Google Lets Users Immerse Themselves in the Star Wars Universe

Avoiding Star Wars-mania at this stage in the game is nearly impossible. With The Force Awakens, the saga's latest chapter, hitting theaters around the world in less than a month (December 17, in the U.S.), the property has once again permeated every facet of pop culture and advertising in this galaxy and others far, far away. Because it is "useless to resist," Google has joined the party, allowing users to customize their browsing experience by either joining the Light or Dark side.

With the invitation to #ChooseYourSide, Google has added special Star Wars-themed features to its suite of apps and products, including Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Chromecast, Google Translate, Google Now, Google Search, Waze, Android Wear, Google Calendar, and Inbox by Gmail. There are custom wallpapers, icons, sound effects, and themes that automatically appear on the various apps when you visit and align yourself with the Jedi or the Sith.


According to Tech Crunch, Waze users will find that C-3PO is now a part of the voice guidance system for the app. Star Wars-related events can be added to your Google Calendar, and the little guy in Google Maps has been given a makeover as either a First Order Stormtrooper or a Resistance Pilot, with either a TIE fighter or X-Wing as his preferred mode of transportation. Loading bars become lightsabers, and other cool features change the way you browse and use Google, until you visit the landing page again and turn them off.

Impressive, most impressive.

Screenshot, Gmail

Screenshot, Google Maps

 [h/t: Tech Crunch]

Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit

Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


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