Google’s color-coded map shows where COVID-19 cases are spiking

mask google
People wear protective face masks outside the Google offices in Chelsea as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on July 31, 2020 in New York City.

  • Google Maps has a mapping layer that allows users to see regions color-coded by per-capita number of COVID-19 cases.
  • The feature aims to help users “make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do.”
  • The COVID-19 layer is available to iOS and Android users and online.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google has a feature that allows users to view COVID-19 case numbers as a layer in Google maps, which can help users see the high-transmission areas where the Centers for Disease Control has recommended wearing masks. The layer color codes areas by the 7-day average for the number of new cases per 100,000 people, and shows if cases are trending up or down.

The layering feature, which was released in September 2020, may be becoming even more relevant as COVID-19 cases spike across the country and the Delta variant surges.

The goal of the feature is to help users “make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do,” wrote Sujoy Banerjee, a product manager at Google, in a blog post.

The move isn’t Google’s first effort to release features tailored to life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, 2020, Google released a number of features, including transit alerts that ping users when government mandates impact service or if there’s a mask requirement on board. Google also introduced driving alerts that notify users about COVID-19 checkpoints when travelling. And for those looking to avoid crowded train cars, Google also made it easier to access live data on the business of stations.

Competitors like Bing and Apple have also worked on pandemic-oriented mapping tools. Bing runs a live COVID-19 tracker with global case data. And in April, 2020, both Google and competitor Apple added COVID-19 testing sites to their map platforms. Apple also last year began making aggregated mobility data available to help governments and health authorities make policies.

In addition to Google Maps’ country-level data in 220 countries and territories, there’s also state, county, and city level where data is available. Google says it sources the COVID-19 data from Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia.

Users can activate the COVID-19 layer on their mobile device by opening Google maps on their phone, tapping the layer button, and selecting COVID-19 info.

google maps covid 19 layer 2
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Google search dark mode: How to turn on the darkened screen feature that’s in beta testing

GettyImages Google Logo
Google search has a dark mode that’s currently in beta testing.

  • Google search’s dark mode gives you the option to darken the appearance of your searches on a desktop or mobile device.
  • It works through Google’s search feature, so you don’t have to use the Chrome browser to access it.
  • Dark mode searches are still in beta, so you may not have access yet.
  • If dark mode is available for you, you will be notified you have access to it on the Google homepage or search results page.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Sometimes you just need to give your eyes a break, even if you can’t get away from your various screens.

To help with this problem, many devices and services have provided a dark mode, which turns your background black and inverts or otherwise changes the color of text so there’s less overall brightness, and you may now be able to access a dark mode specific to Google searches.

Google search’s dark mode, explained

The Google search dark mode, currently in beta testing, is a display setting that lets you apply the new look to the Google homepage and your search results when using the desktop or mobile version of the site.

Since the feature is still in beta, you may not have access to it quite yet. But when you do, you should see a pop-up notification to that effect on Google search pages.

How to enable Google search’s dark mode on desktop or mobile

If your device is able to use Google search’s dark mode, you’ll see a notification stating Dark Theme is now available above the search field on Google’s homepage; on a mobile browser, it may also appear as a Dark Theme is available notification beneath the search field on a search results page. Select Turn on to enable the feature.

google search page dark Theme is available notification on safari
A Dark Theme notification seen on a Safari mobile browser.

Once enabled, your search results page will switch to a dark theme, as depicted here on an iPhone’s Safari browser.

google search dark mode enabled on iphone safari browser
Google search’s dark mode, enabled.

If that notification has come and gone, you might be able to turn on the feature through your desktop or mobile browser’s Google search settings.

1. Go to

2. Select Settings, located in the bottom-right area of the screen on desktop or bottom of your screen on mobile.

3. Select Search Settings.

4. Select Appearance and select the option for Dark theme.

5. Click or tap Save.

How to search and switch tabs on Google Chrome to better navigate your browser tab clutterHow to get Google to crawl your Google Site or other websites and improve your search performanceHow to stop Google from tracking you on any deviceHow to stop notifications from Google Chrome for a specific site or altogether

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How technology is changing advertising

California mall Macy's coronavirus
A shopping mall in San Mateo, California, the United States, May 19, 2021.

  • Technology has upended the advertising business.
  • Changes in ad tracking and evolving consumer habits are ending longstanding ways of ad targeting.
  • Here’s a breakdown of Insider’s coverage of how these changes are impacting ad buyers and sellers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The advertising industry is going through big changes as technology changes upend consumer habits and where and how marketers reach them.

