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Thanksgiving means gearing up for a turkey feast, Thanksgiving Day parades, local Turkey Trots and annual football showdowns. It also means braving some of the worst holiday traffic conditions of the year.

You’ve got enough on your plate this Thanksgiving without having to worry about traffic, too. So, Google Maps looked at Thanksgiving traffic conditions over the last two years for 21 cities across the U.S.1 to find the most useful information to make your holiday trip a little easier.

Whether you’re traveling near or far, Google Maps’ traffic tips will help you navigate the roads like a pro, so you’ll be feasting on Turkey Day delights with friends and family in no time. Here are seven tips in pictures to guide you through the holiday:

1. Avoid traveling on Wednesday:

2. But if you must leave on Wednesday:

3. Good news for local travelers—Thanksgiving Day traffic is a breeze:

4. Travel back home on Sunday, not Saturday:

5. Expect to spend more time in traffic than average if you live in these three cities: Philadelphia, Austin and Washington, D.C. saw the three biggest increases in traffic during Thanksgiving week.

6. Get these three items ahead of time: Last-minute runs to the corner store can be unavoidable as you prep for the big day, but not all last minute trips are created equal.

7. Leave extra time for Christmas shopping:
Your biggest worry this Thanksgiving should be whether to go for the cranberry sauce or gravy. And with these traffic tips in hand, plus real-time traffic info provided by Google Maps on Android or iOS, you’ll be spending less time in traffic and more time with the people you care about this Thanksgiving. Now that’s something to be thankful for!





1 Google Maps looked at 21 cities across the U.S. from the Monday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Thanksgiving for both 2012 & 2013: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, D.C.

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Taylor, Kim, Kobe—this trio of familiar faces was all over search this week.

Oh my God, look at that face
She may not have broken the Internet, but Kim Kardashian certainly got our collective attention this week with her saucy Paper magazine cover shoot showing off her famous derriere. Millions of searches, memes and (unsuccessful) imitators were not far, um, behind. Even Kim, however, had some company in the trending ranks from Taylor Swift, who has come close to breaking the Internet a few times herself. This week, Swift released a new video (and app) for her song “Blank Space,” putting a new spin on the “boy-crazy” meme and garnering more than 25 million YouTube views—that’s more than 10 times as many as last week’s viral video sensation “Too Many Cooks.”

Sky high
Ten years after leaving Earth, on Wednesday the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission achieved history. It successfully landed its Philae probe on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and began sending pictures of the surface back to scientists. People turned to search to learn more, including “what is next for the probe?” It’s a good question, since the probe bounced twice before settling into a position about 1km off its target, and may not be able to get enough battery life from its solar panels to continue operating as intended.

Our doodle celebrated the Philae landing on Wednesday

And all eyes were on the New York skyline this week—or at least on 1 World Trade Center, where a pair of window washers were trapped 69 stories high on the side of the building for over an hour on Wednesday before being rescued. The 1,776-foot tall skyscraper had just opened for business last week, more than a decade after the September 11 attacks.

Numbers game
Kobe Bryant set a new record on Tuesday night, but he might wish he hadn’t. The shooting guard missed his 13,418th career field goal in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, earning him the dubious honor of the most missed field goals in the NBA. Of course, Bryant also has the fourth-most points in league history—and five championship rings. So, he’s probably doing OK.

Tip of the week
For those times you’ve gotten an email about something (say, “dinner with Shari” or “brunch with Aaron”) but forgotten to follow up, Google can help. Keep an eye on your Google app, which can now catch buried plans in your Gmail, prompt you to add them to your calendar, and remind you to stay in touch.

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My father was a Tuskegee Airman, one of the first African-American military aviators in the U.S. military. He got his wings in 1944 and stayed in the Army for 30 years. When I think of him—and all the other veterans I grew up knowing—I’m reminded of the unique characteristics they shared: their innate courage, sense of purpose, and their ability to lead under pressure. Most remarkable to me, though, is their belief in the power of sacrificing and fighting for something bigger than yourself.

For everyone who has served our country, I join 1,000+ members of the Google Veterans Network in celebrating Veterans Day today. And I am incredibly proud of what Google has done to honor veterans, including two initiatives new this year.

Veterans make great Googlers
We hire leaders, team builders and problem solvers and many veterans are already doing amazing things at the company. But we also know that not all veterans have the same skills and interests; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and it can be hard to understand how you might fit into a corporate environment. So we’ve created a new Veterans Careers website to help servicemembers and veterans find the right role to apply for at Google. The site breaks down some of the ways our own veterans are succeeding in both technical and general roles. In their own words, they explain how their skills translated and how they are continuing to serve through their work at Google.

And for those who have other career goals in mind, we’ve included a few resources—like mentoring programs and virtual classes—to help veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.

