Google Santa Tracker is live, counting down the days until Christmas with holiday games & resources

Google has launched its annual Santa Tracker to count down the days until Christmas, serving up holiday games and educational resources.
This year’s offerings include coding games to make a dancing elf and one to create original artwork. There is also an elf filter available via a “Santa Snap” game on the Android app: “You can fly your jetpack-ed elf around the globe in Google Maps and take ‘elfies’ with famous world landmarks.”
Google’s Santa Tracker is available for Android, iOS and Chrome. Same as last year, there is an Advent-style calendar on the Santa Tracker home page that will continue to publish new holiday games and information between now and December 24.
So far, Google’s Advent calendar has offered a link to its Santa Tracker Android app, a code instruction game for building a snowflake, holiday translations and a link to the following “Day at the Museum” video:

Starting December 24, Google says the Google Assistant will be able to

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Gertrude Jekyll Google doodle marks 174th birthday of the famous British horticulturist

Today’s Google doodle is a callout to British horticulturist and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.
Google says that Jekyll was born on this date 174 years ago in London and spent most of her life in Surrey, England, planting enchanting gardens.
“As a student, she took inspiration from the landscapes of English Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner, capturing the seasons, the light, the textures, and the hues of every growing thing on her canvases,” writes the Google doodle team on the doodle blog, “Jekyll brought that painterly sensibility to her life’s work, designing about 400 gardens in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the US.”
Leading to a search for “Gertrude Jekyll,” the doodle was designed by British artist Ben Lewis Giles. If you look closely at the image, you’ll notice Jekyll standing on the left, watching her garden grow.

Google also shared four of Giles’ preliminary artworks that led to today’s final design:

The doodle is currently posted on Google’s home page in the

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Thanksgiving Google doodle turkey pardons itself & takes leave from any dinner traditions

Today’s Thanksgiving Google doodle is an animated image of a turkey taking leave for the holidays.
“Unlike his domesticated brethren, the Turkey in today’s Doodle is taking flight…from the Thanksgiving table,” writes Google on the Google Doodle blog.
Google offered a quick bit of history around Thanksgiving, noting how the first meal 369 years ago was a feast celebrated between the Pilgrims and the Native American tribe of Wampanoag — and how Abe Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
It also referenced the presidential tradition of pardoning turkeys for the last 28 years: “Though the pardoning of turkeys has been a presidential privilege since 1989, the Turkey in this Doodle has decided to pardon itself.”
According to www.WhiteHouseHistory.org, the first president to pardon a turkey was George H.W. Bush.
Here’s the fully animated image of today’s Google doodle that leads to a search for “Thanksgiving“:

Search Engine Land wishes all its readers a happy Thanksgiving filled with love

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Pedro Infante Google doodle marks 100th birthday of iconic Mexican singer & actor

Today’s Google doodle pays homage to the iconic Mexican singer and actor, Pedro Infante.
Born in Mazatlán, Mexico, Infante began playing music as part of his father’s band when he was a teenager.
“Infante experimented with the style that made him most famous,” writes Google on the Google Doodle blog, “Mixing feeling with technique, his soulful croon forever changed the way the mariachi was sung and he helped popularize the genre around the world.”
In addition to being a famed musician, Infante was also a film star, starring in nearly 60 films during the golden era of Mexican cinema. Some of his more well-known roles included “La Feria de las Flores,” “A Toda Máquina,” and “Pepe El Toro.”
Infante died in April of 1957, six months before his 40th birthday. That same year, he was posthumously given a Silver Bear Best Actor award at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival for his role in the movie “Tizoc.”
Today’s doodle

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Chinua Achebe Google doodle celebrates Nigerian writer & author of ‘Things Fall Apart’

Today’s Google doodle marks what would have been the 87th birthday of the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe.
Best known for his novel “Things Fall Apart,” Achebe began writing during the 1950s, building his stories around the culture and traditions of Nigeria’s Igbo people. He is the author of five novels, four children’s books and several collections of poetry, short stories, essays and non-fiction.
“His characters were insiders — everyday people such as the village chief (in “Things Fall Apart”), the priest (in “Arrow of God”), or the school teacher (in “A Man of the People”),” writes the Google doodle team, “Through their stories, we witness a Nigeria at the crossroads of civilization, culture, and generations.”
As Google notes, Achebe is recognized by many as the father of modern African literature, and was awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2007. During his career, he received a number of literary awards and earned more than 30 honorary degrees from universities across the

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Hole punch history Google doodle celebrates 131-year-old product of German engineering

Marking the 131st anniversary of the hole punch tool, today’s Google doodle is a salute to German engineering, says the doodle team on the Google Doodle blog post.
“Today we celebrate 131 years of the hole puncher, an understated — but essential — artifact of German engineering.”
Leading to a search for “hole punch history,” the doodle was designed by doodler Gerben Steenks.
Here’s the fully animated doodle that resides on Google’s US home page, along with a number of its other international home pages.

