Author Archives: Aaron Brindle

Can anyone match Freddie Mercury’s legendary voice? Queen and YouTube Music are challenging fans to find out!


New Google built AI-powered singing challenge - FreddieMeter - rates how closely fans can mimic Freddie Mercury’s voice 

Take on the #FreddieChallenge now in support of the Mercury Phoenix Trust

Bohemian Rhapsody” is considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time, so it’s no wonder the music video recently hit 1 billion views on YouTube. For decades, fans have belted out the song’s iconic lyrics alongside Freddie Mercury’s one-of-a-kind vocals, but how many can really sing it just like Freddie? YouTube, Google Creative Lab, and Google Research, working in partnership with Queen, Universal Music Group and Hollywood Records, have built a new AI experiment called FreddieMeter to find out!


Released in support of Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity founded by Brian May, Roger Taylor and Jim Beach to raise awareness and funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS, and in honour of the 44th anniversary of the band’s first-ever live performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” at the Empire Theater, Liverpool, U.K in November 1975; FreddieMeter was created to let fans around the world determine how closely their singing matches the voice of Queen’s legendary frontman, Freddie Mercury.

FreddieMeter shows users how closely their voice matches Freddie Mercury’s legendary range by analyzing the singer’s pitch, timbre, and melody to assign them a score of 0 to 100. Queen fans, killer impressionists, and anyone who enjoys a little karaoke and are ready to step up to the challenge can get started by doing the following:

SING: Pick one of four QUEEN songs on the microsite (Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Me Now, Somebody to Love or We Are the Champions) and sing your heart out!
SHARE: Get your score and share! Download the custom scorecard asset directly to your device, then share it on YouTube and other social media.
CHALLENGE: Using the hashtag #FreddieChallenge on social channels, challenge three friends to see how they measure up.
DONATE: Encourage a charitable donation to Mercury Phoenix Trust in your post → http://www.mercuryphoenixtrust.com/donate

Google Creative Lab and Google Research created FreddieMeter using new on-device machine learning models, and it’s been trained on Freddie’s isolated vocals as well as samples of people trying to sing like Freddie. FreddieMeter is trained on and optimized for individual singers and works on desktop, Android and iPhone devices and the audio doesn’t get uploaded to any servers to be analyzed, so all vocals stay totally private unless shared by the user.

FreddieMeter continues YouTube’s celebration of Queen’s music and “Bohemian Rhapsody’s” 1 billion views milestone, which coincided with the release of a newly remastered HD version of the video. The achievement made history with the anthem being the first pre-1990s video to reach one billion views on the platform.

In partnership with Universal Music Group and Hollywood Records, YouTube also recently launched ‘You Are The Champions,’ a unique campaign that gave fans an exclusive chance to become a part of Queen history with a starring role in brand-new, user-generated videos for three of the band’s most celebrated tracks - “A Kind of Magic,” “Don’t Stop Me Now” and the iconic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The results were pulled from more than 10,000 submissions from more than 120 countries around the world, showing the depth and love for Queen and Freddie amongst their loyal global fanbase.

To take on the #FreddieChallenge now or find out more about FreddieMeter, visit freddiemeter.withyoutube.com.

A new way to discover Google tools to grow your small business

Today hundreds of entrepreneurs will descend on the Manitoba Museum to participate in a Grow with Google workshop. They will be joined by Google volunteers for a day of training and one-on-one mentorship sessions with the goal of helping Winnipeg businesses take advantage of the scale and reach of the open web. Winnipeg marks our ninth Grow with Google stop in Canada, and the tenacity of Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses to upskill and grow never ceases to amaze me.

Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and economy. They create jobs, they shape our culture, and often define what makes a city like Winnipeg unique. Google understands the important role small businesses play in Canada, but we also know the challenges these enterprises face when it comes to adapting to the digital economy.

When I talk to Canadian business owners about their priorities, they tell me they want to grow their brand and find new customers, sometimes in Canada and sometimes in countries across the globe. But I also hear about the lack of time and resources to adapt to the rapidly evolving digital economy. The Internet presents incredible opportunities, but it can be hard to know the right place to start. 

