Author Archives: Johnny Luu

Showcasing the best of digitally savvy Aussie business

From dog grooming to mastectomy bras, Australian businesses of all shapes and sizes are using digital tools to reach new audiences. Yesterday, some of these amazing businesses shared their stories at the Australian Chamber Business Leaders Summit at Parliament House in Canberra. 

The Summit brings together key business representatives from across Australia to meet with leaders and policymakers, and have the chance to hear from business owners how the internet is helping their business succeed. 

Business owner Jill Tucker from Erilan Mastectomy Collection - a business which offers mastectomy wear choices and support after breast surgery - shared her story about setting up a business and getting started online. 

Based in Wagga Wagga, Jill started her business to help fit women in rural Australia with prosthetics, bras, swimwear and clothing after they’ve had breast surgery.


Jill now has customers across Australia with 90 per cent of sales through the e-commerce site. Business champion Basil Karam from Life Interiors spoke about the importance of “learning to be surprised” even after 10 years of selling furniture online. Dog-grooming guru Margaret Hennessy, CEO of DOGUE, told the audience how digital propels the growth of new stores as her business expands across Australia. Digital tools are taking Australian businesses to new levels, but we know that more than 90% of businesses are not taking full advantage of digital tools. If you’re a small business that wants to gain new digital skills and learn make the most of the web - find an event near you (hint: We’ll be in Adelaide on 25-26 September) or check out The Digital Garage online to get free access to the complete training resources!

Go for a drive with your Google Assistant, and jump into your favourite show on Android TV


We've been working hard to bring the Google Assistant to more devices in more places – including phones, speakers, TV, watches and more.  Today, we’re excited to announce that the Assistant can do even more to help Aussies at home and on the road with the launch of the Assistant for Android Auto and Android TV – with rollout beginning in Australia this week.  


Get help when you’re behind the wheel

With Android Auto, you can safely and easily stay connected, find answers, and get things done in the car - all with just your voice. You can listen to your playlists from apps like Spotify or YouTube Music, get quick directions from Google Maps or Waze, send or receive messages from services like WhatsApp, and control your connected smart home devices. You can also access useful Actions on the go from our partners.

Android Auto is available in tens of millions of cars on more than 500 models globally from 50+ brands, including Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Volvo.  You can use the Assistant in Android Auto on your car display by connecting your Android phone to a supported car—or you can use it on your phone screen in any car.

Get help on the big screen

Your Google Assistant is now available on Android TV in Australia, starting with NVIDIA SHIELD TV today – and Sony Bravia, TCL and Kogan TVs in the coming months. With your Assistant on Android TV, you can jump right into your favorite show, find the latest blockbuster, check the score of the big game, dim the lights and more— all with just your voice.  


Here are some ways your Assistant can help:

  • “Play Stranger Things”— your Assistant can play a wide variety of content, from movies and TV shows to YouTube clips and music. With Netflix, Stan and YouTube, you can instantly watch something by asking for it by name or, if you aren’t sure what to watch, try “show me movies about climbing Mount Everest.” You can also ask your Assistant to “play some music” or listen to a specific song on YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify or Pandora.
  • “Play business news”— catch up on what’s going on in the news, from business to tech to entertainment. And once you’re caught up, prepare for your own day by asking “what’s on my agenda for today?”
  • “Talk to…. ”— apps for the Google Assistant are also now available on Android TV, so you can talk to Woolworths to put items in your shopping cart, Concrete Playground to plan a night out, and more.
  • “Turn it on, off and up”— it’s as simple as that. With your Assistant on Android TV you can turn up the volume, pause, control your smart home devices and more, just with your voice.

To get started, accept the Google Assistant system update on your SHIELD and press your remote’s mic button or the Assistant button on your remote after the device restarts. From there, you’re ready to sit back and relax with the help of your Assistant.

