Bringing the Dead Sea Scrolls

It’s taken 24 centuries, the work of archaeologists, scholars and historians, and the advent of the Internet to make the Dead Sea Scrolls accessible to anyone in the world. Today, as the new year approaches on the Hebrew calendar, we’re celebrating the launch of the Dead Sea Scrolls online; a project of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem powered by Google technology.

Written between the third and first centuries BCE, the Dead Sea Scrolls include the oldest known biblical manuscripts in existence. In 68 BCE, they were hidden in 11 caves in the Judean desert on the shores of the Dead Sea to protect them from the approaching Roman armies. They weren’t discovered again until 1947, when a Bedouin shepherd threw a rock in a cave and realized something was inside. Since 1965, the scrolls have been on exhibit at the Shrine of the Book at The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Among other topics, the scrolls offer critical insights into life and religion in ancient Jerusalem, including the birth of Christianity.

Now, anyone around the world can view, read and interact with five digitized Dead Sea Scrolls. The high resolution photographs, taken by Ardon Bar-Hama, are up to 1,200 megapixels, almost 200 times more than the average consumer camera, so viewers can see even the most minute details in the parchment. For example, zoom in on the Temple Scroll to get a feel for the animal skin it’s written on—only one-tenth of a millimeter thick.

You can browse the Great Isaiah Scroll, the most well known scroll and the one that can be found in most home bibles, by chapter and verse. You can also click directly on the Hebrew text and get an English translation. While you’re there, leave a comment for others to see.

The scroll text is also discoverable via web search. If you search for phrases from the scrolls, a link to that text within the scroll viewers on the Dead Sea Scrolls collections site may surface in your search results. For example, search for [Dead Sea Scrolls “In the day of thy planting thou didst make it to grow”], and you may see a link to Chapter 17:Verse 11 within the Great Isaiah Scroll.

This partnership with The Israel Museum, Jerusalem is part of our larger effort to bring important cultural and historical collections online. We are thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, helping design the web experience and making it searchable and accessible to the world. We’ve been involved in similar projects in the past, including the Google Art Project, Yad Vashem Holocaust photo collection

The Fox/Google Debate on YouTube

Since was announced the Fox News/Google Debate on September 1, people across the country have submitted more than 18,000 questions to the Fox News YouTube channel on topics ranging from immigration reform, to health care, to foreign aid to social security. Tonight, the Republican presidential candidates will answer those questions in the Fox News/Google Debate, which will be live-streamed on YouTube and broadcast on Fox News Channel starting at 9pm ET. We’ll also have an online pre-debate show starting at 8:30pm ET, featuring Fox News’s Shannon Bream and Chris Stirewalt, and Steve Grove, YouTube’s Head of News and Politics.

Even if you’re watching on TV, you can visit youtube.com/foxnews during the debate to vote on real-time polling questions and submit live commentary. Throughout the evening, we’ll share Google politics-related search trend information and public data that will provide context to the issues discussed. Fox News moderators will ask specific questions that were submitted by citizens through YouTube, and we’ll be looking at overall trends that emerge from the questions in aggregate. To give you an idea, here’s a look at the most popular words people used in their submissions (the bigger the word, the more often it was used).

Flex your democratic muscle and tune in to youtube.com/foxnews for a political debate that puts you in the driver’s seat of the discussion.

Improved sharing via Google+

A few weeks ago Larry mentioned that we’d start shipping the Google part of Google+. The Android team then launched Ice Cream Sandwich, with a focus on improved sharing via Google+. And today we’re rolling out two more Google+ features that integrate with two more Google products: YouTube and Chrome.

YouTube

It’s no secret that YouTube is filled with tons of great content (from inspiring speeches to music videos to honey badgers). We wanted to bring YouTube directly into Google+—as well as make it easier to watch and share your favorites—so we’re launching a YouTube “slider” in the stream. Here’s how it works:

  • Mouse over the new YouTube icon at the top right of Google+
  • It’ll slide out and ask, “What would you like to play”?
  • Enter whatever you’re in the mood for (like a topic or a musical artist)

Sharing YouTube videos with your circles also works (of course), but there’s a nice little twist: the people you share with can open a related playlist directly from your post! Last but not least, we’re starting to include YouTube playlists in Google+ search results.

YouTube video in the stream (left), YouTube playlist in Google+ search results (right)

Chrome

We’re also rolling out two new Google+ Chrome extensions:

  • +1 button: +1 any webpage and share it with your circles
  • Notifications: check your Google+ notifications while you browse the web

Of course, if you don’t use Chrome, then you can use Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer. The new version—also rolling out today—includes these same sharing and notification features.

Google+ Chrome extensions: +1 button (left), notifications (right)

We’ve got lots more planned for Google+, YouTube and Chrome (and all the other Google products you already use). But we hope you enjoy today’s small taste of shipping the Google in Google+.