That’s why I’m so pleased to announce the launch of Google for Small Business, a new Grow with Google initiative to help businesses across Canada find the right Google tools and services to achieve their goals. The online program is super simple: go to the website (google.com/smallbusiness), share a business name, answer a few questions about the business, and select a goal. The business then receives a step-by-step plan to help them stand out online, reach more customers and work more efficiently. The recommendations will include products to help with all three, but with a particular focus on the goal that’s most important for that business.


This is an easy, streamlined way for small businesses to find tailored solutions with a personalized plan to optimize efficiency and stand out online. Growth for small businesses isn’t always about more, it’s about getting things done in less time, with less complication, and less worry.

This is why we created Google for Small Business - to help small businesses thrive by providing tools and support to connect with more customers and achieve lasting success.

It’s never too early - or too late - for small businesses to learn the skills that can help them get ahead. 

Get started at google.com/smallbusiness today.

Top tips for keeping data safe and secure on Android

Keeping data safe and private is a key priority for Android—and we’ve built a number of features to keep your device secure and give you control. As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are a few of these features, and our top tips for staying safe on your phone.

Warding off sneaky phishing attacks
Phishing is when a bad actor (we’re talking criminal here, not someone with low-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes) tricks you into giving them your private information. Phishing can come in the form of a convincing email that looks like it’s from a company or co-worker you know, spam phone calls, and even text messages.

Typically, these bad actors want to steal credit card numbers, social security numbers, or account login information (usually for financial gain or identity theft), but there may be other pieces of data they’re looking to steal.

Thankfully, you have three important features on your Android device that protect them from phishing:
  • Caller ID & Spam Protection: This shows you when a call you’re receiving may be coming from a suspected spammer.
  • Safe Browsing: This Chrome feature lets you know if you stumble across a website we know to be bad, and will help you quickly get to safety.
  • Phone-as-a-Security-Key: While other forms of on-device two-factor authentication, such as SMS one-time codes and push notifications, can be phished by a remote attacker, Android's built-in security key gives you the strongest form of Google account protection.

    Privacy controls you can depend on


    On mobile devices, apps can access a lot of pertinent information such as contacts, web histories, location, photos, and more. This makes apps more useful—for example, helping you navigate to a desired destination in Maps—but you still want to make sure that you control who sees what.

    You can choose how data is shared with apps and services through a number of different means:
  • Permissions: Apps have to ask you for permission to access certain types of data, like your photos or contacts. To grant or revoke permission, head to Settings > Privacy, if you are using Android 10. For Android 9 and below, head to Settings > Apps & notifications > Advanced > App Permissions.
  • Location permissions: You can tell an app that it may only access your location when you’re actually using that app, as opposed to “all the time” or “never.”
  • Incognito mode in Google Maps: When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalize your Maps experience.

    Keeping bad apps off your device
    Bad actors also use potentially harmful applications to steal information. Google Play Protect makes sure these applications stay off your device by automatically scanning your apps to make sure everything is safe. If you do encounter one of these bad apps, Google Play Protect will quickly alert you and instruct you on how to remove the app from your device.

    You can access Google Play Protect by going to the security section of your settings. If you ever want to run a scan manually, you can prompt it to do so there. When it comes to security and privacy on Android, you’re never alone. You have both the underlying, automatic protections and the personalized control you need to keep your information safe and private. Want to learn more? Visit our Security Center today.

  • Game on! Our first Stadia studio is coming to Montreal

    As a child, I spent countless hours playing video games with my sisters. They transported us to exciting new worlds and took us on captivating adventures. They even taught us valuable life skills—three kids and only two controllers meant we had to learn problem solving and cooperation pretty quickly!

    I was also fortunate to live in Montréal, a city with an amazing gaming legacy, having launched dozens of studios, thousands of careers, and countless incredible games. Today I’m thrilled to announce our contribution to that heritage, with the creation of Google’s very first original games studio in Montréal. Stadia Games and Entertainment’s studio will produce exclusive, original content across a diverse portfolio of games in all your favorite genres. Stadia is designed to be one destination for all the ways people play games—and Montréal is where we’re going to start building them.
    Just as Stadia intends to change the way games are accessed and experienced by players, we want to change the way games are made. That starts with our culture. Stadia is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace; these diverse perspectives will shape the games we create together. We’re committed to building an environment that will empower the developers who work at Stadia to create new, unique gaming experiences. (P.S. If you’re interested in joining us, check open positions on our jobs site.)