Unlocking the cloud with a new Google News Initiative Program

Originally posted on The Keyword blog 
The shift to digital has had a transformational effect on the news industry. To help news publishers manage that transition, earlier this year we announced the Google News Initiative, focused on elevating quality journalism, enabling new business models, and empowering news organizations to innovate through technology.
Publishers are also managing a similarly dramatic change in the way they build and run their organizations. Every aspect of publishing is being affected as publishers rethink how they collaborate, improve reader engagement and grow their bottom line via data and insights. Google Cloud presents an opportunity to manage this transition in a smart and meaningful way.
Many of the world’s leading publishers are using Google Cloud to improve the way they run their businesses and bring the news alive for their readers. Nielsen supports its nearly 45,000 employees in 100 countries with real-time collaboration, cost-effective video conferencing and more via G Suite. And the New York Times uses Google Cloud to encode and preserve their entire photo archive of millions of photos—putting a powerful resource in the hands of their reporters.
This shows what’s possible when publishers get access to cloud-native technology—and we want to open up these opportunities to publishers of all sizes.
Today we’re introducing the Google News Initiative Cloud Program, aimed at supporting local, small and medium-sized news organizations from around the world and helping them unlock their own imaginative solutions to business and storytelling.
Starting today, we will offer 200,000 free G Suite licenses for up to two years. News organizations with fewer than 500 employees can apply for up to 500 licenses.
G Suite is Google’s cloud-based intelligent productivity suite designed to help teams securely collaborate, iterate and innovate together in real time, using a suite of popular applications such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, Hangouts and Calendar. These products can help keep newsroom data secure and enable editors in the office and reporters in the field to collaborate and edit copy on a story in real time.
Additionally, applications will soon be open for Google Cloud Platform credits to go towards a variety of Google Cloud Platform products. We’ll provide more details about this program at Cloud Next London in October.
News organizations will be able to use the Cloud credits to modernize their business in a variety of areas, from app development to data analytics and machine learning.
These steps are the latest in the GNI’s effort to partner with publishers around the world to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Applications for G Suite licenses as part of the Google News Initiative Cloud Program are now live on our website.

New Google Street View Fleet to Hit Aussie Streets

This week eight new Street View vehicles will hit the streets in Australia, starting with Sydney and Melbourne, to gather updated, higher quality 360-degree imagery.
It’s been eight years since we’ve updated our camera technology, and just as smartphone cameras have dramatically evolved since then, we now have access to improved 360-degree camera technology. These new cutting-edge cameras fitted to our Street View cars will allow us to capture higher quality, sharper imagery and in low light conditions across Australia.

Google Maps’ Street View - a global collection of 360 degree imagery - is used millions of times every day by people looking to explore the world, to preview places before they go, or virtually experience places they might never have the chance to visit in person.

0087_Google_20180906.jpgKeep your eyes peeled and you may see one of the new cars in your neighbourhood in the coming months. To see where they’ve been and where they’re headed next, check out this link. Imagery from their journeys will be made available via Street View from later in 2018.


Using maps to preserve Indigenous cultures

Maps are incredibly powerful tools in the hands of Indigenous communities. They can be used for mapping and monitoring lands, territories and resources; for cultural preservation and for transferring cultural knowledge between generations.
Chief Almir and the Surui tribe of the Amazon were among the first Indigenous changemakers to use Google Earth - back in 2007 he wrote to Google with a proposal to use our mapping tools to share his tribe’s story and help combat illegal logging. Google visited Chief Almir’s home in Brazil and held a mapping workshop for his community. Now the public can virtually visit the Surui territory with a map that the Surui people built in Google Earth, see the clearcut logging in their Amazon rainforest and how it impacts their culture and livelihood.
Google is planning its first ever Indigenous Mapping Workshop in Australia on November 7-8, 2018, in partnership with the University of Technology Sydney, Tarruru Pty Ltd, Digital Navigators Ltd. and the Firelight Group. We’re hoping to welcome around 100 mapping practitioners from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to Google Sydney. This workshop aims to build the capacity of these communities to use Google mapping tools to map and monitor their lands and tell their stories of connection with the land and water.
The Ngarluma Ngurra Cultural Map: A Google Earth experience designed to provide an insight into Ngarluma culture and relationship to country.
At an Indigenous Mapping Workshop, participants have the opportunity to share their own work with others and attend hands-on trainings about highly practical and free-of-cost mapping technologies such as Google Earth. Google Earth can be used to take traditional knowledge-holders on a virtual visit to country and visualize an Indigenous way of knowing and seeing the land. The maps created using Google tools can be kept private to the creator and their community, or shared more widely.
Elders using satellite imagery to facilitate discussion at a community meeting in Sanikiluaq, NU, Canada.
This technical training will be co-led by Google Earth Outreach and Indigenous mapping practitioners with years of practical experience in the field. The event is modeled after the Indigenous Mapping Workshop in Canada and Indigenous Mapping Wananga in New Zealand.
Anyone who is interested to attend can learn more and submit an application at g.co/earth/imw-australia.

Meet your bilingual Google Assistant, and get help with Routines


Your Google Assistant now understands and speaks more than one language at a time – and is becoming more useful with custom and scheduled routines. 


