping to begin your message with a friendly local greeting, now you'll be able to use your own handwriting to input words directly into Gmail and Google Docs with your mouse or trackpad.

To try it out, enable input tools in Gmail or Docs and select the handwriting input (represented by a pencil icon) of the language you want to use.

You can write single or even multiple characters at once in the panel to see them show up in your message or document. Currently, handwriting input is available in Google Docs for over 20 languages and in Gmail for over 50 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Russian.

The new feature is available in Google Mobile Search, Google Translate (Web, Android and iOS), and the Chrome browser.


September 26, 2013

Google Offers Home Delivery in Bay Area

Google announced it will offer its new home delivery service for products at area stores to anyone living or working from San Francisco to San Jose.

This new service brings the speed of the web to the real world by helping you shop your favorite local stores online -- in a single place -- and get what you need delivered the same day. Google is also launching a new mobile app, available for both Android and iOS, to bring you the convenience of Google Shopping Express even when you're on-the-go.

Whether you've run out of something essential or need to get a last-minute gift, you can shop your favorite stores all in one place, and get everything delivered in just a few hours. With Google Shopping Express, you can shop national, regional, and local stores, including American Eagle, Blue Bottle Coffee, Lucky, Office Depot, Palo Alto Toy & Sport, Photojojo, Raley's Nob Hill Foods, Staples, Target, Toys 'R 'Us/Babies 'R 'Us, and Walgreens. And as of Wednesday, you can also fill your cart with items from DODOcase, Guitar Center, L'Occitane, REI, and Whole Foods Market.

With Google Shopping Express you can select a delivery window that's convenient for you, starting in the morning and running as late as 9pm. To make this all work, Google engineers put their heads together to figure out the most efficient way to get all the packages delivered across town in the delivery windows promised.

For a limited time, you can get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery when you sign up for free membership. To get started, visit google.com/shopexpress.

September 20, 2013

Google Launches Health Company Calico

Google has announced the launch of Calico, a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases. Arthur Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, will be Chief Executive Officer and a founding investor.

Announcing this new investment, Larry Page, Google CEO said: "Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It's impossible to imagine anyone better than Art -- one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation -- to take this new venture forward." Art said: "I've devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry's focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I'm tremendously excited about what's next."

Art Levinson will remain Chairman of Genentech and a director of Hoffmann-La Roche, as well as Chairman of Apple.

Commenting on Art's new role, Franz Humer, Chairman of Hoffmann-La Roche, said: "Art's track record at Genentech has been exemplary, and we see an interesting potential for our companies to work together going forward. We're delighted he'll stay on our board."

Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, said: "For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn't have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results."


September 19, 2013

Google Buys Bump Technologies

Google has acquired Bump Technologies, a Mountain View-based startup that develops apps including Bump and Flock that allow mobile users to share photos and files just by bumping phones together.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Google is expected to integrate Bump technology into the Android mobile operating system.

"Our mission at Bump has always been to build the simplest tools for sharing the information you care about with other people and devices. We strive to create experiences that feel like magic, enabled behind the scene with innovations in math, data processing, and algorithm," said Bump CEO and co-founder David Lieb in a blog post. "So we couldn't be more thrilled to join Google, a company that shares our belief that the application of computing to difficult problems can fundamentally change the way that we interact with one another and the world."


September 7, 2013

Google Inks Deal for KitKat Name

Google announced the name of the latest version of its Android mobile operating system, calling it Android KitKat after a brand of candy made by Hershey Company. Instead of a generic name for its Android updates, Google has decided to use Android as a marketing campaign via a well-known brand. Terms of the deal weren't released.

"We couldn't imagine a better name for our Android K release than the chocolate treat that's been a favorite go-to snack among the team since the early days of Android," said Marc Vanlerberghe, director of Android Marketing.

Android KitKat is version 4.4 of Google's mobile operating system, developed by the company's engineers under sweet-themed codenames that began with Android Cupcake 1.5 in 2009. The codenames have continued alphabetically through to Android Jelly Bean 4.3, released earlier this year.