    I’ve been making games for a while now, and wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had for anything. But we can do better. We can do more. At Stadia, we don’t believe in being “good enough.” We believe in being more: More ambitious. More inclusive. More accessible. More immersive. More engaging. We’re bringing that mentality to Stadia Games and Entertainment, and now with our first studio, we’re looking for the best developers on the planet to join us.

    Our 2019 Made by Google Line Up

    Earlier today, we shared news about our new Made by Google product line up. Take a look at our round up on our blog, The Keyword. Below, you’ll find some more info on what’s coming to Canada, and when. Happy reading!
    Google Pixel 4
    With a camera that captures detail that others can't, a new way to use your phone without touching it, the Google Assistant, and a fast and responsive display, Pixel 4 packs new technology into a striking new design. Best of all, Pixel includes the latest version of Android and Google’s best software, which gets better with each update.

    In Canada, beginning today, you can pre-order a Pixel 4 for $999 and Pixel 4 XL for $1129 on the Google Store, and at all major Canadian carriers and select retailers. Phones will ship by October 24, globally. Pixel 4 comes in three colours, including Clearly White, Just Black, and a limited edition, Oh So Orange.
    Read more about Pixel 4 on The Keyword.
    Nest Mini
    Google Home Mini launched in the U.S. in 2017 as a small and mighty part of the Google Home family, with all the smarts of the Google Assistant to deliver hands-free help in every room. Nest Mini is the next generation rebuilt from the ground up with brand new hardware including an embedded dedicated machine learning chip with one TeraOPS of processing power. With Nest Mini, we upgraded the hardware and software to make it sound even better, and it really brings the bass. Nest Mini provides bass that’s twice as strong as the original Google Home Mini (measured from 60-100 Hz at max volume).

    Nest Mini has the same iconic design as the original Mini, with soft rounded edges that blend in with your home. It comes in four colours: Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and a new colour, Sky, which was inspired by Lake Como in Italy. We’ve also incorporated wall mounting capabilities into Nest Mini, because you told us that you needed creative ways to incorporate Nest Mini into your decor and save precious counter and shelf space.

    In Canada, starting today, you can pre-order Nest Mini for $69 from the Google Store. You’ll find Google Nest Mini on shelves on October 22 at Best Buy Canada and select retailers.
    Read more about Nest Mini on The Keyword.
    Nest Wifi
    With Nest Wifi, we’re taking everything you love about Google Wifi and making it even better, with a powerful router and a Wifi point that includes the Google Assistant, bringing you more help at home.

    The Nest Wifi system is actually two separate devices: The Nest Wifi router plugs directly into your modem, forming the basis for a strong and powerful home network, and the Nest Wifi point expands your coverage where you need it most. A two pack can deliver coverage for a 3,800-square-foot home. The system is scalable, so you can add more points later (or buy a three pack to start with) to make sure you’re covered. And if you’ve already got a Google Wifi network, you can easily add Nest Wifi to it for additional coverage.

    In Canada, Nest Wifi is available for preorder today on the Google Store and will be on sale on November 4. You can get a two-pack with one router and one point for $269, or a three-pack with one router and two points for $349 at the Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers.
    Read more about Nest Wifi on The Keyword.
    Nest Hub Max
    We’re also bringing Nest Hub Max to Canada. Nest Hub Max is a Google Assistant smart display that’s the perfect addition to your helpful home—it’s a TV for your kitchen, an indoor camera, a smart home controller, a digital photo frame and a great way to make video calls. Enjoy photos of your favourite memories from Google Photos on Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch HD screen. It comes in Chalk and Charcoal for $299 on the Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers.
    Read more about Nest Hub Max on The Keyword.
    Nest Aware
    Today we’re announcing the new Nest Aware service, which will soon offer whole home awareness across more of your Nest devices at one affordable monthly rate. Nest Aware coverage is expanding to include our family of speakers (Nest Mini, Google Home, Google Home Max), our displays (Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max) and the Nest Wifi point. You can choose from two simple plans: Nest Aware, with 30 days of event video history, at $8 per month, or Nest Aware Plus, with 60 days of event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history, at $16 per month.
    Read more about Nest Aware on The Keyword.
    Pixelbook Go
    Back in 2017 we introduced Pixelbook, a high-performance Chromebook that can adapt to your needs. And now we’re making it available to even more people with Pixelbook Go. At barely two pounds and 13 mm thin, it’s easy to bring Pixelbook Go wherever life takes you. And with its starting price of $879, it still has all the features you love about Pixelbook. You’ll get quiet, backlit keys for easy typing in all lighting and powerful processors to handle any workload, with an even bigger battery and 13.3 inch touchscreen.
    In Canada, Pixelbook Go is available for preorder today and will be on sale later this month at the Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers. Pixelbook Go will be available starting at $879 in Just Black, with Not Pink coming to Canada soon.
    Read more about Pixelbook Go on The Keyword.

