6/11/2010

Blazing the online safety trail


When I was in middle school, computer class was spent learning the basics of “keyboarding” and rushing to finish the lesson so I could get back to my journey on the Oregon Trail. My main goal was to survive the river crossings, maintain enough buffalo meat to sustain my family and arrive safely in California with my entire fake family still alive.

Today, many schools are teaching their first graders the basic computer skills I was learning at 13. Teens have always been the quickest adopters of new technology, as parents and teachers struggle to keep up and equip teens to make good decisions online.

When I visited Dunne Technology Academy in South Chicago earlier this week, most of the students were getting ready for their summer break, but we paused for a bit to talk about what they’re doing online. The majority of these tech-savvy teens had all encountered cyberbullying at some point, had seen pictures and information on profiles they thought were inappropriate, and had had someone try to trick them through a phishing scam.

We spent the day discussing ways to avoid being scammed, how to create an online profile that can be an asset rather than a liability, and actions you can take if you’re being bullied, harassed or see inappropriate content. Most students seemed to understand that their online identity and their “real world” self were one and the same, and that they have choices in managing their content and reputation online. We agreed that by applying the rules of good citizenship online, the Internet would be a safer and more enjoyable experience for everyone.

So while teens have more difficult choices online today than to ford or to ferry the river in Oregon Trail, we can prepare them to make smart decisions online. Check out the educational materials from our Digital Literacy Tour in our Google For Educators site at www.google.com/educators/digitalliteracy.html.







FIFA.com and Google team up to help fans celebrate the 2010 FIFA World Cup™


The 2010 FIFA World Cup has kicked off in South Africa. During the month-long tournament, millions of fans around the world will follow the games.



To mark the event, FIFA.com, the world’s official football website, and Google have collaborated on a range of online features to help supporters keep track of how each team is doing throughout the tournament. Whether you’re searching for FIFA World Cup news or want to voice your opinion on a player’s performance, we have a number of ways for fans to stay on top of the action:



Follow your team while browsing the Internet: stay up-to-date when you’re online with the FIFA.com Chrome extension. Get a live feed of FIFA World Cup results, news and match statistics and if you’re supporting a particular team, personalise the gadget for alerts of goals scored by your team as they happen.



See the latest scores and schedules in search results: search for [world cup], [world cup spain], [world cup group g] and more, and you’ll see live scores, latest results and match schedules at the top of your search results. You’ll find quick links to game recaps, live updates, standings and team profiles on FIFA.com.



Follow the tournament on your personalised home page: get all the latest information on FIFA World Cup teams, players and matches streamed to your very own home page with the iGoogle Gadget. If you want to know more about where all the action is happening, click on the ‘venues’ tab to take a closer look at the stadiums.



Get a feel for what it’s like to be there: FIFA.com and South African Tourism have used Google Maps to add information about the host cities, stadiums and attractions, giving people easy access to these sights with Street View and 3D views: maps.google.com/exploresouthafrica



You can get access to all of these features from FIFA.com and Google by visiting google.com/worldcup



Good luck to all, and may the best team win!








Kicking around search trends for the World Cup


If you’re a certain type of sports fan, you’ve been waiting four years to get to June 11, 2010—the kick-off of the World Cup and 30 days of football (soccer to some of us) madness, with 64 matches played by 32 teams from around the world.

As we’ve done before, we took a look at the search data using tools like Google Insights for Search—as well as some internal resources—to see what we could uncover about the upcoming tournament and its global audience. Search patterns can truly reflect the “pulse” of the world, and we found that the pulse of World Cup fever is beating strong as millions of fans hold tight to the hope that their team will make history as the 2010 champion.

It’s often said that football is a global sport, and that’s certainly true in search. Searches for [world cup 2010], [copa mundial] and [월드 컵] are all spiking, although overall World Cup buzz seems to be off to a slower start in 2010 than in the months leading up to the 2006 tournament, based on global trends for queries like [world cup] and [fifa world cup]. India is the #1 country searching for [fifa world cup schedule], [fifa 2010 schedule] and similar queries. And as the match-up between anglophone rivals England and USA approaches, searches for [england world cup] continue to far surpass interest in [usa world cup].

Most of us will be watching the matches on TV in pubs and living rooms, but a few lucky spectators will get to watch in person in South Africa. Searches for [world cup tickets] peaked in mid-April, and have since declined. But whether home or abroad, we’re all searching for the best way to show support for our team. Searches for [world cup decoration] have risen, and a glimpse at the Dutch shows queries for [oranje versiering] (“orange decoration”; orange is the Netherland’s national color) and [orange] have risen sharply for the last three months, as they have in 2006 and 2008 for the World Cup and European Cup.

All eyes—and hopes—are now hanging on the football stars who will be dribbling, passing and scoring for their countries. In search, the winning player is already clear: Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese team captain and talented forward.