December 1, 2017

Weekly Wins: Gifts From Google

WRITTEN BY: Ivana Atlija

Google has added donate buttons for giving during the holidays, launched Daydream Impact for doing good with VR, introduced Paper Signals, fixed their cheeseburger emoji, and are making a version of Stories for YouTube. 

Google also announced Datally, their new app for controlling and saving mobile data, but that’s not as fun as cute folding paper figures, or tiny cheeseburgers for our phones. It’s a Weekly Wins full of Google goodness! Check it out below.

Google reminds us of the gift of giving

1. ‘Tis The Season of Giving

There’s one question we’ve all heard a lot today, and that’s, “How is it already December?” Christmas is around the corner, and the last-minute scramble for gifts is on. Since many shoppers will be turning to laptops rather than malls to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones, Google is making the most of this opportunity to do good.

As part of Giving Tuesday, Google added a new donate button that will encourage giving during the holidays. The button allows you to directly contribute money to nonprofits when searching for them on the web. No fee is charged when donations are made through this button, and all the money will go directly to the causes chosen. According to Google, about 30 percent of charitable donations occur during the holiday season, making this button a great, timely idea to remind us all that the holidays are a time for giving.

2. Now THAT’s A Cheeseburger

When building a cheeseburger, everybody knows the cheese goes on top of the patty, which is why everybody was confused when Google, the company whose supposed to know everything, had a horrible burger emoji. After the Internet made their dissatisfaction known, the CEO took to Twitter to share that they would make the change right away, and the new and improved hamburger emoji is finally here!

The cheese has been moved to where it belongs and looks delicious. Google also took the initiative to make other changes including fixing the weird floating froth on their beer glasses and the strange cheese holes. Thank goodness.

Making change in the world with VR

3. Google For Good

Google has launched their new philanthropy program called Daydream Impact which uses VR for good. With virtual reality, users can travel to anywhere in the world and experience all kinds of things they otherwise may not be able to.

Daydream Impact is all about giving organizations, non-profits, and advocates the tools and training they need to use VR to impact people in ways related to their causes. For example, Rising Seas is a project that brought forward the concerns of global climate change and rising sea levels using VR. The Daydream Impact program also includes a hardware loaner service for projects that show promise, all with the goal to make change and impact our world in positive ways.

4. Stories For YouTube

Stories is a popular way to share content and engage with friends and followers on social. Originally introduced by Snapchat, then copied adopted by Instagram, Skype, Facebook, and Messenger, Stories are a popular format right now, so YouTube is making their own spin-off version and calling it “Reels.”

Intended for YouTubers, Reels will allow creators to shoot quick mobile videos up to 30 seconds, decorate with filters, music, text, and more, and keep their creations on their channel’s page as long as they’d like with no expiry. They will exist under a separate tab, allowing viewers to choose whether to watch them or not.

Control paper umbrellas with your voice

5. Hey, Google. Talk To Paper Signals.

The voice control space continues to grow, and Google is at the forefront. Their latest voice experiment is an open-source project called Paper Signals that lets you build paper objects and explore how physical things can be controlled by your voice. Some examples include tracking the weather and being notified of rocket launches, signalled by adorable paper folds. Anyone can build a Paper Signal by purchasing the Adafruit board bundle for about $25, printing out templates, and following the instructions laid out by Google. Or, you can design your own. It looks super fun, and super cute, too.