    You can also check out The Keyword to learn more about Stadia, Pixel Buds, the latest Pixel 4 accessories, our sustainability commitments and more.

    Canada Accelerates its Climate Action with Data

    In 2015 under the COP21 Paris Climate Accord, Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 baseline levels by 2030. Cities across Canada are rising to this challenge and many have set their own emissions reduction targets, but measuring which activities contribute to GHG emissions is complex, time-consuming and often costly. 


    We’re addressing these challenges with the Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), an online and freely accessible tool making it easier for cities to measure their emissions, set climate goals and develop climate action plans. The tool was developed in partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors, and first launched in 2018, featuring Victoria, B.C as an inaugural city.


    Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re expanding access to EIE to a number of additional cities across Canada, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint. “Google remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainability and a zero-carbon future. By making complex data simple and easy to understand, we aim to empower cities with technology to help create a clean and healthy planet for everyone.”, says Kate Brandt, Google Sustainability Officer.


    Accelerated city-wide analysis
    By analyzing Google’s comprehensive global mapping data together with greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors, EIE estimates city-scale building and transportation carbon emissions data with the option to drill down into more specific data, such as the distances travelled by mode (automobiles, public transit, biking etc) or the percentage of emissions generated by residential or non-residential buildings.

    “By using EIE to compare the GHG emission estimates to the City’s own GHG emissions calculations, City staff can be more confident in taking data-informed decisions aligned to our Community Energy Action Plan.”, says Jamie Skimming, Manager of Community Energy Initiatives at the City of London, Ontario.


    EIE also provides renewable energy insights, with city-wide solar energy maps to help cities evaluate the potential of reducing emissions. “The solar map from EIE is particularly valuable to assess the solar energy potential of municipal buildings in London such as community centres and arenas,” says Skimming.


    An experienced energy advisor to both the public and private sectors, Dunsky Energy Consulting has worked with municipalities across Canada in achieving deep carbon reductions from their energy and transportation sectors. “We are proud to be working with Google on its innovative EIE platform,” says Philippe Dunsky, President of Dunsky Energy Consulting, ”We believe EIE will help cities implement successful carbon reduction strategies to be leaders on the path toward a clean energy future.
    The insights that EIE provides have traditionally required many months of research, and a lot of resources for cities undertaking a climate action plan. By using Google’s own data sources and computations to produce a complete survey of a city that can be assessed very quickly, EIE helps a city leapfrog tedious and costly data collection and analysis.
    As we seek to become more efficient, Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer allows us to focus on the work that is in front of us so that our city can be part of a greener, smarter future.”states Mayor Charlie Clark, City of Saskatoon.


    Public engagement, grounded in science


    “Measuring GHG emissions is just one piece of the puzzle,” says Rebecca Moore, Director of Google Earth, the team behind EIE. To achieve their ambitious emissions reductions targets, cities must also devise plans that work for city residents to make them a reality. “For example, cities can use EIE data to answer a question like ‘How could we reduce our carbon footprint by transitioning some percentage of short car trips to bicycle trips?’”, says Moore.


    "The launch of this google tool in Edmonton engages our residents in learning more about the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our city.”, says Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “The user-friendly and visual nature of the tool will give us important data that can help us make the changes we need to ensure a sustainable future."


    Canada’s next chapter


    Taking action on climate requires a number of climate actors to come together - cities to develop plans and catalyze action, policy makers to create favourable conditions for these plans, and businesses and utilities to implement projects. Making EIE data accessible to more cities across Canada will nurture an ecosystem that can bring climate action plans to life.