As part of the U.S. campaign, Kit Kat brand and Google will offer consumers the chance to win 1,000 Nexus 7 tablets, 150,000 Google Play $5.00 credits and 20,000 coupons for a free 8 ounce bag of Kit Kat Minis. To enter the promotion, consumers should look for a code inside the wrapper of specially marked Kit Kat 1.5 oz bars where they will need to visit android.com/kitkat for their chance to win. The promotion will run between September 6, 2013 and January 31, 2014.

The Google announcement is part of a larger global partnership with Nestle. The Hershey Company is a license holder of the Kit Kat trademark in the United States, where it manufactures and sells the Kit Kat brand. To mark the release of the Android KitKat, more than 50 million specially branded Kit Kat bars will be available in 19 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Middle East, Russia, and the United States.


August 22, 2013

Google Mobile Maps Now Waze Better

Google bought social mapping company Waze in June for a reported $1 billion. Now Google is adding Waze to its mobile maps service to help people avoid traffic jams in real time.

Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users. This means when Wazers report accidents, construction, road closures and more on Waze, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US.

The Waze community will also benefit from two new features. First, the Android and iOS versions of the app have been updated with Google Search. Wazers will now have access to even more search results when navigating. Google Search joins other search providers making it easy to find favorite businesses and any local address.

In addition, after a successful beta test, the Waze Map Editor now includes Google Street View and satellite imagery to build out the map and make it easier to correct map errors reported by the community.


August 16, 2013

Google Adds Personalized Search

Google is rolling out personalized search capabilities to all U.S., English-speaking users this week on desktop, tablet and smartphone, with voice search (so you don’t have to type). This feature will help you find information in Gmail, Google Calendar or Google+ as well as photos. Here are just a few of the time savers that will be available this week, with more to come:

  • Flights: Ask Google “Is my flight on time?” to get info on your upcoming flights and live status on your current flights.
  • Reservations: Ask for “my reservations” to see your dining plans or “my hotel” to get your hotel name and address. With one tap, you can get driving or public transit directions straight there, saving you lots of steps.
  • Purchases: Ask for “my purchases,” and you’ll get the status of your current orders, so you know whether your mom’s birthday present will arrive on time.
  • Plans: Ask Google “What are my plans for tomorrow?” to see a summary of upcoming flights, hotels, restaurant reservations and events—very useful when you’re traveling.
  • Photos: Say “Show me my photos from Thailand” to see the photos you uploaded to Google+. You can also ask for “my photos of sunsets” if you want to show off the shots you’ve taken over the year; Google will try to automatically recognize the type of photo you’re asking for.

The company says it has been offering this kind of info—flights, reservations, appointments and more—for more than a year in Google Now. Now that it’s in Google Search, you can get it anytime you need it.


August 6, 2013

Google Introduces Find Your Phone for Android

Google is introducing a new feature that can help you find your Android phone if it was lost or stolen. Using the new Android Device Manager, you can quickly ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it (even if it's been silenced), or locate it on a map, in real time.

If your phone can't be recovered, or has been stolen, you can quickly and securely erase all of the data on your device to keep your data from ending up in the wrong hands. The Android Device Manager will be available for devices running Android 2.2 and above, as part of Google Play. You will also need to be signed into your Google Account.

The feature is similar to the Find My iPhone app already available for Apple iPhones and iPads.


July 31, 2013

Google to Power Wi-Fi at Starbucks

Google said it will be teaming up with Starbucks to bring faster, free Wi-Fi connections to all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States over the next 18 months and starting in August. When accessing the Wi-Fi at your local Starbucks with Google, you'll be able to surf the web at speeds up to 10x faster than before. If you're in a Google Fiber city like Kansas City, Austin and Provo, the company is hoping to get a connection that's up to 100x faster.

"Every day, our customers rely on the free Wi-Fi at Starbucks to study, work, connect with friends or just relax. We want to make sure that they can access the web effortlessly and quickly, no matter what they're doing, or what device they are using," said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer, Starbucks. "Our goal is to continue to provide our customers with the best in-store experience possible, and we are excited to offer these kinds of unparalleled experiences at a broad scale."