Sharing veterans’ stories
In addition to making Google a great place to work for veterans, we want to use our technology to build greater awareness and understanding of their achievements and sacrifices. Last Friday, the 9/11 Memorial opened a new exhibit that explores the immediate and heroic actions of U.S. servicemembers, alongside those of the emergency workers who responded on and after September 11, 2001. “The Call to Serve,” an interactive installation powered by Google Tour Builder, follows the stories of nine veterans and military personnel to honor their service and that of all who followed in their footsteps. You can visit the exhibit in person at the 9/11 Museum during Veterans Week or online at 911memorial.org/calltoserve.

This effort also builds on other historical preservation projects we announced earlier this year, including bringing Arlington National Cemetery, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and The Eternal Flame, to Street View; and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the landings at Normandy in partnership with museums and archives in the U.S., U.K. and France.

We’re proud to pay tribute to veterans’ service and and to support them in their careers. Veterans have unique skills and experience, and arrive with a devotion to teamwork that goes a long way around here. They’re among our greatest assets, both as a company and as a nation. And after all they’ve given us, we need to give them every opportunity to succeed.

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Cross-posted on the Google for Education blog

Students and schools have done some amazing things with Chromebooks since we first launched in 2011. At the Urban Promise Academy in Oakland, Calif., students are using the Scratch program to create their own video games on Chromebooks. In Chesterfield County, Virginia, students get access to feedback and support from teachers after school hours using their Chromebooks. And in Fairfield County, South Carolina, schools saw double-digit gains on their state performance tests after they started to offer Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education and other technologies to their students, who often don’t have Internet access at home.
A student at Urban Promise Academy uses a Chromebook to design video games

Schools tell us that Chromebooks fill three big needs: they’re easy for students and teachers to use, they’re easy to share, and they’re easy to manage. That’s critical for schools that often want to give their students the best technology, but don’t have a large IT department to support it. And it’s part of what has made Chromebooks such a hit in schools. In fact, according to IDC’s latest report on tablets and laptops in K-12 education, Chromebooks are the best-selling device in the U.S. this year. And they’re continuing to grow in popularity—in districts like Montgomery County, MD (more than 50,000 devices), Charlotte-Mecklenberg, NC (32,000 devices) and Cherry Creek, CO (26,000 devices), who have all begun using Chromebooks in 2014.

Beyond the U.S., countries are looking at how they can use technology in the classroom on a large scale—like in Malaysia, where the entire national school system is using Chromebooks. This week, we’re hosting the Global Education Symposium, a gathering of education ministers from 18 countries working to implement technology that will help them meet their country’s educational agenda. We’ll hear from education leaders who are exploring new educational models, and look at how innovative local schools are using technology to help teachers and students excel.

It’s been thrilling to see how Chromebooks—alongside Android tablets, Google Play for Education, Classroom and Google Apps for Education, which is now used by 40 million students and teachers around the world—can help students meet their learning goals. We can’t wait to see what’s ahead as more students around the world gain access to new learning opportunities through technology.

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Today, Google is launching a public giving campaign to fight Ebola. For every dollar you give, Google will donate two dollars. In addition, we’re donating $10 million right away to support nonprofits such as InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and U.S. Fund for UNICEF. These organizations are doing remarkable work in very difficult circumstances to help contain this outbreak, and we hope our contribution will help them have an even greater impact.

Separately, our family foundation will also be giving $15 million. Our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been touched by this tragedy.

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I was seven years old when thousands of East German signature cars arrived in my hometown of Hamburg and filled the air with odd-smelling blue smoke. I saw strangers hugging each other, tears in their eyes, their voices tired from singing. I was too young to understand it all, but I had a very strong sense that life was different now--and that different was better.

A quarter-century later, it is our obligation to tell this story to all those who couldn't be there, who could not feel the spark of the peaceful revolution and, more importantly, who are fortunate enough not to know the feeling of an incarcerated, divided existence, trapped behind concrete walls.  It is a story that demands to be told today, and for generations to come.   



I’m excited to have been part of making this doodle commemorating such a pivotal moment in history — to learn more about the making-of, check out the doodle team’s post here.  We should all take the time to celebrate 25 years of unity.

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“Who won Pennsylvania?” “Who’s that guy?” “He’s getting married?” These are just a few of the questions that wracked people’s brains on search this week. Read on to find out what everybody wanted to know.

The call of duty
As Americans went to the polls this past Tuesday, the Internet was abuzz with politics—left and right. Searchers turned to the web for the election night play-by-play, trying to get the latest figures on who won hotly contested states like Florida and Colorado. The results? A nearly full sweep by Republicans as they won control of the Senate and expanded their majority in the House.