Apple and Google’s phasing out third-party cookies threatens to upend longstanding ad targeting practices. The acceleration of streaming TV has fueled the chase for TV ad dollars.

The shift to online shopping has attracted new players for digital advertising.

Insider has been tracking these trends at some of the biggest advertising buyers and sellers, including WPP, Omnicom, Google, and Amazon, and rounded up our coverage.

The crackdown on ad tracking is changing advertising

Targeting changes are forcing advertisers to come up with new ways to reach consumers. Google and Apple have sent shockwaves through the ad industry when they announced changes that would put an end to longstanding ad targeting practices in the face of pro-privacy regulation.

Those moves have led marketers, their agencies, and adtech companies like LiveRamp and The Trade Desk scrambling to find workarounds.

Read more:

Marketing meets tech

Mars Inc M&Ms
Employees work at the chocolate maker Mars Chocolate France plant in Haguenau.

CMOs are finding new ways to target consumers, building homegrown tools, using targeted ads, or ​​snapping up ad tech and martech companies.

Brands like Anheuser-Busch, Mars, P&G and L’Oréal have ramped up efforts to gather data on consumers as platforms clamp down on ad targeting and e-commerce accelerates.

Read more:

Adtech is hot again

Even as advertisers slashed their spending in the economic downturn, the rise of streaming TV and online shopping has benefitted adtech companies that help connect ad buyers and sellers and solve advertising and marketing problems.

Investors are pouring money into firms like like TVision DoubleVerify that are solving problems in digital advertising. Other firms are going public as Wall Street fell back in love with adtech due to broad macroeconomic changes.

Read more:

New players are disrupting the ad industry

Instacart Shopper Car
Instacart is adding 30-minute delivery.

The established holding companies are scrambling to adapt to the digital shift, while new kinds of specialty ad companies threaten to take their place.

And a new set of companies including delivery services, retailers, and platforms like Instacart, Walmart, and TikTok are gunning for a piece of the ad business.

Investors, startups, and vendors are also trying to cash in on the opportunity.

Read more:

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New York real-estate giant The Durst Organization says it will fire non-union workers who fail to get a COVID-19 shot by Labor Day

Douglas Durst, chairman of The Durst Organization, wears a white shirt and black waistcoat in a corporate meeting room.
Douglas Durst is chairman of The Durst Organization

  • The Durst Organization has told about 350 staff they must get vaccinated by September 6.
  • Staff who refuse will be “separated from the company,” Crain’s New York first reported.
  • The real-estate giant will apply the rule to its non-union corporate workers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A New York City real estate developer has told about 350 workers that it will fire them if they don’t get a COVID-19 vaccine by Labor Day, September 6.

The Durst Organization, a $8.1 billion family-owned company, said certain staff will be exempt for “medical or religious” reasons.

It will only apply the vaccine rule to its corporate, non-union workers, and not its roughly 700 union employees, who include building service workers and cleaners, Crain’s New York first reported.

“For our corporate employees, unless they receive a medical or religious accommodation, if they are not vaccinated by Sept. 6th they will be separated from the company,” Durst spokesman Jordan Barowitz told Crain’s.

A Durst spokesperson confirmed the policy to Insider.

It is not clear whether Durst’s corporate workers will need just one or both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine under the new rule. The organization did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for clarification.

Barowitz told the New York Post that Durst had informed corporate employees of the new mandate in June, and that it was “driven by the wishes of the employees who want to work in a safer environment.”

Durst’s union workers – who include building service workers, cleaners, and doormen – are protected under a collective bargaining agreement, an unnamed source familiar with the matter told The Post.

Read more: Zamir Kazi bought his first duplex in 2012 and his firm now owns more than 3,300 units. He breaks down the path to building his portfolio – and shares his best advice for breaking into real estate investing today.

Employers have grappled with whether to implement strict vaccine mandates for employees as offices reopen. Companies can legally require their workers to get vaccinated or ban them from the office, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in guidance published in June.

Tech giant Facebook announced Wednesday that it would require all staff working on its US campuses to be fully jabbed. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also said in a Wednesday press release that workers returning to the office must be fully vaccinated.

New York City’s government announced Monday that it would require all city workers to get vaccinated by September 13, or to take weekly tests. The number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the city has increased over recent weeks, according to local government data.