Starbucks and Google will work with Level 3 Communications, an international telecommunications company, to bring faster Wi-Fi connectivity to Starbucks® stores. Level 3 will upgrade existing Wi-Fi devices and will manage in-store connectivity in more than 7,000 company-owned stores across the nation.

July 26, 2013

Google Selling Chromecast TV Device

Google has launched a new device called Chromecast that plugs into the HDMI slot on TVs that sells for the low price of $35. Chromecast lets you use your phone, tablet or laptop to "cast" online content wirelessly to your TV screen. It works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV, and Google Play Music, with more apps like Pandora coming soon. With Chromecast, Google says it wanted to create an easy solution that works for everyone, for every TV in the house.

Once your Chromecast is set up, you can use your phone, tablet or laptop to browse and cast content to your TV, play and pause, control the volume, and more. But unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask -- send emails or surf the web -- while enjoying what's on the TV screen. It works across platforms -- Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac and Windows (more to come), so your personal device is also now your remote control.

Chromecast also lets you project Internet content on to your TV using a new feature in Google's Chrome browser.

The Chromecast device is already sold out via Google Play and Amazon.com with high demand and low price of $35. It is supposed to begin shipping in August.


July 19, 2013

Google Announces Second Quarter Results

Google Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $14.11 billion for the quarter ended June 30, 2013, an increase of 19% compared to the second quarter of 2012.

"Google had a great quarter with over $14 billion in revenue -- up 19% year-on-year," said Larry Page, CEO of Google. "The shift from one screen to multiple screens and mobility creates tremendous opportunity for Google. With more devices, more information, and more activity online than ever, the potential to improve people's lives even more is immense."

Google-owned sites generated revenues of $8.87 billion, or 68% of total Google revenues, in the second quarter of 2013. This represents an 18% increase over second quarter 2012 Google sites revenues of $7.54 billion.

Google's partner sites via Adsense generated revenues of $3.19 billion, or 24% of total Google revenues, in the second quarter of 2013. This represents a 7% increase from second quarter 2012 Google network revenues of $2.98 billion.

Paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of Google's Network members, increased approximately 23% over the second quarter of 2012 and increased approximately 4% over the first quarter of 2013. Average cost-per-click, which includes clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of Network members, decreased approximately 6% over the second quarter of 2012 and decreased approximately 2% over the first quarter of 2013.

Motorola Mobile revenues were $998 million, or 7% of consolidated revenues in the second quarter of 2013, compared to $843 million, or 7% of consolidated revenues in the second quarter of 2012.

Google reported cash and marketable securities of $54.4 billion.

On a worldwide basis, the company employed 44,777 full-time employees (40,178 in Google and 4,599 in Motorola Mobile) as of June 30, 2013, compared to 53,891 full-time employees (38,739 in Google, 9,982 Motorola Mobile, and 5,170 Motorola Home) as of March 31, 2013.


June 11, 2013

Google Buys Waze for $1 Billion+

Google announced it has acquired traffic app Waze for a reported $1.3 billion. Waze is based in Israel and operates a community-based mapping service with over 50 million registered users around the world.

Brian McClendon, Vice President of Geo for Google, said in a blog post that the Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. Google is excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google's search capabilities.

Waze first began as an open source mapping project in 2006 and officially started in 2008. The company has received funding from Blue Run Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital. It recently received additional funding from Kleiner Perkins and Li Ka-shing's Horizon Ventures.

Waze has U.S. headquarters in Palo Alto.


June 4, 2013

Google Invests $12 Million in South African Solar Farm

Google said it has made its first investment in Africa to boost the use of renewable energy.

The Internet giant has made a $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Upon completion, Jasper will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent, capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.

The Jasper Project will create approximately 300 construction and 50 permanent jobs in a region experiencing high rates of unemployment, as well as providing rural development and education programs and setting aside a portion of total project revenues -- amounting to approximately $26 million over the life of the project -- for enterprise and socio-economic development.

According to a blog post by Rick Needham, Google's Director of Energy & Sustainability, the company has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy investments and continues to search for new opportunities.


May 15, 2013

Google CEO Page Has Paralyzed Vocal Cords

Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page announced on his Google Plus page that he has paralyzed vocal cords and also suffers from a rare condition called Hashimoto's thyroditis.