From today’s write-up on Google’s Doodle blog, it sounds like someone on the Doodle team has a clear fascination with the tool:
The series of crisp, identical holes it produces, creating a calming sense of unity among an otherwise unbound pile of loose leaf. And finally, the delightful surprise of the colorful confetti byproduct — an accidental collection of colorful, circular leftovers.
Google notes that as workplaces go further into the digital frontier, the hole-puncher has remained mostly

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Veterans Day Google doodle designed in collaboration with Google’s Veteran employee network

Today’s Google doodle celebrating Veterans Day was designed in partnership with VetNet, a Google employee network made up of Veterans and family members and friends of Veterans.
Leading to search results for “Veterans Day,” the doodle highlights the Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy, and Army by featuring silhouettes of service members donning the uniforms associated with each branch of the military.
From the Google Doodle Blog:
In 1954, President Eisenhower changed Armistice Day — a holiday honoring WWI veterans — to Veterans Day, a day to honor all American Veterans. The day, which celebrates living U.S. Veterans as opposed to Memorial Day which honors Veterans who have passed, marks a special time of reflection, gratitude, and remembrance.
Google’s blog post featuring today’s doodle also point readers to a number of Veteran resources, including Google’s Arts and Culture Veterans Day page, information about a “Grow with Google” grant recently awarded to Student Veterans of America, and the following YouTube video honoring

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Labor Day Google doodle inspired by art created during The Great Depression

Google has traded out its usual logo with a doodle to mark the Labor Day holiday.
The Google doodlers behind today’s doodle took their lead from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals produced during the 1930s. Created in 1935, the historic WPA  was a federal program providing economic relief for US citizens suffering during the Great Depression.
According to WPAMurals.com, WPA founded The Federal Art Project under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in an attempt to employ artists during The Great Depression. The WPA Murals website says The Federal Art Project created more than 5,000 jobs for artists that resulted in over 225,000 works of public art.
To mark the holiday, the Google Doodle Blog notes, while Labor Day is a welcome day off for many, the holiday has deeper roots than barbecues, parades and picnics:
“After a worker strike in the 19th century, Labor Day was created to honor workers and give them a day of rest. It became a federal

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Google’s Great American Eclipse 2017 doodle offers fun facts about today’s big event

For the first time in nearly a century, the United States will have front row seats to a total solar eclipse today as the moon passes between the sun and the earth.
To mark the occasion, Google has traded out the logo on its home page with an animated doodle that leads to a search for “solar eclipse science” and launches a quick list of eclipse facts on both mobile and desktop.
According to Google’s “Great American Eclipse 2017” doodle blog post, more than 7 million people will travel to the “path of totality” — the path created by the moon’s shadow on the Earth during a solar eclipse — as it stretches across the United States.
“It’s been 99 years since an total eclipse crossed the width the United States. This year, the 65-mile wide path of totality will sweep, sash-like, across the country, entering the map at Oregon and exiting at South Carolina.”
Map credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
In

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Report: Customer satisfaction with search drops, in social Google+ beats Facebook

Earlier this week the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) released its “e-business” report. The category includes search, social media and news and information sites. Social media held steady, while the search and online news sectors declined vs. last year.
In the aggregate “search engines” dropped in customer satisfaction by 1.3 points. Microsoft properties (MSN, Bing) suffered the largest declines vs. 2016 of 4 and 3 points respectively. Google was off two points compared to last year.

The best score Google has received, since measurement began in 2002, is 86 (out of 100). The first year ACSI measured Google satisfaction it received a score of 80.
Social media as a category was stable; however there was movement among the individual players. Surprisingly, Google+ captured the highest satisfaction level of the group, with 81 points. The report attributes this to its redesign and the addition of new features.
Pinterest gained two points to capture the second highest score (78). Twitter, however, was the

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