With the Google Assistant, it’s easy to get stuff done through a simple conversation – whether you’re looking for a delicious pumpkin soup recipe, setting a reminder to take the laundry off the line, or playing your favorite tunes. And starting today, the Assistant will become more helpful with two new capabilities: we’re adding multilingual support, so that the Assistant will be able to understand and speak more than one language at a time. Additionally, you can now set custom and scheduled routines on smartphones and speakers, making it easier to get things done quickly with your Assistant.


Talk to the Google Assistant in multiple languages

Family members in bilingual homes often switch back and forth between languages, and now the Assistant can keep up. With our advancement in speech recognition, you can now speak two languages interchangeably with the Assistant on smart speakers and phones and the Assistant will respond in kind. This is a first-of-its-kind feature only available on the Assistant and is part of our multi-year effort to make your conversations with the Assistant more natural. 

If you speak German at home,  you can ask, “Hey Google, wie ist das Wetter heute?” And if you’re at a house party with friends, you can switch to English and say “Hey Google, play my BBQ playlist.” Currently, the Assistant can understand any pair of languages within English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. We’ll be expanding to more languages in the coming months. 



Get help with your routines


Your Assistant will now be able to help you manage your daily routines and get multiple things done with a single command. We’ve put together six Routines that help with your morning, commutes to and from work, and evening at home. For example, say “Hey Google, I’m home” and the Assistant on your Google Home or phone can turn on the lights, share any home reminders, play your favorite music and more, all with just four words. 


We’re also rolling out Custom Routines in Australia, which allow you to create your own Routine with any of the Google Assistant’s one million Actions, and start your routine with a phrase that feels best for you. For example, you can create a Custom Routine for family dinner, and kick it off by saying "Hey Google, dinner's ready" and the Assistant can turn on your favorite music, turn off the TV, and broadcast “dinner time!” to everyone in the house. And on Google Home devices, you can now schedule Custom Routines for a specific day or time through the settings of your Google Assistant. So if you’re keen to get back into a regular exercise routine, you can set up your workout routine to automatically kick off several times per week.

We hope that these new features will make it even easier for you to get things done – even in multiple languages.


Posted by Manuel Bronstein, VP of Product, Google Assistant

Google One is coming Down Under!



More and more, we rely on the internet for ways to safely store the things that matter—making life simpler and less cluttered. Over the years, we’ve provided people with easy, secure ways to create, store and share files online, including 15 GB of free space with every Google Account. Thanks to mobile phones, and new file formats like 4K video and high-res photography, people are storing more than ever before.


Recently, we introduced Google One, a plan that gives you expanded storage and helps you get more out of Google. Aussies will soon be able to enjoy more options to fit their storage needs – whether you’re working, connecting with friends or preserving your memories. 



More storage for what matters


Google One gives you more storage across Drive, Gmail, and Photos. With plenty of space, your most important memories and files are stored safely in original quality in the cloud and available on all your devices. We've improved the price of some of our plans and added new plan options, ranging from 100GB to 30TB, you can choose the plan that’s right for you.


More help when you need it


As a Google One member, you can easily get in touch with a team of Google experts to answer your questions—whether you need help recovering a file you accidentally deleted or want to learn how to use Gmail when you're offline.


More benefits for members


With Google One, you’ll also get extra benefits across Google. We’ve started with credits on Google Play and deals on hotels found in Google Search. In the coming months, keep an eye out for Google Store benefits and more.


More for your family


You can also share your plan with up to five additional family members. That means simplified storage under one bill, and access to the benefits of Google One. 


Coming soon to paid Google Drive plans


If you have a paid Drive storage plan, you’ll be upgraded to Google One automatically over the next few weeks. Look out for an email confirming your upgrade to Google One, where you can manage your storage plan and benefits. The way you use Drive to store and share files doesn’t change.


For everyone else, we’re working to bring Google One to you over the next few weeks. If you’d like to be notified when Google One is available, sign up for an update.

Posted by Pavni Diwanji, VP, Google One

Canberra businesses connect with new skills

Canberra was the place to be today 😉 with more than 120 business people coming together this morning to learn new skills and find out more about getting found online at the Google Digital Garage, hosted with the Canberra Business Chamber.

Gai Brodtmann MP, Federal Member for Canberra spoke at the event about the importance of small businesses getting online and making the most of the digital tools available to them.

As the Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence and Cybersecurity, she also provided some tips for businesses on the importance of strong passwords and online security.



The training covered practical steps for businesses to be found on Google Maps and Search and connect with new customers.

