TIME Diversions

Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks

Google
Michael Gottschalk/Photothek/Getty Images

You could work or you could slack off by trying all these tricks, taking an early lunch and napping in your parked car until 1:30 or 2:00. Totally up to you.

This is where the intro normally goes, but let’s be honest with each other about the nature of this relationship. You’re going to skip right over this part, skim the big, bold headlines, and maybe click on a handful of the blue links. There’s a chance you’ll be mildly amused but you’ll most likely blast a quick puff of air out your nostrils, annoyed that you’ve already seen most or all of these tricks before. You’ll eventually click away to some other site and we’ll never see each other again. We’ll always have this post, though. Thanks for the memories.

Do a Barrel Roll

Search for “do a barrel roll” without the quotes, and hold onto your desk for dear life. Cool, eh? Maybe you’re even a little nauseous.

But the old barrel roll trick isn’t the only Easter egg Google has up its sleeve. Here are several others:

Tilt/Askew

If you’re obsessive and/or compulsive, this trick isn’t going to sit well with you for long. Search for “tilt” without the quotes. Searching for “askew” accomplishes the same end-result.

Change it back! Change it ba-aaack!

Big Answers to Mind-Bending Questions

Search for “answer to life, the universe, and everything” and you’ll get your answer. It’s a real thinker. Of course, Douglas Adams fans knew the answer without having to search for it.

See also: “the loneliest number,” “once in a blue moon” and “number of horns on a unicorn” for a few other cool calculations.

Did You Mean…

Search for “anagram“—did you mean nag a ram? Or try searching for “recursion” instead. Did you mean recursion? Did you mean recursion? Did you mean recursion? Did you mean recursion? You meant recursion, right?

“As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way!”

It’s a Festivus MIIIRACLE! Google “Festivus,” and once you’ve taken in the wonder of this Google Easter egg, feel free to participate in the Airing of Grievances here in the comments section or indulge in the Feats of Strength with a family member, friend, enemy or stranger at your earliest convenience.

Zerg Rush

An homage to StarCraft, search Google “Zerg Rush” and prepare to protect your search results from a bunch of hungry Google O’s. Click them before they eat all your results. Hurry! Why are you still reading this?!

Blink HTML

Search for “Blink HTML” and OH SWEET BABY J, MY EYES! Brings back some fond memories of simpler web-based times though, doesn’t it? Just needs Bittersweet Symphony auto-playing as a MIDI file.

Party Like It’s 1998

As long as we’re going old-school with blink tags, want to see what Google looked like in 1998? Believe it or believe it, all you have to do is search for “Google in 1998” and you’ll be whisked away. Clicking the initial search results will return the archived versions of those pages, too.

Shake It

While we’re on YouTube, type “Do the Harlem Shake” into the search bar. Ah, memories of a meme from a couple years ago.

Try searching YouTube for these ones, too:

Break It

You can play a game of Breakout, wherein search results from Google Images morph into breakable bricks. Just search for “Atari Breakout” and click the Images tab or go straight to images.google.com and search for “Atari Breakout” there.

TIME Google

Google Voice Rising, Google+ Falling

Google Voice gets free VoIP calls, with no forced Google+ integration.

If you use Google Voice to manage your phone calls and text messages, you can now use it to place free calls from your computer as well.

The new feature comes through integration with Google Hangouts. To access it in Google Voice, click the “Call” button, then select “Hangouts” in the “Phone to call with” drop-down box.

Although Google already offers free Hangouts calls in Gmail and Google+, the Google Voice integration is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s a sign that there’s still some life left in Google Voice, which adds features like call screening and web-based voicemail on top of your basic phone service. Last March, Voice was rumored to be on its deathbed as Google rolls all communications into its Hangouts app. But on laptops and desktops, Hangouts is just a feature within other Google services, rather than a standalone app as it is on Android and iOS. Maybe Google will consolidate all its Hangouts tie-ins someday, but for now Voice seems to be sticking around.

It’s also amusing that Google’s Alex Wiesen, in announcing the feature on Google+, pointed out how making a Hangouts call “doesn’t require a Google+ account,” almost like that’s a feature. At one point, Google was requiring that new products integrate with its social network, but lately the company has been moving in the opposite direction, de-emphasizing Google+ where possible.