Cases of the highly contagious Delta variant have surged in recent weeks across the US. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday that fully vaccinated people should wear masks in all public indoor settings in certain COVID-19 hot spots, reversing previous guidance it set in May.

Robert Durst, brother of the company’s chairman, Douglas Durst, is accused of murdering his friend, Susan Berman, in 2000, and is standing trial in Los Angeles.

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Google will require employees on its campuses to get vaccinated as it delays its office return. It’s now the first mega-cap tech giant to do so.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a developers conference.

  • Google is pushing its return to office plan to October 18, it told employees on Wednesday.
  • The company had previously told employees they would be expected back in September.
  • Employees who do return will need to be vaccinated, the company said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google is delaying its return to office in response to a surge of coronavirus cases, the company announced on Wednesday.

Employees were told they can continue to work from home through October 18, CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo, which was obtained by Insider. He also announced that employees who return to offices will need to be vaccinated against the virus.

Google recently reopened some of its offices for employees to return on a voluntary basis, but said employees would not be required back until September. However, a rise of coronavirus cases led by the more contagious Delta variant has now pushed back that deadline by more than a month.

The company has more than 140,000 full time employees, according to a recent regulatory filing.

“We are excited that we’ve started to re-open our campuses and encourage Googlers who feel safe coming to sites that have already opened to continue doing so,” Pichai wrote in the memo, which was later published on the company’s blog.

“At the same time, we recognize that many Googlers are seeing spikes in their communities caused by the Delta variant and are concerned about returning to the office. This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it.”

Google is the only tech giant so far to explicitly mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for its employees. CNBC tech reporter Josh Lipton said in a tweet that Apple CEO Tim Cook was still unsure whether imposing the same rule at Apple was “the right answer.”

Apple also pushed its return-to-office date back to October in response to the surge of cases, The New York Times reported earlier this month.

Pichai, the Google CEO, said the requirement for vaccinations would apply to US offices “in the coming weeks” and other regions “in the coming months.”

When employees do go back, Google has said it will increase flexibility around remote work, after employees pushed back on the company’s demand to have all employees back in offices.

Do you have more to share? Contact this reporter at or on encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram at +1 628-228-1836.

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How to add your business to Google and get it displayed on Google Maps for customers to find

business owners using laptop in tool shop
You can add your business to Google from Google’s My Business website.

  • When you add a business to Google, it can help bring in new customers and streams of revenue.
  • You can customize your Google Business page with hours, photos, services, and more.
  • When you add a location or service area for your business, it becomes searchable on Google Maps.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Adding your business to Google – whether it’s a restaurant open to the public or a hair salon run out of your home – is an important step to reach customers, make connections, and ultimately grow a successful business.

It also gives your business an air of legitimacy, and makes it searchable via Google Maps.

Here’s how to add your business to Google, and customize your business page.

How to add a business to Google

Note that the exact sequence of steps may differ depending on which selections you make on each page, and what kind of business page you’re creating.

1. Go to Google’s My Business site and log into your business account. Or, create a Google account for your business by visiting the Google sign-in page and selecting Create account.

2. From the My Business homepage, click Manage now and on the next screen, enter your business’ name into the search bar. In the drop-down under the search bar, select Create a business with this name.

Screenshot of Google Business "add business" screen
Click “Create a business with this name.”

3. On the next page, enter your Business name and Business category (such as restaurant, retail, barber shop, etc.). Then, select Next. You’ll be able to add additional categories later on.

Screenshot of Google Business page to add name and category
Enter your business name, choose a category, and select “Next.”

4. Next you’ll need to choose whether you want your business’ location to appear on Google Maps. If you’re adding a restaurant or other business that’s open to the public, being on Google Maps is incredibly useful. But if you’re just adding a small business run out of your house, keeping that location private might be a good idea. Select Yes or No and hit Next.

Screenshot of Google Business page to add location
Choose whether or not you want to add a location.

5. If you chose to add your business to Google Maps, the next screen will ask you to enter your business address. If you chose to keep your exact location private, then the next screen will ask you to enter your service area(s). Fill out the relevant information and select Next.

Screenshot of Google Business page to add location
Enter your business location.

6. Enter the phone number and website associated with your business and click Next.

Screenshot of Google Business page to add contact info
Enter the contact information for your business.

7. On the next page, choose whether or not you want Google Business to send you updates and recommendations for your business, and hit Next.