We also heard from local business owner Little Sprout, a local toy, puzzles, games and children’s book shop. Business owner Brooke said since creating a Google My Business listing they had seen an increase in phone calls received on specific products, and an increase in foot traffic to the store, with most customers reporting they found the business online.



Google believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to succeed online, that’s why we launched The Digital Garage to help close the gap in digital skills and help small businesses make the most of the web.



The Digital Garage is traveling around Australia in the months to come - find events near you and to head along The Digital Garage!

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia

Announcing the 10 startups that will take the stage at Demo Day Asia

After our open call for startups to apply and pitch to top global investors at Demo Day Asia—taking place this September in Shanghai—we received hundreds of submissions. They came from founders from every corner of Asia-Pacific, across industries as diverse as agriculture, entertainment, and healthcare.
FreightExchange from Australia connects Australian shippers and carriers with their online platform.
While difficult to narrow down this impressive field, after painstaking deliberation, the results are finally in. Out of 305 qualifying applications, the 10 finalists that will take the final stage at Demo Day Asia are... (drum-roll!):

  • DycodeX from Indonesia develops Internet of Things solutions for livestock farming
  • FreightExchange from Australia is an online platform for freight carriers to sell their unused space to shippers.
  • GITAI from Japan specializes in building robots that can help humans conduct scientific experiments in space.
  • Marham from Pakistan is a healthcare platform that helps people search, book appointments, and consult with doctors online.
  • Miotech from China is a fintech startup developing artificial intelligence-based software for financial services firms.
  • OneStockHome from Thailand offers an e-commerce platform for construction materials.
  • Origami Labs from Hong Kong makes smart rings that allow people to hear and send text messages without taking out their phones.
  • SigTuple from India creates AI-based solutions to automate healthcare screening.
  • SkyMagic from Singapore produces drone swarming technology for live entertainment and traffic management systems.
  • Swingvy from Korea provides human resources solutions for businesses.

We’re proud that several of these companies belong to organisations that are a part of the Google for Entrepreneurs partner network, a community of over 35 member spaces globally and programs supporting startups. They include startups from Kibar in Indonesia, Fishburners in Australia, Hubba in Thailand, and Found in Singapore.
SkyMagic from Singapore works on drone technology for live entertainment and traffic management systems.
Congratulations to these outstanding startups and their founders! They will pitch to a distinguished panel of leaders from Google for Entrepreneurs, Sequoia Capital China, and Venturra Capital on September 20th in Shanghai. The startups that impress could come home with funding from investors and up to $100,000 in Google Cloud Platform credits. Most importantly, we hope these incredible startups blaze a path forward for other founders and continue to improve the lives of others with their innovative products. Good luck in Shanghai!
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National Homelessness Week 2018: Using Ask Izzy to help understand and address homelessness in Australia

Guest blog from David Spriggs, CEO of Infoxchange for Homelessness Week 2018 

It’s a devastating reality that thousands of Australians don’t have anywhere to sleep tonight. The latest census recorded a 14 per cent increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness over the past five years.

For people experiencing homelessness, finding the services and support they need is a daily struggle. In 2016, we launched Ask Izzy – the mobile site developed at Infoxchange in partnership with Google.org, realestate.com.au and News Corp Australia that connects people in need with services such as housing, food, support and counselling and more.





In the last 12 months there have been more than 680,000 searches for help on Ask Izzy, and more than 1 million since the site was launched by Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull in 2016.

Most of these searches are for food and housing. The average daily demand for food-related services on Ask Izzy has tripled over the past year, reflecting cost of living pressures on Australians as they struggle to feed themselves and their family.

Ask Izzy’s top 10 categories nationwide

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Using data for positive social change 
These searches on Ask Izzy provide an unprecedented view of the demand for services across Australia. We want to use this data to help inform service delivery and decision making - that’s why we’ve developed the new Ask Izzy Open Data Platform, with support from Google, to make this information available to policymakers and service providers.

Using data from Ask Izzy, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the platform will be able to show us exactly where and what the demand is for services such as housing, food, health and more across Australia.

The Ask Izzy Open Data Platform is currently in the beta testing phase and will be available more widely later this month. 


If service providers and policymakers can see exactly what help people need, and where they need it, they can better plan and make decisions around how homelessness and support services are delivered.

We hope this will help people who are struggling throughout Australia to get better support to meet their needs.

The Ask Izzy Open Data Platform will be available later this month – if you’re interested in finding out more or seeing a preview, please get in touch.

What can you do to help?

We know that almost 80 percent of people who are homeless own a smartphone but often they don’t have anywhere to charge it. Find out how you can help solve this problem and learn more about Ask Izzy here.