Even though Americans remain politically divided, they can still rally together to support our troops. As Veteran’s Day approaches, peopled searched for ways they could celebrate the holiday and show support for those who served in the armed forces. (Hint: our homepage loves soldiers too!)

I'm a little bit country
The Country Music Awards had everyone talking this week. Nashville power couple Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert took home five awards between them, and Lambert scored her first trophy for “Single of the Year” for her song "Automatic." And first-time winner Luke Bryan landed the night’s top honor for “Entertainer of the Year”—not a bad way to start.
YOOOOOOOOOO
One night, a boy named Alex went to sleep. The next morning he woke up famous...and we’re talking screaming-tween-girls, One Direction-famous. Was this a dream come true or a scene from a bizarre Kafka novel? Well, with more than a million tweets, #AlexfromTarget has this photo and the Internet to thank for his newly acquired stardom. As the story goes, an admirer watched Alex bag her groceries, fell under the spell of his boyish good looks and just had to share a photo with her 14,000 followers. The photo spread like a wildfire and next thing you know our red- and khaki-clad Alex is trading jokes with Ellen Degeneres on her show. We’re eagerly awaiting Alex’s entrance to the teeny bopper hall of fame.

And the fangirl news just keeps coming. People this week went bananas as actor and heartthrob Benedict Cumberbatch announced his engagement to little-known theater director Sophie Hunter. Searchers were asking questions like “Who is this girl?” and “Why not me?” Sorry, friends, but this mystery has been solved.

This one’s for the bold
It was a week for the bold and the brave as the Internet reacted to inspiring news stories. Brittany Maynard, a young woman diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, ended her life on November 1. After doctors told her she only had six months to live, Maynard and her family moved to Oregon in order to have access to the state’s Death with Dignity Act. Her decision garnered national media attention and stirred the debate over the “right to die.”

And American acrobat and tight-rope specialist Nik Wallenda made headlines as he performed a high-wire walk across the Chicago skyline. Wallenda walked between three skyscrapers without a harness or safety net and conducted one of the walks blindfolded—and it was all broadcast live. His stunt left viewers in shock and minted Wallenda two new world records.

Tip of the week
Feeling a bit homesick? Whenever you’re in need for a little motherly love, just tell the Google app to “Call Mom” (you set who that is). Except for mom’s home cooking, it’s almost like you’re there.

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Tomorrow is Election Day in the U.S.—are you ready to vote?

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, more and more voters turn to Google to get the information they need in order to have a say on the issues they care about. And in the days before Election Day 2012, we saw a huge spike in search traffic around terms related to voting and how to vote. To make it easier for citizens to access information to make a well-informed decision and cast their ballots on Election Day, we’ve built a number of tools to help. From Governor and Senate to City Council and local referenda, and from what materials you need to bring to vote to making sure you know who is on your ballot, Google has you covered.

Make sure you know how and where to vote—and who’s on your ballot!
For the first time ever, simple searches for [how do i vote], [where to vote], [what identification do i need to vote] and [who is on my ballot] will give you all the information you need—tailored by state—to find your polling location, confirm what identification you need to bring, and see who and what is going to be on your ballot on November 4. If you use Google Now, you can also get reminders on where to vote on Election Day.
We also make this important data available for developers, nonprofits, and others to use. From Rock the Vote to League of Women Voters, organizations of all shapes and sizes are using the Google Civic Information API to create civic engagement tools for everyone. We’ve also partnered with The Pew Charitable Trusts and The Internet Association to launch Get to the Polls, a get out the vote campaign with Amazon Web Services, AOL, Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, Lyft, Meetup, reddit, SurveyMonkey, Tumblr, and Twitter to make sure registered voters in the United States have the information they need to vote on November 4.

Keep your fingers on the political pulse—and find out who won
People turn to search to find last-minute information not only about where to vote, but also about the candidates. To find out what your fellow voters are interested in, visit Google.com/+GooglePolitics to see data from Google Trends on what Americans are searching in the final hours of the election.
And after the polls close tomorrow, you can track all the real-time election results by searching [election results]. If you use Google Now, you’ll get updates on your new representatives straight from the app. Or tune in to the latest live news coverage from a wide range of news organizations at YouTube.com/Elections. While you’re there, check out this special video from some of YouTube’s top creators on the importance of heading to the polls.

Be informed, be prepared, and be ready to vote tomorrow!

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Grab some candy corn and a caramel apple and settle in for a look back at another week in search trends:

Time for trick or treating
With today’s Halloween holiday, people are turning to the web to look for
last-minute costumes and pumpkin-carving tips. Top costume searches include Elsa from Frozen, Anna from Frozen, Olaf from Frozen (people can’t just let it go, can they?) and Maleficent. Whether you’re trick-or-treating or not, get the most out of the twilight hours tonight—Daylight Saving Time comes to an end on Sunday, which means it will be getting darker earlier. At least you get some extra sleep out of the deal.