TIME privacy

Italy Gives Google Deadline to Change Data-Use Policies

Google must present a game plan in September

An Italian data-regulation official told Google it has 18 months to change how it stores users’ information.

Italy is one of several European countries that have been jointly investigating Google’s consolidation of 60 different privacy policies into one last year, Reuters reports. The Italian watchdog said in a statement that Google’s disclosures about data use were insufficient, despite the company’s efforts efforts to abide by local laws.

A spokesperson for Google said the tech company has consistently cooperated with the inquiry and will continue to do so after it reviews the watchdog’s latest decision.

Google has a year and a half to, among other demands, start asking for users’ consent to profile them based off their data for commercial purposes. The official also asked Google to follow through on users’ requests to delete their personal data within two months.

In addition to the 18-month deadline, Google must also present in September a detailed plan for how it intends to meet the regulator’s demands. If Google ultimately does not comply with the regulator, it could face fines.

France and Spain have already fined the company for violating local data-protection laws. A Dutch regulator is still deciding whether to take steps to enforce changes following similar legal breaches in the Netherlands.

[Reuters]

TIME cities

San Francisco Shower Bus Offers Hygiene to the Homeless

Nonprofit hopes shower bus can offer dignity to some homeless residents

+ READ ARTICLE

An old public bus in San Francisco has been converted into a portable shower station to provide hygienic bathrooms to the homeless.

The bus, converted by nonprofit LavaMae, contains two private showers and toilets and provides towels and soap. The creators say it’s more about providing individual comfort than ending homelessness.

But despite the fact that the showers could help some homeless people stay clean as public showers around the city close, they don’t enjoy unanimous support.

Some critics say that the buses, which are largely funded by big donations from companies like Google, are a perfect example of San Francisco’s widening gap between the super-rich and the very poor.

TIME Law

U.S. Judge Grants Investigators Access to Gmail Accounts in Criminal Probes

The judge says the law already supports giving investigators access to documents simply to determine whether they're warrantable or not.

A New York federal judge ruled on Friday that prosecutors have a legal right to access Gmail-based emails in criminal probes that involve money laundering, a sharp turnaround from previous rulings in comparable cases and an alarm bell for privacy advocates.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said that his decision was based on a law already on the books that allows investigators to seize documents–which Gorenstein interpreted as including emails–to determine whether data should be subject to a warrant, Reuters reports.

The big question is what happens if a user’s email account doesn’t yield any information that would justify a legal warrant, and how much public support lies behind the idea of privileging high profile investigations over personal privacy.

[Reuters]

TIME Google

Google Has a Huge New Business You Probably Don’t Know About

Google on iPhone 5
Iain Masterton—Alamy

Selling apps, television shows, e-books, music and games through Google Play is becoming a big business for the tech giant

fortunelogo-blue
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published atFortune.com.

In five years, Google Play has gone from being an upstart marketplace for mobile phone apps to a mammoth media hub.

On Thursday’s second-quarter earnings call, Google’s outgoing Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora all-but-said as much. In addition to apps, it now sells now sells digital movies, TV shows and music to the more than one billion people worldwide who own Android phones and tablets.

It “continues to grow at breakneck speed,” Arora said on the call.

Google doesn’t break out numbers for just how well Google Play is doing. But sales have steadily grown into the second largest source of revenues behind the company’s long-standing cash cow, advertising.

Finding alternative sources of revenue is critical to Google as it tries to offset the inevitable slowing growth in its online ad business. Selling apps and entertainment for mobile device can be an important way to keep Wall Street investors happy along with making its operating system more attractive to consumers and device manufacturers.

Citigroup analyst Mark May predicts Google Play’s annual revenues will grow from $1.3 billion in 2013 to $5.2 billion in 2017. Those figures remain a fraction of the $10 billion in iTunes sales Apple reported last year, but Android’s momentum is undeniable.

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

TIME

There’s a “Right To Be Forgotten” Industry—and It’s Booming

Google on iPhone 5
Iain Masterton—Alamy

The E.U.'s decision requiring search engines to remove some links from search results has spawned a nascent market

Ever since the European Union’s top court ruled in May that individuals have a “right to be forgotten,” Google has been working to abide by the new rules. The company has received over 70,000 takedown requests from individuals who want 250,000 webpages removed from Google’s search results. Google’s team individually reviews each application, and the company plans to hire more employees to handle the extra workload. Changing the way people think about the Internet is an overwhelming task.

