Editor's Note: This blog is cross-posted from the official Chrome Blog

In time for the epic conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy we’ve updated the Chrome Experiment, “A Journey Through Middle-earth.” Whether you’re a hobbit, wizard or dwarf (oh yeah, humans too) you can now relive all of the epic Middle-earth adventures, from Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to Bilbo’s final battle in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in theaters December 17th. This year's Chrome Experiment was developed by North Kingdom in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).

Your adventure starts on a beautiful, interactive map of Middle-earth where you can explore all 27 locations from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies. This year’s map is rich with 3D animations highlighting the paths of eight key characters, including Bilbo, Gandalf and Bard.

Completely new for this year’s version is a peer-to-peer battle game where you can challenge your friends to a test of skill. The peer-to-peer gameplay experience was built primarily using the latest web technologies, including WebRTC and WebGL. It’s touch optimized for laptops, phones and tablets, bringing you a stunning interactive experience across all your devices.

Just go to on your laptop, phone or tablet to check out the latest Chrome Experiment, “A Journey through Middle-earth.” And for those of you who are more interested in geeking out about web development than exploring Middle-earth, check out our technical case study on

This holiday season, shoppers will be savvier, more informed, and more connected than ever before. That’s because three quarters of Canadians say they will be doing online research before buying holiday gifts this year.

But nearly two thirds of small and independent retailers in Canada don’t have an online presence.

An online presence helps shoppers find your small business whether they're down the street, across Canada, or around the world. At the same time, more than half of small business owners tell us that it is more difficult to be a small business today compared to 10 years ago.

  • More than a third of SMB owners say that the way customers shop has changed
  • More than a quarter say that customers are doing more research before coming into stores
  • One in four feel that its harder to reach customers today

That’s the inspiration behind Retail Spark, a new initiative that we’ve launched with Retail Council of Canada and Shopify, to help small and independent retailers connect with new customers and grow their business during the crucial holiday season and beyond.

The response from the small business community has been tremendous - we’ve connected with more than 600 small business owners at events in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and thousands more online.

We heard from retail industry leaders - big and small - who shared how their businesses have prospered on the web. Event attendees learned how to have their stores found on Search and Maps, as well as how they can promote their businesses online. Small businesses also met with gurus from Shopify, who shared how to set up an eCommerce shop and start selling online.
Getting online can make a big difference for small businesses. Retailers that are interested in learning more about the digital tools available to them can download a free Digital Starter Kit. Success stories and videos from the events are also available at

Thank you to the small and independent retailers everywhere that joined us on the road. See you on the web!

Posted by Jenn Kaiser, Communications, Google Canada

You didn’t just watch All About That Bass 200+ million times on YouTube. You watched Meghan Trainor perform it live for the first time ever and later with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots. You used the song in tens of thousands of your videos, like covering it with an upright bass. Your views helped put the song at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for weeks. And that’s all just for one song.

You've watched, shared, remixed, invented, parodied and whatevered your favorite songs, making YouTube the ultimate place for artists and fans to connect. To celebrate all that music and unlock new ways to enjoy, we’re making it easier to find new music on YouTube and rock out to old favourites.

A new home just for music

Starting today, you’ll see a new home just for music on your YouTube app for Android, iOS and on that shows your favorite music videos, recommended music playlists based on what you’re into and playlists of trending music across YouTube. You can find a playlist to perfectly fit your mood, whether that’s a morning motivators playlist or Boyce Avenue YouTube Mix. Check out the newest songs from channels you subscribe to, like FKA twigs or Childish Gambino. Or quickly find the songs you’ve been playing over and over and over again.

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Editor's Note: Cross posted from the official Chrome Blog

Over the past year Chromecast has added hundreds of your favorite apps, and brought anything on the web to the TV via Android mirroring and Chrome tab casting. Just in time for the holidays, we’re adding even more apps to the list. So whether you’re looking forward to a quiet evening watching your favorite holiday heartwarmer or a rousing game night with the gang, there’s something for everyone.

Family-friendly games for Chromecast Chromecast uses your phone or tablet as the controller and your TV screen like a game or score board to let you play classic games like Wheel of Fortune or Hasbro’s Monopoly Dash, Scrabble Blitz, Connect Four Quads and Simon Swipe on your big screen.

If you prefer to dance around, check out Just Dance Now. Your smartphone can tell if you’re fist pumping high or shaking your hands down low, which earns you points. To show off your mental moves instead, Big Web Quiz and Emoji Party for Chromecast bring trivia to the TV. Astound your friends with your answers to questions like: How many goats tall is Taylor Swift? What does 'Queen of Hearts' look like in emoji? Big Web Quiz uses Google Knowledge Graph to create hundreds of questions, while Emoji Party uses your knowledge of emojis to guess movie titles based on the pictures.