Sports endings and beginnings
The World Series came to a thrilling conclusion on Wednesday night with Game 7 in Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, as the San Francisco Giants took home their third victory in just five (even) years. The star of the night—and the series—was undoubtedly Madison Bumgarner, the Giants’ 25-year-old ace starting pitcher who came into the game in relief in the fifth inning and more than earned both the save and his MVP trophy, capping off a postseason performance for the history books. He was the top topic in search Wednesday, with more than 1 million searches. Fellow teammates Buster Posey and “Panda” Pablo Sandoval were also on the list.
As baseball fans put their caps and gloves in storage and look longingly at the calendar for March (pitchers and catchers report in 114 days!), fans of the NBA are just getting going. Basketball season started this week and the web was full of searches for the Cleveland Cavaliers (who are welcoming hometown hero Lebron James back to the fold), Miami Heat (the team LeBron left behind) and Chicago Bulls.

Trouble in the skies
There was a spike in searches around NASA when an unmanned rocket erupted into flames seconds after liftoff on Tuesday. The spacecraft and its cargo were lost, and the launch pad suffered heavy damage. Also this week, there was a breakthrough in the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s final flight. A piece of debris located on a tiny island has been identified as a piece of her lost plane.

Movie marvels
Marvel this week revealed a lineup of nine new movies to be released over the coming years, along with some casting details. Alongside familiar faces like Captain America and Iron Man, we’ll soon see a film about the Black Panther, who will be played by Chadwick Boseman. Marvel also revealed that Sherlock star (and Internet fave) Benedict Cumberbatch will play Doctor Strange in the 2016 movie.

Tip of the week
Don’t get caught off-guard by the changing of the clocks. With the Google app, you can set a reminder to reset the clocks on your microwave, in your car and on your wall as soon as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end on Sunday. Just open the app and say “Ok Google, remind me to change the clocks on Sunday.” Now relax and enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

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So what’s the word on the (internet) street these days? Search trends has you covered with the latest news that had everyone talking this past week.

The hard goodbye
This week, searchers paid their respects to legendary clothing designer Oscar de La Renta, who he passed away on Monday at the age of 82. Once called “The Sultan of Suave,” De la Renta was known for evening gowns that regularly graced the red carpets of Hollywood–and the closets of the White House. From Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama, de la Renta dressed every First Lady since the 1960s.

Speaking of Washington bigwigs, we also said goodbye to Ben Bradlee, storied editor of The Washington Post. Bradlee is remembered for his courageous journalism; during his tenure as editor of the Post, the outlet published the “Pentagon Papers” and reported on the Watergate Scandal. Always chasing a good story, Bradlee coined the term “mego” (“my eyes glaze over”) for any reporting that bored him—unknowingly foreshadowing Internet-speak.

Is that you Betty Sue?
Back from a long career hiatus, Renee Zellweger stepped back into the spotlight in L.A. and came out with a bang—or shall we say, a new look. People were shocked to see Zellweger… looking a bit different from what they remember. The star’s reemergence caused a spike in searches for her hit movie Bridget Jones’s Diary (that was her, right? ) But Zellweger is taking the stares and comments in stride, stating she’s happy that she looks different because she’s living a happier and more fulfilling life—no shame in your game, Renee–whatever makes you feel complete.

Gone in sixty seconds
If you blinked, you already missed this trend. Toys “R” Us decided to pull a line of Breaking Bad action figures after an online petition asking the store to stop selling the toys received more than 9,000 signatures. So what was all the hoopla about? Susan Schrivjer, the Florida mom who started the petition, felt the dolls–which came with a plastic sack of cash and mock drugs—deviated from the company’s family values. Toys “R” Us agreed and put the figures on an “indefinite sabbatical”–Walter White-style.

Crime and Punishment
It was a week of crime on the trends charts as people were searching for more information about a gunman who shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a soldier of the Canadian army, at Ottawa's National War Memorial. This was the latest assault on a member of the Canadian armed forces in recent times and has stirred debate about extremism in the West.

...As the Black Eyed Peas would say
With the World Series underway, people were ready to scream and shout for their favorite team. Searches for the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals hit a high as the two teams began their battle for The Commissioner's Trophy. And that’s not the only party going on these days. Diwali, a Hindu holiday also known as the “Festival of Lights,” started this past Tuesday. The celebrations will continue until this Saturday—so you still have time to check out photos of the stunning light displays around the world.

Tip of the week
First there was Angry Birds, then there was Candy Crush, which was swiftly followed by Flappy Bird–it’s kind of hard to stay on top of the latest video game trends. Now when you search for video games on Google, a panel will appear with all the info you need to stay in the know.