    Amanda Eichel, Executive Director of the Global Covenant of Mayors puts it best in saying, “Cities are at the forefront of an unprecedented global challenge and need all the information they can get to make smart decisions in the face of the climate crisis.”


    EIE is committed to helping Canadian cities with their climate action ambitions. This expansion to cities across Canada is the next step in an important journey helping cities lead Canada toward a low-carbon future. 


    Posted by James Henry, Sustainability Lead, Google Canada

    To learn more about EIE in your city, contact us here on insights.sustainability.google. The Environmental Insights Explorer looks forward to helping more cities create a healthier, cleaner future for their citizens and for the planet.

    Celebrating World Teachers’ Day on Manitoulin Island

    This World Teachers’ Day, we’re shining a spotlight on a special Canadian teacher who is using CS First, a Grow with Google curriculum for elementary and middle school students, in the classroom. Our guest author is April Aelick, who teaches grade 8 at Little Current Public School, which is part of the Rainbow District School Board on Manitoulin Island.

    Having taught for almost seventeen years on Manitoulin Island -- at the same school I attended from kindergarten to grade 8, no less -- I know how challenging it is to keep students engaged and excited in class.

    That’s why I was so happy to come across CS First, Google’s free computer science curriculum that makes coding easy for teachers to share and fun for students to learn. Earlier this year, I signed up for an evening workshop to learn CS First, with the hopes of being able to introduce it to my grade eight students.
    At the workshop, I learned about an interesting concept called ‘computational thinking’. It’s a systematic approach to solving problems through data that is at the foundation of computer science and can be applied to many other subject areas -- and careers -- that intersect with technology.

    As a teacher in a rural community, I can see how CS First will allow my students the opportunity to explore ways in which computer science can fit into their interests and possibly lead them down a career path they didn’t consider before. '

    Ask any student or teacher, grade 8 can be a difficult age to engage students in something new. Many students are self-conscious and are reluctant to take risks. They can also get frustrated when things don’t go right. Often, they think the easy way out is to just quit.

    CS First uses computational thinking to teach students not just hard skills, like coding, but the soft skills they need to be successful in life.
    Recently, one of my students worked very hard on a CS First project and, well, had a “tech fail”. His entire project was lost, and he was very disappointed to say the least. While some students would easily give up, this student went right back to work, rewatched the tutorials online and created something even better than before. CS First helped teach the class a great lesson that day, beyond just learning how to code: there will inevitably be “tech fails”, and it is how you overcome these problems that will help you succeed in life.

    The beauty of CS First is that it is so accessible to all students. There is no requirement for peripheral materials. I am lucky that my students have 1:1 access to Chromebooks, but even if a class didn’t have this option, it can still be used effectively with offline lessons.

    I think if you’re a teacher interested in expanding computer science into your classroom, give CS First a try, you’ve got nothing to lose! The amount of problem-solving and willingness to take risks I have witnessed so far from my students has been worth it. Even teachers who are not comfortable with coding can find success in their classrooms.

    Education opens doors for people that may be otherwise shut. It is my goal to expose my students to as many opportunities as I can so they don’t feel limited by their circumstances or geographic location. I teach amazing students that will have big impact in our world, and I want them to recognize that.

    Editor’s note: Want to see CS First in action? Watch this video featuring an elementary school from Waterloo! If you’re interested in CS First, check out our website for how to get started.

    Never miss your favourite artist on tour again – see tickets for live shows right on YouTube!

    Over 1 billion fans come to YouTube each month to connect with their favourite artists and discover new music. And now, we’re making it easy for Canadians to go from experiencing music online to seeing live performances through our partnerships with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite.

    Starting today, Canadian fans watching videos from Official Artists Channels will see ticket listings for live music performances throughout Canada and the US. With one easy click on the “Tickets” button, they’ll be able to purchase directly from one of our ticket vendors.

    This new feature is an expansion of the ticketing integration first launched with Ticketmaster in 2017 in the US.