But Google is not the only company scrambling in the wake of the E.U.’s decision. As Internet users begin requesting that unsavory parts of their pasts or personal contact information be erased from Google’s search results, so-called reputation management companies are seeing a flood of new business. Traditionally confined to creating new web content about their clients—laudatory blog posts, celebratory articles, swooning social media updates—these companies are now trying to help their clients erase content as well. “Online image management has long been in the business of producing new content so you have a better persona online,” says Cayce Myers, a professor at Virginia Tech and legal research editor for the Institute for Public Relations. “Here they’re doing the reverse.”

Online reputation management is a growing business that is now being boosted by the E.U. ruling. For a fee that can amount to thousands of dollars a month, companies take on clients and scrub clean their search results by creating search engine-optimized content that hog up the first few pages of search results on Google. Clients ranging from CEOs, major corporations, celebrities down to doctors and restaurateurs who use the services to whitewash their online presence. Media consultant BIA/Kelsey forecasts that small and medium-size businesses will spend $3.5 billion managing their online reputations in 2014.

Now, the E.U.’s court ruling has changed the dynamics of the industry, expanding these businesses’ client base and making it easier for them to delete content rather than just create it. “The number of our inbound leads”—new referrals—“has gone up about 50 percent since the beginning of May,” says Simon Wadsworth, managing director of the U.K.-based online reputation management firm Igniyte. The E.U. ruling “has raised awareness of the industry. You can change how you do things online.”

Bertrand Girin, the founder of a France-based reputation management company, Reputation VIP, has created a spin-off service that specifically to designed to help people make “right to be forgotten” requests to Google. Aptly named Forget.Me, it lets users choose from one of 40 boilerplate requests in nine separate categories in order to send Google a pre-formulated request. The service, which is free, allows users to bypass some of the thorny legal questions and the difficulty of properly structuring a request. “When Google put its form online, we looked at the demand from the public and we saw a gap,” says Girin. “We said, ‘let’s help people understand what their problem is.’”

Forget.me has 17,000 registered users who have submitted over 2,500 applications to Google. The boilerplate response responses, which were written by lawyers, can be modified by users to address more specific claims. Girin is promoting the service as one that makes it easy for regular people to be forgotten on the internet. Dealing with Google is a “bureaucratic hassle,” says Myers, the legal research editor for the Institute for Public Relations.”You can technically do it yourself for free, but navigating the bureaucracy is in a state of flux.”

“I can see where it could be cumbersome,” he adds.

The buzz around right to be forgotten has given these companies much-wanted attention. Andy Donaldson, the CEO of the reputation management company Hit Search, has invested heavily in building and marketing a search software that allowed users to monitor their own online personas over multiple platforms. But Donaldson said that since the E.U. ruling, the number of his company’s new client leads has increased by “upwards of three or four hundred.” “We invested in post-graduate doctors in computer science and mathematics to help us build our algorithm,” Donaldson said, “But it ends up being something like this that triggers the market that’s really totally out of our control.”

Donaldson gave an example of how the E.U. ruling has been a boon for business. (He couldn’t disclose the names of his clients.) The CEO of a large U.K.-based company was involved in a dispute during a friendly rugby match with a well-known journalist. The journalist wrote a damning story about the incident, blaming the CEO. The CEO’s wife, having just read about the E.U. ruling, sought out Hit Search to get the story removed from Google’s search results. The request is unlikely to be successful—Google is reticent about removing news stories on public persons—but Donaldson won a client lead.

Google has taken a hard-nosed stance toward many of the requests reputation management firms have made, with the overwhelming number of takedown requests coming back with refusals. Donaldson said he has sent hundreds of requests for his clients to Google; of the requests Google has responded to, under ten percent have been accepted, he says. That’s because Google isn’t likely to take down a search result like a newspaper story about a public figure, for instance, or a negative review about a roofing company.

“People think we’ve got some magic button in Google and we press delete,” says Wadsworth, the CEO of Igniyte. His clients often ask for links to be removed that won’t pass Google’s bar. “We’re telling the majority of people, ‘you’ve got no chance,’” Wadsworth says.