Page has not spoken at recent investor events and his voice has been much softer over the past year.

Page said a doctor discovered he had left vocal cord paralysis 14 years ago after suffering a bad cold and his voice became hoarse again last summer after another cold. He said he has improved over the past year and now chooses his words carefully and even has better stamina.

Page credits Dr. Steven Zeitels from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital Voice Center -- who is really excited about the potential to improve vocal cord nerve function. After meeting him, Page has agreed to fund a significant research program through the Voice Health Institute, which Zeitels will lead.


May 7, 2013

Google Takes Minority Stake in Lending Club

Google has acquired a minority stake in Lending Club, a website that lets users borrow money from others. The investment by Google came as part of a secondary transaction whereby new and existing investors acquired shares from existing investors. Buyers include Google and existing investor Foundation Capital. The deal was part of a $125 investment.

"Lending Club is using the Internet to reshape the financial system and profoundly transform the way people think of credit and investment," said David Lawee, Vice President of Corporate Development at Google. "We are excited to be a part of it."

As part of this investment David Lawee will take an observer seat on the Lending Club Board alongside existing Board members including Mary Meeker, John Mack and Larry Summers.

"Few companies have such an in-depth understanding of the Internet as Google," said Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche. "We believe our relationship with Google will be very helpful in better serving our customers. We couldn't be more excited to have them on board."

Lending Club continues its significant growth with more than $1.65 billion in loans facilitated since inception including over $350 million in the last quarter. By focusing on high-credit-quality borrowers, the Lending Club platform has generated 22 consecutive quarters of positive returns. The company's wholly-owned subsidiary LC Advisors, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor, has launched several funds in the last 2 years and now has more than $450 million in assets under management.


April 21, 2013

Google Reports $14 Billion in Revenue

Google Inc. reported revenues of $13.97 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, an increase of 31% compared to the first quarter of 2012. Net income was $3.35 billion for the first quarter, up from $2.89 billion last year.

"We had a very strong start to 2013, with $14.0 billion in revenue, up 31% year-on-year," said Larry Page, CEO of Google. "We are working hard and investing in our products that aim to improve billions of people's lives all around the world."

Google-owned sites generated revenues of $8.64 billion, or 67% of total Google revenues, in the first quarter of 2013. This represents an 18% increase over first quarter 2012 Google sites revenues of $7.31 billion. Google's partner sites using Adsense generated revenues of $3.26 billion, or 25% of total Google revenues, in the first quarter of 2013. This represents a 12% increase from first quarter 2012 Google network revenues of $2.91 billion. Cost-per-click on Google and Adsense sites were down 4% in the first quarter.

Google revenues from outside of the United States totaled $7.1 billion, representing 55% of total Google revenues in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 54% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and in the first quarter of 2012.

Motorola Mobile revenues were $1.02 billion, or 7% of consolidated revenues in the first quarter of 2013.

Google said it had cash and securities of $50.1 billion at the end of the quarter and 53,891 total employees (38,739 in Google and 9,982 in Motorola Mobile and 5,170 in Motorola Home), an increase of 30 from the last quarter.


April 18, 2013

Google Adds Provo to Fiber Cities

Google announced it plans to make Provo the third U.S. city to have Google Fiber, a high-speed fiber-optic network.

In order to bring Fiber to Provo, Google has signed an agreement to purchase iProvo, an existing fiber-optic network owned by the city. As a part of the acquisition, Google has committed to upgrade the network to gigabit technology and finish network construction so that every home along the existing iProvo network would have the opportunity to connect to Google Fiber.

Utah is already home to hundreds of tech companies and startups, and many of them are based in Provo. Its nickname is the Silicon Slopes. In fact, the Provo area ranks second in the nation in patent growth, and is consistently ranked as one of the top places to live and do business in the U.S.

Provo has a population of 115,000 and is home to Brigham Young University.

Google said it plans to offer Free Internet service (5 Mbps speeds) to every home along the existing Provo network, for a $30 activation fee and no monthly charge for at least seven years.