    Live events continue to be a major source of revenue for artists, so we want to help artists keep fans updated on their upcoming shows and sell more tickets to live performances. YouTube’s global audience also lets artists find new fans, with 24% of Millennials and 33% of teens claiming they discover live music events through the platform, according to a Nielsen report from 2018.

    The new feature aims to connect fans with not only the global artists they love, but also will give them a chance to discover more intimate events with breakthrough Canadian talent.



    YouTube is the space where many Canadian artists first built their online platform. We’re excited to continue furthering the power of video discovery on YouTube by bringing those artists and fans closer together through live shows.

    Federal Elections 2019: Helping Canadians Make Informed Decisions

    Canada’s 43rd election has been called and the team at Google is busy building products and programs to protect the democratic process, to help campaigns manage their digital presences, and to help Canadians engage in their democracy.


    Getting Voters the Information they Need
    In anticipation of heading to the polls, we know people need useful and reliable information to navigate the election. Google supports the priorities outlined in the government's Declaration on Electoral Integrity, and is committed to providing information and services that meet these principles.

    In 2019, we’re focused on directing Canadians to authoritative resources as they prepare to participate in the election. We're specifically working with Elections Canada to ensure the information we provide is timely and accurate ahead of election day.

    Protecting Election Information Online
    We’ve built free products to help campaigns keep information safe and to ensure that voters have accurate information when they need it.

    With an emphasis on safeguarding campaigns from digital attacks, we’ve hosted several training sessions with policy makers, candidates, campaign teams, and journalists. These trainings focused on our Advanced Protection Program and Project Shield.

    To help prevent the spread of misinformation surrounding elections, we continuously make product quality improvements and support newsrooms around the world with training and tools to better verify digital stories. Learn more on how Google fights misinformation.

    Connecting Voters to Candidate Information
    We provide ways for users to find reliable information about candidates, including information from candidates themselves.

    In Search, features called “knowledge panels” help people quickly find an overview of facts and information about things, places, and people-- including political candidates. Information in knowledge panels comes from a variety of sources, including authorities with candidate information. Candidates can also claim their knowledge panels and suggest factual changes once they have been verified. More here. 

    YouTube can help campaigns to connect with voters, strengthen their online presences, control their stories, and engage with audiences wherever they are, with videos that can easily be embedded across all media platforms and on official websites. With YouTube Live, campaigns can now broadcast townhalls and speeches live to their audiences with the push of a button. More here.

    Working with Newsrooms
    Google and YouTube work closely with Canadian news organizations to support high-quality journalism. In 2019, the Google News Lab team conducted several in-person trainings in Canadian newsrooms to ensure journalists were aware of Google tools that might aid in their reporting and storytelling.

    With the constant flow of election coverage, we know it’s critical for news organizations to stay up-to-date on the topics that matter. Tools like Google Trends, which allows exploration of frequent searches and questions relating to the elections, and a dedicated Google Trends Canadian Federal Election 2019 page, make it easier for these organizations to stay current.

    Google Ads Policy
    To comply with new legislation, Google's advertising policies prohibit running Election Ads and Issue Ads during the regulated periods. Read more here.

    Amplifying our Voice with Partners
    Through various non-partisan partnerships, we’re continuing to provide relevant information to enable participation in the 2019 Federal Elections. Learn more about our partnerships below:

    We’ve partnered with Elections Canada to source and promote authoritative voter information. Elections Canada is also leveraging “Posts on Google” to communicate directly with voters from Search by sharing videos, infographics and images about the 2019 election. These published posts are available on the Elections Canada knowledge panel.

    Apathy is Boring is a non-partisan, charitable organization that supports and educates youth to be active and contributing citizens in Canada’s democracy. In partnership with Ryerson’s University’s Democratic Engagement Exchange, Apathy is Boring has gathered a coalition of organizations to promote citizen engagement, with a pledge to collectively engage 1 million new voters in the 2019 federal election. Google shares Apathy is Boring’s mission of democratic engagement and will be supporting the Canadian Vote Coalition and other non-partisan civic literacy activities leading up to the 2019 Canadian Federal Election.

    To educate school-aged Canadians on fact-based journalism, we worked with the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) to launch a national news literacy program, News Wise. With a $1 million dollar grant from Google.org and a partnership between CJF and CIVIX (Student Vote), NewsWise was piloted with Ontario teachers participating in Student Vote Ontario 2018. NewsWise will continue to evolve and rollout new resources leading up to the 2019 Federal Elections.