There's no hassle or expense with extra controllers. Anyone with a phone or tablet can join in on any of these games, so download these apps from the Play Store or App Store so all your family and friends can shake it, show off their smarts or just play.

Easily explore and discover new things to cast To make it easier for you to navigate through the many great apps available with Chromecast and find exactly what you’d like to cast, we’ve added category tabs to the page. Choose from TV & Movies, Music & Audio, Games, Sports, Photos & Video, or More.

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Editor's Note:  This blog post has been cross posted from the Official Gmail Blog.

Today, the Gmail app for Android is getting updated with a more modern style, sleeker transitions, and a few other handy improvements.

As part of the new design, there’s now a convenient reply button at the bottom of every message, making it quick and easy to continue a conversation when you’re on the go. And if you access the app on your Android tablet, you’ll notice it’s easier to switch between accounts and the different inbox categories.

Lastly, we know some of you have email addresses that aren’t Gmail (it’s okay to admit it). The updated Gmail app now supports all email providers, which means you can now set up a separate inbox for, say, your Yahoo Mail or addresses using POP/IMAP.

The updated Gmail app will support all Android 4.0+ devices, so look for it in Google Play over the next few days and let us know what you think!

Editor's Note:  This blog post is crossed posted from the Official Gmail Blog

Today we’re introducing a brand new Google Calendar app. It’s designed to be a helpful assistant, so you can spend less time managing your day, and more time enjoying it.

It takes a lot of work to stay on top of your schedule, after all. You have to manually enter that hotel or dinner reservation, then update it if your plans change. You have to hunt around for addresses and phone numbers, then add them to your events. And if you’re on a mobile device, you might just give up on these kinds of tasks entirely.

Calendars (like email) should do better—especially on phones and tablets—so we set out to build one that’s always at your service. Here are just some of the ways the new Calendar app can help.

Events from Gmail: now emails can turn into Calendar events automatically Every time you book a flight, buy concert tickets, or make a hotel reservation, odds are you get an email with dates, times and other important details. But who has the time (or patience) to copy and paste all this into their calendar? In the new Calendar app these kinds of emails become events automatically, complete with things like flight numbers and check-in times. They’ll even stay updated in real time if your flight's delayed, or you receive another email update.

Assists: suggestions that save you time Of course, not all event info arrives in your inbox. You often have to piece together phone numbers, addresses and attendees from lots of different sources, then add them to your calendar manually. With Assists, Calendar can suggest titles, people and places as you type, as well as adapt to your preferences over time. For example, if you often go running with Peter in Central Park, Calendar can quickly suggest that entire event when you type ‘r-u-n.’

Schedule View: easy to scan and lovely to look at Your calendar is more than just a list of dates and times—it’s your life! So Calendar’s new Schedule view includes photos and maps of the places you’re going, cityscapes of travel destinations, and illustrations of everyday events like dinner, drinks and yoga. These images will bring a little extra beauty to your day, and make it easy to see what’s going on at a glance—perfect for when you’re checking in from your phone or tablet.

The new Google Calendar will work on all Android 4.1+ devices. It’s available today on all devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and you’ll be able to download the update from Google Play in the coming weeks. (And yes, we’re also working on a version for iPhone!) Learn more at


Ten years ago this week, Google opened its doors in Montreal, drawn here by some very talented developers who didn’t want to leave their charming city – and the community they were a part of – in la belle province. In the decade since, Google’s office of engineers, developers and digital marketing experts has grown up right alongside the city’s vibrant tech and startup community.

As Montreal's tech community has grown, so has its entrepreneurial spirit and startup culture. Today, Montreal is home to some of the most promising startups in Canada. That’s why we’re excited to announce that working with Notman House – one of Canada’s leading startup incubators – the Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub Network is expanding to Montreal, making it the 9th city in the network, the 2nd in Canada, and the 1st in a French-speaking community.

Tech hubs like Notman House have sprung up in cities across the globe, drawing on shared expertise and resources to help developers and entrepreneurs launch new ideas and turn them into thriving young companies. Google’s Tech Hub Network is the first formal network of its kind, and at a little over a year old, we are excited to link aspiring entrepreneurs and startup founders from across the continent to one another, and to open new doors to mentorship, investment and growth.

For startups working with Notman House, the Tech Hub Network puts new resources at their fingertips, including funding, training and mentorship opportunities, and access to Google programs and products throughout the network including:

  • An annual Demo Day where startups from the network come to Silicon Valley and pitch to investors; 
  • Eligibility for the $100K Google Cloud Platform for Startups program; and 
  • The Google for Entrepreneurs Global Passport, where entrepreneurs from each hub can work for free at spaces designated at any other hub in the network. 

As a former startup ourselves, a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation is in our DNA. With Notman House and our Google for Entrepreneurs programs, we hope Montreal’s world-class startup community will grow that much faster, building transformative products and companies that will take the world by storm.