Test your creativity

The main goal at Google Search is to bring you the most relevant and useful results as quickly as possible. But, we are aware that often that is only part of your task or journey. Sometimes, you need more than simple results. You might want to learn, to discover, to be entertained or get insights.

Insights can happen when you least expect them. To improve their chances, it’s good to try other things, or do things differently once in awhile. As a lifelong fan and connoisseur of New Yorker style cartoons, I always believed in the power of humor not just to entertain but to enlighten. I have tried to connect humor to everything I do (although, I have to admit, not always successfully). The best cartoonists possess great insights, which they illustrate in a clever package that we can consume in seconds and yet remember for years.

With all of this in mind, today we’re connecting Google search and cartoons through a search caption challenge. Cartoon caption contests have a long history dating back at least to the 1930s, as can be seen in this example I found from Ballyhoo magazine. For our modern version, we worked with artists like Matthew Diffee, Emily Flake, Christoph Niemann, Danny Shanahan and Jim Woodring, who created cartoons that place characters in unusual, interesting and funny situations—all with a common twist. In each cartoon, one of the characters is doing a Google search. We’ve left it to you to imagine what they’d be searching for at that moment, and left the caption blank for you to fill in with your answer.

To participate, go to Inside Search and submit your idea. Your caption will appear on the site, and you can share it with friends via a unique link. You can also vote on your favorite submissions and the most popular will rise to the top.

We hope this game helps you think in a way you wouldn’t otherwise, and maybe get some insights. Or just have fun.

Tahina Expedition


Frank Taylor here, the founder and publisher of Google Earth Blog. Many of you who are regular readers of Google Earth Blog know that since November of 2009 my wife and I have been traveling by sailboat on a round-the-world trip we call the Tahina Expedition. Tahina is the name of our boat which we bought in 2008. We sold our house, cars and most of our belongings to have this opportunity to see many of the most remote parts of the Earth that we had only visited in Google Earth before. We have already crossed the Pacific Ocean leaving our home state of North Carolina to the Caribbean sea, to San Blas, the Panama Canal, Galapagos, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tonga, and New Zealand.

In early May of this year, we left New Zealand and sailed for seven days up to Fiji. Since that time, we have had some amazing experiences in Fiji. We have enjoyed visiting with people in remote villages of eastern Fiji – many who have rarely seen foreigners and have little contact with the modern world. We have had some amazing underwater experiences on some of the liveliest coral we have ever seen. We have had remarkable encounters with marine life such as dolphin, sea turtles, lionfish, shark, sea snakes, eels, manta ray and more. We have also seen some pretty unique locations such as underwater caves, uninhabited islands, white sand beaches, and huge island resorts.


Fiji Tracks in Google Earth 

Today we published a Google Earth file of our Fiji experiences . It includes GPS tracks of our routes as we sailed between anchorages. It also has tracks of dinghy trips to various places, hikes, kayaking trips, and even some taxi trips. There are placemarks of our anchorages, dive sites, and other points of interest along the way. And, finally, the file includes links to all the geo-tagged photos from albums we have published to Picasa. You can read more about the file in the post at the Tahina blog.

Geek Time with Chris DiBona

The end of the year is always a great time to take a moment and look back at the developments of the past twelve months. Two members of the Google Open Source Programs Office, Chris DiBona and Jeremy Allison, sat down together for a review of open source accomplishments in 2010, and the conversation is shared with you here. Chris is the Open Source Programs Manager at Google, which means he directs Google’s open source compliance, releasing, and outreach efforts. He reveals lots of insights into Google’s approach towards open source and the influence of open source on technology and business.

The video of their discussion is separated into five parts, with descriptions below.

Part 1
Chris and Jeremy discuss their favorite open source projects of 2010, including GoogleCL, Android, Chromium, Chrome OS, and WebM. Together they ponder the future of computing, debating whether or not 2011 will be “the year of the Linux desktop.”

Part 2
Chris explains how Google decides what software to open source and under which licenses. He also mentions tools such as Make Open Easy (MOE) that are used to help engineers release and maintain their code. The topic eventually turns to license defragmentation, and Chris describes his efforts to streamline the number of licenses that Google releases under. In the process he shares his theory about what makes open source projects succeed.

Part 3
Chris and Jeremy talk about Google Summer of Code, its history, and the impact it has on the open source community.

Part 4
Chris and Jeremy are old friends who met in the 90’s at a Silicon Valley Linux Users Group meeting. While reminiscing about the early days of Silicon Valley, they discuss the modern role of user groups, both here and abroad. Chris visited Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan earlier this year, and he compares the tech atmosphere in those countries to Silicon Valley in the late 90’s, with both open source and entrepreneurship developing simultaneously.

Part 5
Chris gives an overview of his career and explains how he came to be the Open Source Programs Manager at Google.

Happy New Year, and see you in 2011!