Author Archives: Johnny Luu

Headphones optimized for your Aussie Google Assistant

Your Assistant is already available to help on phones, Google Home and more. But sometimes you need something a bit more personal, just for you, on your headphones. Like when you’re commuting on the train and want some time to yourself. Or reading at home and looking for some peace and quiet.

To help with those “in between” moments, together with Bose, we’re announcing headphones that are optimized for the Assistant, starting with the QC35. So now, you can keep up to date on your messages, music and more—using your eligible Android phone or iPhone.

To get started, connect your QC 35 II headphones to your phone via Bluetooth, open your Google Assistant and follow the instructions. From there, your Assistant is just a button away—push (and hold) the Action button to easily and quickly talk to your Assistant.

  • Stay connected to what matters: Hear your incoming messages, events and more, automatically, right from your headphones. So if you’re listening to your favorite song and you get a text, your Assistant can read it to you, no extra steps.
  • Listen to news and more: Now it’s easy to keep up with news while you walk to the bus, hop on the train or go for a run. Just ask your Assistant to “play the news” and you’ll get a read-out of the current hot topics. You can choose from a variety of news sources, like ABC News, The Australian and more.
  • Keep in touch with friends: With your Assistant on headphones, you can make a call with just a few simple words—“Call dad”—take the call from your headphones and continue on your way. No stopping or dialing, just talking.

We’ve worked together with Bose to create a great Assistant experience on the QC35 II—whether you’re on a crowded street or squished on a train, Bose’s active noise cancellation will help eliminate unwanted sounds around you, so you’re able to hear your Assistant, your music and more. The Assistant on the QC35 II will be available in English to all Aussies as well as in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Germany and France.

We’ll continue to add features, apps and more to your Assistant on headphones over the coming weeks.

At New Zealand schools, Chromebooks top the list of learning tools

New Zealand educators are changing their approach to teaching, building personalised learning pathways for every student. Technology plays a key part in this approach. New Zealand has joined the list of countries including Sweden and the United States where Chromebooks are the number one device used in schools, according to analysts at International Data Corporation (IDC).

“Chromebooks continue to be a top choice for schools,” says Arunachalam Muthiah, Senior Market Analyst, IDC NZ. “After Chromebooks’ strong performance in 2016, we see a similar trend in the first half of 2017 with Chromebooks gaining a total shipment market share of 46 percent, continuing to hold their position as the number-one selling device in schools across New Zealand.”

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Bombay School students learning about conductivity, electrical circuits and constructing a tune.

Technology is transforming education across the globe, and in New Zealand schools are using digital tools to help students learn, in the classroom and beyond.

At Bombay School, located in the rural foothills south of Auckland, students could only get an hour a week of computer access. Bombay School’s principal and board decided on a 1:1 “bring your own device” program with Chromebooks, along with secure device management using a Chrome Education license.

Teachers quickly realised that since each student was empowered with a Chromebook, access to learning opportunities increased daily, inspiring students to chart new learning paths. “Technology overcomes constraints,” says Paul Petersen, principal of Bombay School. “If I don’t understand multiplication today, I can learn about it online. I can look for help. I can practice at my own pace, anywhere I am.”

In 2014 Bombay School seniors collectively scored in the 78th percentile for reading; in 2016, they reached nearly the 90th percentile.

Students at Point England School take a digital license quiz to learn about online behavior.

In the Manaiakalani Community of Learning in East Auckland, some students start school with lower achievement levels than students in other school regions. Manaiakalani chose Chromebooks to support its education program goals and manage budget challenges. By bringing Chromebooks to the Manaiakalani schools, “we broke apart the barriers of the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. school day,” says Dorothy Burt, head of the Manaiakalani Education Program and Digital Learning Coordinator, based at Point England School. Using G Suite for Education tools on their Chromebooks, students can work with other students, teachers, and parents on their lessons in the classroom, the library, or at home.

Dorothy Burt says “we’re seeing not only engagement, but actual literacy outcomes improve—it’s made a huge difference to the opportunities students will have in the future.”

We look forward to supporting more countries and schools as they redefine teaching and make learning even more accessible for every student, anywhere.

Introducing apps for the Aussie Google Assistant

Whether you’re planning a BBQ, mapping your travels or helping the kids with their homework, your Google Assistant is always ready to help. You can ask about your day or your commute, explore your favorite topics,  switch on appliances, and get answers to hundreds of small and big questions during your day. But to be truly successful, your Google Assistant should be able to connect you across the apps and services in your life. So starting today, developers and companies can build apps to engage with Aussies through Actions on Google, the developer platform for the Google Assistant. And as a user, you’ll be able to access more of your favourite services and content straight through your Google Assistant.