Their success rates aside, the right to be forgotten ruling is going to drive business growth for some time to come. “This is a first step into a general public market. It’s a big market,” said Girin. “I think there’s a real demand here.”

TIME Tech Policy

Why Twitter and the Rest of Silicon Valley Should Disclose Their Diversity Data

Twitter's IPO Spurs Horse Race Among Exchanges Seeking Listing
The Twitter Inc. logo is displayed on a mobile device for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 16, 2013. Twitter Inc., which announced plans last week for an initial public offering, is still deciding whether to list on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq Stock Market, setting off a horse race for the high-profile deal. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg/Getty Images

Twitter has become the largest media platform for minority voices on the planet. Everything from the Trayvon Martin case to the BET Awards has become the equivalent of a front-page headline on the site thanks to the social network’s trending topics, which aggregate the most popular conversations and present them to all Twitter users. Blacks over-index heavily on the site, with 29 percent of black Internet users in the U.S. reporting that they actively use Twitter in a recent Pew Research Center survey, compared to 16 percent of whites and Hispanics. In the same way Twitter owes much of its success to the early adopters who gave the site structure and the celebrities who gave it clout, it can also thank black people for helping it reach critical mass and climb to 255 million monthly active users.

So it’s disappointing that the company is so far resisting a positive trend in Silicon Valley, the disclosure of employee data related to race and gender. Chances are, Twitter’s employee roster looks a lot like its Bay Area competitors—overwhelmingly male and white. That’s not a dirty little secret in the Valley; it’s been the modus operandi for decades. The common race and gender tropes of tech startups are so ingrained that we now have an HBO sitcom to mock how far removed the tech scene is from the way the rest of the world lives.

Most tech firms have spent years resisting past entreaties to cough up demographic data. But the stonewalling ended in May, when Google published a diversity report revealing that the company is about 70 percent male, 61 percent white and 30 percent Asian. That set off a domino effect that led Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook and others to publish similar data. But huge consumer tech companies like Apple, Twitter and Amazon have so kept their own figures to themselves (Apple CEO Tim Cook has said the company will release its data “at some point“). Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson is planning an online petition and a social media campaign Friday to convince Twitter in particular to disclose its employee data. None of the companies mentioned responded to multiple emails from TIME asking whether they planned to release diversity reports in the future.

All of these companies, of course, are free to hire whoever they please. They work in a field so hyper-competitive that Google was once willing to give employees offered jobs by Facebook counteroffers within an hour. But anyone who’s ever held a professional job knows who you know matters as much as what you know, and many people in our so-called melting pot continue to maintain friendships exclusively within their own race. Minorities are at a natural disadvantage trying to crack into a world where no one looks like them.

Meanwhile, software development is one of the fastest-growing job sectors in the U.S., expected to grow by 23% from 2012 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Historically underrepresented minorities are showing a greater interest in the field—20 percent of the students who graduated with a degree in computer and information sciences in 2012 were black or Hispanic, up from 16 percent a decade prior (at Google, by comparison, 5 percent of workers are black or Hispanic and 4 percent are multiracial). Making a commitment to diversity now means that a wider number of people will have access to these well-paying jobs in the future, a result that will help the tech sector remain prosperous and in-tune with cultural shifts as whites continue to decline as a percentage of the overall U.S. population.

Perhaps the companies that have yet to speak up on diversity fear the negative headlines that will come from admitting that their organizations are mostly comprised of white males. But an annual diversity report is a flag in the sand that indicates inclusiveness is important to a company, important enough to stake its reputation on. Diversity in the workforce has proven benefits for business, and it’s a savvy long-term marketing tool to help recruit employees who value diversity in their work life. The public pressure that naturally stems from such transparency will also encourage tech firms to partner with organizations already looking to boost involvement by women and minorities in computer science, such as Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and the national societies for black and Hispanic engineers.

Obviously this is not just an issue that affects Silicon Valley. My own industry has seen a declining percentage of minorities working in newsrooms, and men still outnumber women in journalism jobs nearly two-to-one. We could use some more transparency on these issues as well. All U.S. companies with more than 100 employees are required to send detailed demographic data to a federal agency called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission each year, so there’s no reason they can’t share it publicly. The European Union passed a law in April requiring firms with more than 500 employees to publicly release data related to workforce diversity, environmental sustainability and human rights.