8. If you chose not to provide a business address, you’ll need to enter your personal mailing address to verify your business. This address will not be visible to the public. Enter your address and hit Next, or choose Verify later.

9. Click the drop-down to select a method to verify your business. Depending on your type of business, only some verification methods may be available to you. For example, you may see Postcard by mail listed as the only available method.

Here are all the ways that you can verify your identity to Google:

  • By mail. Google will send a physical postcard that includes a verification pin, which you’ll then use to verify online.
  • By phone. Google will call you, and provide a verification code over the phone. This is only available for certain businesses.
  • By email. Google will send you the code over email. Again, this is only available for certain businesses.
  • Bulk verification. If your business has over 10 locations, you’ll have to submit an extra form to have them all verified at once. To do this, when you click “Get verified,” click “Chain” afterwards and enter all your info. Google will then take up to a week to process the request.
  • Instantly. If you have a Google Search Console account, and your business’ website is verified through Search Console, you can verify your account instantly. Some business categories aren’t allowed to do this.

10. Next, you’ll be taken through a series of prompts to set up your Google My Business page. You can add your services and business hours, set messaging permissions, write a business description, upload photos, and claim a $100 advertising credit through Google Ads.

Screenshot of Google Business add business hours
Add details about your business, like your business hours.

11. Once you’ve entered all the essential information to set up your business, you’ll be taken to your Google My Business account page where you can add additional information, like a business logo and co-managers.

Screenshot of Google My Business home page
From your Google My Business homepage, you can add more information, invite co-managers, and more.

How to set up a PayPal Business account, to accept multiple payment options from customers and integrate with websitesHow to create a Facebook business page for your company, brand, or communityHow to change your business address on Google Maps using Google My BusinessHow to add a business on Yelp if you’re a business owner or just a Yelp user

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Alphabet blows past Wall Street’s quarterly earnings expectations as search and YouTube ad revenue surge

Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • Google’s parent Alphabet announced its Q2 earnings Tuesday, beating Wall Street expectations.
  • Alphabet reported $61.9 billion in total revenue versus $56.1 billion expected by analysts.
  • Google’s ad services brought in $57.1 billion, while Cloud revenue grew to $4.6 billion.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Alphabet blew past Wall Street’s second-quarter earnings expectations as the company continued benefit from the massive uptick in digital commerce during the pandemic.

Google’s parent company brought in $61.9 billion in total revenue during the quarter, up 62% year-over-year, versus $56.1 billion expected by analysts.

A year after its first-ever revenue decline, Google’s ad business skyrocketed in Q2 2021 with $57.1 billion in revenue, up 69% year-over-year, driven largely by Google search ads, which brought in $35.8 billion in revenue.

The company said advertising revenue at its YouTube division rose 84% year-over-year to $7 billion.

Google Cloud earned $4.6 billion in revenue and cut its operating loss to $591 million in Q2, its third-straight quarter of revenue growth since Google started separately reporting the financial performance of its cloud division in Q4 2020.

Here’s what Alphabet reported, compared to what analysts expected, according to Bloomberg.

  • Total revenue: $61.88 billion (Expected $56.03 billion, according to Yahoo Finance)
    • Revenue minus TAC: $50.95 billion (Expected $46.08 billion)
    • Google services revenue: $57.07 billion
    • Google Cloud revenue: $4.63 billion (Expected $4.34 billion)
  • Net income: $18.53 billion (Expected $13.05 billion)
  • Earnings per share (GAAP): $27.26 per share (Expected $19.35)

Tuesday marked Google’s first earnings report since announcing in March that it would make a major shift away from precisely tracking individual users based on their internet activity, viewed by some experts as a move to entrench its dominance of the digital ads market.

Google’s earnings also come as the company faces multiple antitrust lawsuits and likely a tougher regulatory environment under Biden appointees like Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan, as well as criticism from employees over its sexual-misconduct policies and dismantling of its AI ethics team following the departure of Timnit Gebru.

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How much top tech companies pay marketers in the US

tim cook peace sign
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • Tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb have become top destinations for marketers.
  • Insider analyzed public data to get a sense of what the industry is paying.
  • Google paid a product marketer up to $315,000, for example, while Facebook paid about $222,000 for a similar role.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

With their perks and high pay, tech companies have become top destinations for marketers. Google paid a product marketing manager as much as $315,000 in 2021, for example, with Facebook paying about $222,000 for a similar role.