For anyone who wants to build for the Assistant, resources such as developer tools, documentation and a simulator are available on the Actions on Google developer website, making it easy to create, test and deploy apps. Developers can read more here.

Now that we’re making apps available, Aussies have easy and fast access to all types of apps. Once an app works with the Assistant, you can just tell your Assistant to connect you with the app with a simple voice command – whether it’s on Google Home, Pixel, Android phones or iPhones. And the best thing? You don’t need to install anything extra, we’ll connect you straight with the app you’d like to interact with.

Stay tuned as local Aussie apps rollout soon, and dive in today by trying one of the many apps already available. To explore the latter, just launch the Google Assistant on your phone or check out the Google Home app.

We hope that this growing platform will give more Aussies the help they need, at home or on-the-go – from the morning rush hour to the weekend unwind.  With our partners, we look forward to exploring and delivering these new possibilities for the Australian Google Assistant.

Posted by Brad Abrams, Group Product Manager, Google Assistant

A New Way To Discover Up-And-Coming YouTube Creators

More great videos are uploaded to YouTube today than ever before. New formats are being created and new stars and artists are being born every moment. With more than 1,000 creators crossing the 1,000 subscriber threshold every single day, new talent is constantly emerging. We want to celebrate these up-and-coming creators and help them build a bigger audience.

Starting today, we’ll highlight creators who are “On The Rise” in a new section of our Trending Tab in the Australia. Each week, one creator will be highlighted and featured for a full day on Trending with the following badge: Creator on the Rise.

Today we’re kicking off by celebrating rising comedy Creator Christian Hull, who started making hilarious on-the-money parody videos 3 years ago, quickly amassing a strong following of 19,000 fans on his channel. Our favourite is his take on the (often tedious) world of retail.

Any creator with over 1,000 subscribers is eligible to be featured. On The Rise creators will be highlighted based on a bunch of factors including viewcount, watchtime and subscriber growth. Our team is also involved in the process to help select which eligible creators will be featured.

One creator will be highlighted each week; we’ll let them know when they are featured so they can share the moment with their fans, old and new! We hope this will help the world discover inspirational new creators.

Posted by Daniel Stephenson, Content Partnerships Manager, YouTube Australia & New Zealand

Feed your need to know

Aussies have long turned to Google for answers, to learn about the world, and dig deeper on topics they’re passionate about – whether that’s the footy scores, recipes, the surf report, or the latest news headlines. Today, we are announcing a new feed experience in the Google app (Android | iOS), making it easier than ever to discover, explore and stay connected to what matters to you — even when you don’t have a query in mind.

A smart feed that changes with you

Last December, we introduced the feed––an ongoing and updated look at things you care about, like sports, news, and entertainment; available on the home screen of the Google App. Since then, we’ve advanced our machine learning algorithms to better anticipate what’s interesting and important to you. You’ll now see cards with things like sports highlights, top news, engaging videos, new music, stories to read and more. And now, your feed will not only be based on your interactions with Google, but also factor in what’s trending in your area and around the world. The more you use Google, the better your feed will be.

As the world and your interests change, your feed will continue to grow and evolve along with you. You’ll notice that your feed will also reflect your interest level for various topics—for example, if you’re a photography enthusiast but just casually interested in fitness, your feed will show that. But if you see something that isn’t up your alley, unfollowing topics is easy too. Just tap on a given card in your feed or visit your Google app settings.


Follow your favorites

While we’ve been getting better at understanding your interests, it hasn’t always been easy for you to choose new topics for your feed. To help you keep up with exactly what you care about, you’ll now be able to follow topics, right from Search results. Look out for a new “Follow” button next to certain types of search results—including movies, sports teams, your favorite bands or music artists, famous people, and more. A quick tap of the the follow button and you’ll start getting updates and stories about that topic in your feed.

Broader context and deeper exploration

To provide information from diverse perspectives, news stories may have multiple viewpoints from a variety of sources, as well as other related information and articles. And when available, you’ll be able to fact check and see other relevant information to help get a more holistic understanding about the topics in your feed.

We’re also making it easier to dive deeper into any of the topics you see in your feed. At the top of every card, you’ll see a header that puts your interests front and center, letting you search that topic on Google with one tap.

Get more of the stuff you care about
With these updates to the feed, it’s easier than ever to stay in the know about exactly the things you care about and see more content to inform, inspire and entertain you. You’ll spend less time and energy trying to keep up with your interests and more time enjoying and cultivating them. Whether you’re a pet-loving, May Gibbs-reading, cricket fanatic; a surfer, camper or anything in between, your feed should fit your fancy.

The new feed experience is available in the Google app for Android (including the Pixel Launcher) and iOS, launching today in Australia. Just open the Google app and scroll up to get started with the new feed experience.