It shouldn’t take a government mandate to introduce transparency, though. Right now the tech giants are uniquely positioned among American businesses to take a leadership role on the issue of diversity in the workplace. Our country’s two most valuable companies, Apple and Google, reside nine miles from each other in Silicon Valley. They and their smaller competitors are constantly crowing about how their disruptive products and progressive worldviews are changing the world for the better. Well, here’s a dead-simple way to help fix the world: take that race and gender data you’re already collecting and let everyone else see it. Public scrutiny of the information will inevitably beget positive change.

MONEY stocks

What the Financial Press Isn’t Telling Us About Google and Other Tech Companies

Google on iPhone 5
Iain Masterton—Alamy

The search engine's ongoing struggles in mobile highlight problems cropping up throughout the tech sector — yet you wouldn't know it by the reactions of investors and the media.

This was an awful week for tech, as many of the sector’s biggest names announced disappointing results that point to slowing growth and troubled strategies.

Yet you wouldn’t know it by how the markets — or the media — reacted this week.

Late Thursday, the search engine giant Google reported the amount of money that advertisers are willing to pay whenever someone clicks on an online ad continues to fall. So-called “average costs per click” for Google fell 6% in the quarter, compared with the same period a year earlier. This continues a trend that’s been going on for some time. In the first quarter, for example, costs per click sank 9%.

There are two explanations for why this is happening and neither is good news for Google. One is that online sites are increasingly being viewed through mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, and mobile ad platforms are not paying the premium that traditional web ads have. The other reason is that Google is no longer the only game in town when it comes to online advertising, and Facebook’s recent efforts to boost its mobile presence are clearly succeeding.

Yet instead, most news accounts focused on the rosier parts of Google’s quarterly results, such as the fact that overall revenues grew 22%.

The same thing happened all week throughout the sector:

* eBay

On Wednesday, the online auction site reported sales that fell short of the Street’s expectations. In fact, on a quarterly basis, revenues have been flat for several quarters. Instead, headlines focused on profits meeting consensus forecasts.

* Yahoo

The portal, which is making a huge push to try to be a big player in online advertising, reported on Tuesday that display ad revenues declined. Yet instead, many publications focused on how Yahoo’s mobile efforts were improving or that the company was going to sell a smaller-than-expected stake in Alibaba, the giant Chinese online retailer and auction site that is expected to go public later this summer.

* Intel

Intel shares hit a decade-high after releasing earnings results on Tuesday that showed better-than-expected PC sales expectations and overall revenue growth. As Reuters reported, chief financial officer Stacy Smith said “PC sales had stabilized, easing fears about the four-year decline in computer sales as consumers turn increasingly to tablets and smartphones.”

Great. That means the dying part of the industry is dying a little less rapidly than was previously thought. Meanwhile, investors glossed over the fact that revenues for the mobile and communications chip group sales were down 67% compared with the prior quarter and off 83% versus last year.

* Microsoft

The company announced the biggest layoffs in its history on Thursday, cutting its workforce by 18,000 — many of those coming from its recently acquired Nokia division. As MONEY’s Ian Salisbury reported, the historic cuts show how far this once-dominant tech company has fallen as it struggles to find its place in the sector. Yet many sites looked at the situation as glass-half-full, noting how the stock was rising on news that Microsoft was retrenching.

Of course, that’s what happens when investors fall in love with a particular group of stocks that have collectively posted a better-than-expected run. They start viewing those shares through rose-colored glasses.

TIME Internet

Today’s Google Doodle Is a Beautiful Tribute to Nelson Mandela

On what would have been his 96th birthday

Seven months after Nelson Mandela’s death, Google is paying tribute to the iconic leader with an interactive illustration. It traces Mandela’s legacy through six of his most memorable and influential quotes paired with corresponding drawings.

“Something that stood out to me about Nelson Mandela was his eloquent way with words,” the doodle’s designer, Katy Wu, writes in a blog post. “I thought his words gave a great insight into the kind of man he was, so I wanted to focus the creative direction of the doodle on his quotes against a backdrop of the history of South Africa.”

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Be sure to check out the rest of the doodle on Google’s homepage today.

MORE: The Indispensable Man: Nelson Mandela (1918–2013)

MORE: A Final Farewell to Madiba

PHOTOS: Mourning Madiba: South Africans Say Goodbye to Nelson Mandela

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