When hiring from abroad, companies have to file paperwork with the US Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification, which releases that salary information every quarter.

Using that information, Insider created a snapshot of how the companies compensate their employees.

This information is derived from 2020-2021 base salary information only. Many firms offer bonuses and equity options to compensate employees.

Our full analysis details the base salaries for roles ranging from associates to SVPs and managing directors.

Read more about how top tech companies pay marketing employees.

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A couple is being sued for defamation after writing 1-star Google reviews of a roofing company, report says

Autumn Knepper and Adam Marsh
Autumn Knepper and Adam Marsh complained to the Better Business Bureau about the roofing company.

  • A couple from Washington left one-star reviews of a roofing company after a receptionist was rude to them, KGW8 reported.
  • The couple said they were contacted by the company’s owner who demanded that they take down the reviews.
  • They’re now accused of defamation and are being sued for $112,000, according to Newsweek.

A couple from Vancouver, Washington is being sued for $112,000 after leaving a one-star Google review of a roofing company, KGW8 reported.

Autumn Knepper and Adam Marsh each wrote a negative review of Executive Roof Services after two phone calls with one of the company’s receptionists turned sour, they told the local broadcaster.

Now, the roofing company has served papers accusing them of defamation and intentional interference with business expectancy, according to Newsweek.

Read more: An elderly couple is suing JPMorgan for $20 million over claims they were misled on risky investments

Knepper called the office of Executive Roof Services to discuss how soon the company would be able to repair a leak in their attic, she told KGW8. The receptionist on the other end of the phone, however, was extremely dismissive, she said.

“She refused to give me any information. She said I would have to get it from the landlord. I asked to speak with the manager and she laughed at me,” Knepper recalled. “She told me I was verbally abusing her and that she was the office manager. She hung up on me.”

Marsh said he had a similarly bad experience with the same woman.

After the negative interactions with the receptionist, the couple posted their reviews and also filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau because they hadn’t received a report on the expected timeline of the work, KGW8 reported.

Shortly after, they were contacted by the company’s owner – Michael Mecham.

“He told me that he knew where I lived. He said he had forensics guy and that he would gladly spend a hundred thousand dollars suing me,” Knepper told KGW8.

She said that she later received a text demanding that she take down the review before “more damages are done,” the local broadcaster reported.

Knepper said she responded by calling the police and thought that was “the end of it.” It wasn’t.

In late June, the couple was served a lawsuit filed on behalf of Executive Roof Services.

“Honestly, I cried immediately. I was terrified. I can’t afford a lawyer. I can’t afford to pay $112,000. And I can’t, I don’t want to file for bankruptcy,” Knepper told KGW8.

David Bowser, an attorney representing the roofing company, told the local broadcaster that the lawsuit is centered on Knepper and Marsh’s “improper” intent.

“They intentionally harmed ERS by posting one-star reviews for the purpose of getting a report they weren’t entitled to,” Bowser said.

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Google made an elaborate 16-bit video game that pays homage to Japan hosting the Olympics, and you can play it for free right now

Google's Olympics-themed game, "Doodle Champion Island Games."
“Doodle Champion Island Games” is Google’s Olympics-themed game that’s free on the Google homepage.

  • In honor of the Olympics, Google just turned its homepage into a video game platform with one game.
  • “Doodle Champion Island Games” is a free, adorable homage to Japan’s history of video game production.
  • The game was produced in collaboration with Tokyo animation firm STUDIO4°C.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

With the Olympic Games kicking off this week, Google is paying homage to its host city of Tokyo with a full-on video game.

If you head over to Google’s homepage, you’ll find a play button that opens a surprisingly elaborate video game named “Doodle Champion Island Games.”

It costs nothing, is fun to play, and even remembers where you left off if you close the window.

Read more: Netflix’s new video-game strategy will live or die by how well it can create mega movie and TV franchises

The game – made in collaboration with Tokyo-based animation firm STUDIO4°C – is playable directly in-browser using the arrow keys and space bar. It stars an adorable calico cat named Lucky who’s able to participate in a variety of sporting events.

A table tennis event and a skateboarding event were standouts in the short time we spent with the game, but there’s a whole bunch more game in there – at least seven games in total, in addition to “extra hidden challenges,” according to Google’s blog post.

If nothing else, do yourself a favor and enjoy the aggressively charming intro video right here:

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (, or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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