The Aussie Google Assistant is available on iOS

Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. The Google Assistant is conversational, personal and helps you get things done—from telling you about your day to taking a selfie. The Assistant is already available on all Android Marshmallow and Nougat phones, the Google Pixel, Google Home and our smart messaging app Google Allo. Now we're bringing it to even more Aussies, making it available for iPhones (iOS 9.1). If you’re keen to meet your Google Assistant on iOS, you can now download it in the iTunes App Store.

Whether you want to know how to say “how are you” in Korean, find recipes, or simply set a reminder to pick up milk on your way home, your Assistant can help. With the Google Assistant for iOS, you have your own personal, helpful Google right in your pocket. And the best thing? It’s your one Google Assistant that lives across devices––so if you add something to your shopping list on Google Home while you’re cooking and on your phone while you’re on the go, it’s the same shopping list. Your Google Assistant will also remember what you ask it to, from your name to your favorite color, favorite songs and even your bike combo.

Here are a few other things to try out on your phone—just open the Assistant app and tap the microphone button or type in your request get started:

What’s my confirmation number for my flight to Broome?
Take me to the the Art Gallery of NSW.
Show my photos of Uluru.
Do I need sunglasses today?
How many Aussie dollars is 10 Pounds?

Our goal is to make the Assistant available anywhere you need it. It came to Aussie homes through Google Home in July, and to all Android Marshmallow and Nougat phones in August. With this update, iOS users from Darwin to Hobart will now be able to try out the Aussie Google Assistant on their phones. What will you ask first?

Posted by Abhishek Ghosh, Program Manager, Google Assistant

PhD fellowships to support the cutting edge of computer science research in Australia

The Google PhD Fellowship program supports PhD students in computer science and related fields, and is part of our commitment to building strong relationships with the global academic community.
In our most recent round four PhD students in Australia have been recognised for their outstanding efforts.

  • Samaneh Movassaghi, Google Australia PhD Fellowship in Networking (Australian National University) - Research Proposal Title: iConect: Interference Coordination and Optimisation for Negligible Energy Consumption over Time in Coexisting Wireless Body Area Networks. 

Samaneh’s natural curiosity was nurtured by her family to develop inquisitive tinkering skills to discover how the world works. Taking up engineering at university she is now working to develop affordable and timely health care through the interconnection of network sensory devices worn on the body to monitor vital health signs.

  • Ekaterina Vylomova, Google Australia PhD Fellowship in Natural Language Processing (The University of Melbourne) - Research Proposal Title: Compositional Morphology through Deep Learning. 

Ekaterina’s focus on language generation and computational morphology was inspired by the works of Stanislaw LEm and Issaac Asimov on robotics and AI. When introduced by her cousin to programming she wrote her first chat-bot program “Golem”, an early experiment in AI.
  • Sarah Webber, Google Australia PhD Fellowship in Human Computer Interaction (The University of Melbourne) - Interactive Technology for Human-Animal Encounters at the Zoo.

Sarah’s research looks at digital technology designed to provide zoo animals with enriching experiences and cognitive challenges. Her PhD examines how the design of such technology can shape people's attitudes to other species, and to conservation issues. Hearing a talk by Dr Genevieve Bell first revealed to Sarah that human-computer interaction researchers were, like her, interested in how technology design can help to solve difficult societal problems - and she has been hooked ever since.

  •  Ling Luo, Google Australia PhD Fellowship in Machine Learning, (The University of Sydney) - Temporal Modelling for Customer Behaviours. 

Ling’s research in machine learning is focusing on modelling customer behaviour, including discovering temporal patterns, identifying key factors for behaviour changes and predicting future behaviour. Ling’s interest in machine learning and data mining stemmed from an introductory artificial intelligence course during her undergraduate studies. She has been fascinated by how problems can be elegantly solved by smart algorithms and computer programs. She hopes her research can contribute to the body of knowledge in data mining and user behaviour analytics, which can help discover useful information from vast and ever-growing amounts of behavioural data.
By supporting these four Australian Fellows we recognise their significant academic achievements and hope that they will go on to be leaders in their respective fields. We look forward to building even stronger links between industry and academia to help push important research forward in Australia.

Searching for Australia’s next Regional Online Heroes

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Today, we’re kicking off the search for Australia’s Regional Online Heroes - innovative businesses in regional Australia who are using the web to grow.

Regional Online Heroes recognises outstanding regional businesses from right across the country that are engaging with digital, whether that’s using online marketing to attract new customers, or great e-commerce experiences enabling online shopping from near and far.

We know that digitally engaged small businesses are 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue (Deloitte), which is great news for jobs and local communities, so we’ve joined forces with the Regional Australia Institute to find and celebrate businesses that are innovating online.