April 10, 2013

Google to Launch Fiber in Austin

Google announced plans to build a high-speed fiber network in Austin, TX beginning in mid-2014. This will be the second U.S. city to get Google Fiber after Kansas City was the first market launched two years ago.

Customers there will have a similar choice of products as customers in Kansas City. Pricing is expected to be similar to KC with Gigabit Internet at $70 per month or Gigabit Internet plus the Google Fiber TV service with nearly 200 HD TV channels for $120 per month.

Google said it will also offer Austin customers a free Internet connection at 5 mbps for 7 years, provided they pay a one-time construction fee. Google said it plans to connect many public institutions as it build ins Austin -- schools, hospitals, community centers -- at a gigabit for no charge.

Austin is the capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas main campus and its medical research center.


April 2, 2013

Google Tests Home Delivery in Bay Area

Google's commerce division announced it will test home delivery service in the Bay Area that could bring goods ordered online right to your door.

The company is looking for testers who will be able to shop online, in a single place, from retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Staples, American Eagle and Toys R 'Us/Babies R 'Us -- along with locally distinct shops such as San Francisco's Blue Bottle Coffee, and the Bay Area's Palo Alto Toy & Sport and Raley's Nob Hill Foods, and get your items delivered that same day.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area (in the city of San Francisco, and the Peninsula from San Mateo to San Jose) and would like to help test this new Google shopping initiative, you can sign up here. The company said it is still working out a long-term pricing plan for the service but early testers will get six months of free, unlimited same-day delivery.


March 22, 2013

Google Introduces Keep Note Service

Google has launched a new note-taking service called Keep. With Google Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what's important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.

Keep can also transcribe your voice memos automatically so you don't need to type your notes if you prefer.

Google Keep is available on Google Play for smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above. You can access, edit and create new notes on the web at http://drive.google.com/keep and in the coming weeks you'll be able to do the same directly from Google Drive.


March 14, 2013

Google Closing 8 More Services

Google is continuing its Spring Cleaning that was first announced in 2011 with the closure of 8 additional services, bringing the total to 70 services that have been shuttered over the past two years. Here are the latest Google services to be eliminated or merged:
  • Apps Script will be deprecating the GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets in order to focus efforts on Html Service. The rest of the Ui Service will not be affected. The GUI Builder will continue to be available until September 16, 2013. For more information see the post on the Google Apps Developer Blog.
  • CalDAV API will become available for whitelisted developers, and will be shut down for other developers on September 16, 2013. Most developers’ use cases are handled well by Google Calendar API, which we recommend using instead. If you’re a developer and the Calendar API won’t work for you, please fill out this form to tell us about your use case and request access to whitelisted-only CalDAV API.
  • Google Building Maker helped people to make three-dimensional building models for Google Earth and Maps. It will be retired on June 1, but users are still able to access and export their models from the 3D Warehouse. We’ll continue to expand the availability of comprehensive and accurate new 3D imagery on Google Earth, and people can still use Google Map Maker to add building information such as outlines and heights to Google Maps.
  • Google Cloud Connect is a plug-in to help people work in the cloud by automatically saving Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs in Google Drive. But installing Google Drive on your desktop achieves the same thing more effectively—and Drive works not only on Windows, but also on Mac, Android and iOS devices. Existing users will no longer be able to use Cloud Connect as of April 30.
  • Google Reader was launched in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, Google Reader will be retired. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
  • Beginning next week, we're ending support for the Google Voice App for Blackberry. For Blackberry users who want to continue using Google Voice, we recommend they use our HTML5 app, which is more secure and easier for us to keep up to date. Our HTML5 site is compatible with users with Blackberry version 6 and newer.
  • We’re deprecating our Search API for Shopping, which has enabled developers to create shopping apps based on Google’s Product Search data. While we believe in the value this offering provided, we’re shifting our focus to concentrate on creating a better shopping experience for users through Google Shopping. We’ll shut the API down completely on September 16, 2013.
  • Google will no longer sell or provide updates for Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows. Existing customers will continue to be able to download the software and can contact us for support. We’ll continue to offer the Snapseed mobile app on iOS and Android for free.