    Like others, we’re committed to supporting the upcoming election. With the race ramping up, our aim is to keep Canada’s democratic processes secure and to provide Canadians access to the authoritative electoral information that they need to engage in their democracy.

    Indigenous speakers in Canada share their languages on Google Earth



    Of the 7,000 languages spoken around the globe, 2,680 Indigenous languages—more than one third of
    the world's languages—are in danger of disappearing. The United Nations declared 2019 the
    International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness about these languages and their
    contribution to global diversity. To help preserve them, our new Google Earth tour,
    Celebrating Indigenous Languages, shares audio recordings from more than 50 Indigenous language
    speakers. 


    “It is a human right to be able to speak your own language,” says Tania Haerekiterā Tapueluelu
    Wolfgramm, a Māori and Tongan person who works as an educator and activist in Aotearoa--the Māori
    name for New Zealand--and other Pacific countries. “You don’t have a culture without the language.”


    Tania is one of several dozen Indigenous language speakers, advocates and educators who helped
    create the tour. Thanks to their contributions, people can click on locations meaningful to Indigenous
    speakers and hear people offer traditional greetings, sing songs, or say common words and phrases in
    their languages. 


    “Hundreds of languages are a few days away from never being spoken or heard again,” says Tania.
    “By putting Indigenous languages on the global stage, we reclaim our right to talk about our lives in our
    own words. It means everything to us.”
    Listen to more than 50 Indigenous language speakers globally in Google Earth


    The healing power of speaking one’s own language

    The people who recorded audio in their languages and connected Google with Indigenous speakers
    each have their own story about why revitalizing Indigenous languages strikes a chord for them. 


    For Arden Ogg, director of Canada’s Cree Literacy Network, and Dolores Greyeyes Sand, a Plains Cree
    person and Cree language teacher, the focus is on providing resources for language learners. For Brian
    Thom, a cultural anthropologist and professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the
    interest grew out of his work helping Indigenous communities map their traditional lands


    Brian asked yutustanaat, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and a language teacher in British
    Columbia, to record the hul’q’umi’num’ language. “Our language is very healing,” says yutustanaat. “It
    brings out caring in our people and helps our students be strong, because the language comes from
    the heart.” In her recording, yutustanaat speaks the traditional hul’q’umi’num’ greeting:
    ‘i ch ‘o’ ‘uy’ ‘ul’ or “How are you?”


    By using their languages—and sharing them with the rest of the world—Indigenous people create closer
    connections to a culture that is often endangered or has outright disappeared. 


    Wikuki Kingi, a Māori Master Carver, recorded traditional chants in Te Reo Māori, an Eastern Polynesian
    language indigenous to New Zealand. He says, “Speaking Te Reo Māori connects me to my relatives, to
    the land, rivers, and the ocean, and it can take me to another time and place.” 

    On the right, yutustanaat, a Snuneymuxw First Nation member, records the hul’q’umi’num’ language
    with student Beatrix Taylor. Listen to it in the Celebrating Indigenous Languages collection.
    Photo credit: Brian Thom

    Ensuring that generations to come will hear their languages


    “I do this not for myself, but for my children and grandchildren, so that in the future, they’ll hear our
    language,” says Dolores, who recorded audio in her native Plains Cree




    To ensure that future generations hear and speak Indigenous languages, more needs to be done to
    support their revitalization. Tania Wolfgramm suggests checking out how her nonprofit organization,
    Global Reach Initiative & Development Pacific, uses technology to connect far-flung Indigenous people
    to their traditional communities—like bringing Google Street View to the remote island of Tonga. Arden
    Ogg directs people interested in Indigenous languages to the Cree Literacy Network, which publishes
    books in Cree and English to facilitate language learning. And a video from the University of Victoria
    suggests five ways to support Indigenous language revitalization, such as learning words and phrases
    using smartphone apps, and learning the names of rivers, mountains and towns in the local Indigenous
    language.



    This initial collection of audio recordings in Google Earth only scratches the surface of the world’s
    thousands of Indigenous languages. If you’d like to contribute your language to this collection in the
    future, please share your interest.