Last year’s finalists included a tea business in Cairns, a rose-petal farm in Swan Hill, a visual artist in Lismore, an agricultural software company in Toowoomba, and a health services provider in Northam, highlighting the depth and breadth of talent across regional Australia.

Finalists have the chance to take part in a digital marketing masterclass at Google HQ in Sydney to share their stories, seek advice and develop new skills.

Entries will be assessed by a panel of expert judges including:

  • Hon Michael McCormack MP – Minister for Small Business 
  • Jane Cay – Founder and Director, Birdsnest 
  • David Koch – Television Presenter, Kochie’s Business Builders 
  • Dr Sandra Phillips – Leading Indigenous Scholar, Creative Industries Faculty, School of Communications, Queensland University of Technology
  • Jack Archer – CEO, Regional Australia Institute 
  • John Ball – Managing Director of Google Marketing Solutions, Google Australia.  

Applications close on Sunday 8 October 2017. Apply now or share with a regional online hero you know - cape and funny hat not required.

Want to brush up on your digital skills? Check out the Digital Garage online or attend one of our free Digital Garage trainings coming up in Hobart or Darwin.

Android Oreo superpowers, coming to a device near you

Today, we are officially introducing Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest release of the platform–and it’s smarter, faster and more powerful than ever. It comes with new features like picture-in-picture and Autofill to help you navigate tasks seamlessly. Plus, it’s got stronger security protections and speed improvements that keep you safe and moving at lightspeed. When you’re on your next adventure, Android Oreo is the superhero to have by your side (or in your pocket!).

Android Oreo, to the rescue!
Ever try checking your schedule while staying on a video call?  Android Oreo makes it easy with picture-in-picture, letting you see two apps at once: it's like having the power to be in two places at the same time! Overwhelmed by notifications, but missing the ones you care about the most? With Android Oreo, notification dots let you tap to see what's new in your apps -- like the important ones you put on your homescreen -- and then take action on those notifications quickly.

Android 8.0 Oreo: Picture-in-picture, Notification dots

Evildoers trying to get bad software onto your device? Android Oreo is more secure with Google Play Protect built in, security status front and center in settings, and tighter app install controls.  Battery depleted and still galaxies away from a charger? Been there, too. Android Oreo helps minimize unintentional overuse of battery from apps in the background; these limits keep your battery going longer.

Supersonic speed
When you’re on the go, speed is perhaps the most important superpower. With Android Oreo, you can get started on tasks more quickly than ever with a faster boot speed (up to twice as fast on Pixel, in fact). Once you’re powered up, Autofill on Android Oreo remembers things like logins (with your permission) to quickly get you into your favorite apps. Plus, support for Android Instant Apps means you can teleport directly into new apps, no installation needed.

League of extraordinary emojis
Even superheroes don’t go it alone. Android Oreo brings along a team of fully-redesigned emojis, including over 60 new emoji to help save the day like:

Coming to a device near you
We're pushing the sources to Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to access today. Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds have entered carrier testing, and we expect to start rolling out in phases soon, alongside Pixel C and Nexus Player. We’ve also been working closely with our partners, and by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0 Oreo. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version. You can learn more at

The Aussie Google Assistant is coming to more Android phones

Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. The Google Assistant is conversational, personal and helps you get things done—from telling you about your day to taking a selfie. The Assistant is already available on Pixel, Google Home, and our smart messaging app Google Allo. Now we're bringing it to even more Aussies. Starting today, the Google Assistant is coming to smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The Google Assistant on the Nokia 6.

Whether you want to know how to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese, or find that cute photo of your kids, or simply set a reminder to do laundry when you get home, your Assistant can help. With the Google Assistant on Android phones, you have your own personal, helpful Google right in your pocket. And the best thing? It’s your one Google Assistant that lives across devices––so if you add something to your shopping list on Google Home while you’re cooking and on your phone while you’re on the go, it’s the same shopping list. Your Google Assistant will also remember what you ask it to, from your name to your favorite color, favorite songs and even your bike combo.

Here are a few other things to try out on your phone—just long press on the Home button or say “Ok Google” to get started:

What’s my confirmation number for my flight to Bali?
Take me to the Sydney Opera House.
Show my photos of the Great Barrier Reef.
Do I need an umbrella today?
How many Aussie dollars is 10 U.S. Dollars?

The Google Assistant will automatically come to eligible Android phones running Nougat and Marshmallow with Google Play Services. You'll also see the Google Assistant on some recently announced partner devices, including Nokia’s 3, 5, 6 and 8 devices.

Our goal is to make the Assistant available anywhere you need it. It came to Aussie homes through Google Home just a month ago and it has been available on Pixel and Allo since last year. With this update, Android users from Darwin to Hobart will now be able to try out the Aussie Google Assistant on their phones. What will you ask first?