Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

Movies and TV shows available for purchase on YouTube

Winter is coming… early. Want to catch up on the final season of Game of Thrones? Did you miss Green Book, Instant Family or Mary Poppins Returns at the cinema, or want to rewatch blockbusters like Spider-Man: Homecoming or Bohemian Rhapsody?
Now, thousands of full-length feature films and shows from major and independent entertainment studios--like Roadshow Films, Walt Disney Studios, HBO and the ABC--are available to rent or buy on YouTube via desktop, iOS or Android devices.
With a vast catalogue of new releases and favourite TV shows, you can join the precinct of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, step onto the past in Outlander, or help hone your spy skills in Killing Eve, wherever and whenever you want.
“Roadshow Films is always looking for new ways to make our content more accessible to audiences around Australia. We’re excited to join forces with one of the world’s biggest video platforms so that anyone can buy or rent the latest TV shows, new films like A Star is Born and Aquaman, or classics like The Castle and Red Dog, anytime, anywhere, on any device,” said Chris Chard, Co-CEO Roadshow Films, Roadshow Entertainment.
Purchased movies and shows can be played back as many times as you like on YouTube.
Visit youtube.com/movies and youtube.com/shows today to discover and rent or buy your favourite movies and TV shows, and check back soon for even more titles and shows.

New Street View Cars to Start the Ultimate Kiwi Roadtrip


This week three new Street View vehicles will hit the streets in New Zealand, starting with the South Island, to gather updated, higher quality 360-degree imagery.


It’s been nine 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 New Zealand.



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 experience places virtually they might never have the chance to visit in person.

Keep 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 later this year.

Privacy Awareness Week 2019

Whether it’s delivering search results in the correct language or recommending the quickest route home, data can make Google products more helpful to you. And you should be able to understand and manage your data—and make privacy choices that are right for you. That’s why easy-to-use privacy features and controls have always been built into our products. We made some privacy related announcements last week that we want to highlight during Privacy Awareness Week when a lot of people and businesses are actively thinking about privacy.

One-tap access to your Google Account from all our major products 
A few years ago, we introduced Google Account to provide a comprehensive view of the information you’ve shared and saved with Google, and one place to access your privacy and security settings. Privacy controls should be easy to find and use and now we’re making it even easier to find these controls. Today you’ll see your Google Account profile picture appear in the top right corner across products like Gmail, Drive, Contacts and Pay. To quickly access your privacy controls, just tap on your picture and follow the link to your Google Account.






Auto-Delete Options 
We are also introducing automatic deletion options, which will enable Google users to set a time limit for how long they want some data to be saved. They can choose to automatically delete data from their account after 3 or 18 months. These controls are available now for Web and App Activity and they will be launched for Location History in the coming weeks.

Your Data in Maps, the Assistant, and more 
Late last year, we launched a new feature called Your Data in Search, which puts privacy and security front and centre in Google Search. We are now making this feature available in Google Maps and the Assistant, with YouTube coming later this month. This provides quick access to the most relevant privacy controls by making privacy settings easy to access while using our products. Any older data will be automatically and continuously deleted from your account.



Learn more about how we use data to power Google Maps

Incognito mode in Google apps 
Incognito is a very popular feature in Chrome and we are bringing this functionality to additional surfaces this year. It’s available in YouTube and is coming soon to Maps and Search. Tap from your profile picture to easily turn it on or off. While using Incognito, a user’s activity, for example the places they search for or navigated to, won’t be linked to their Google account. When users turn off Incognito mode, their apps and devices will be cleared of this history, enabling them to confidently share screens with friends or family.

Chrome privacy enhancements 
We also announced that we are updating Chrome to provide users with improved controls for managing cookies and stepping up our efforts to restrict “fingerprinting,” to ensure that users’ privacy choices are respected. You can read more about these changes here.

Personalised ads 
Furthermore, as part of our continued work to improve privacy in the ads-supported ecosystem, Google will provide enhanced visibility into personalised advertising, and we will provide tools for others to do the same. We believe that we can build products and privacy for everyone and we are working to bring a thoughtful and thorough approach to improving user privacy in the ad-supported ecosystem.

Our work on privacy is never done and we will continue to consider new ways for our users to manage their privacy. You can learn more about these updates in our blogpost and check out these 5 things you can do right now to stay safer online.

Computer science grants for Australian educators

Computer science skills are important across a wide range of industries, from health and science to agriculture or the arts.

Equipping teachers with the knowledge, resources and support to teach computer science (CS) has never been more important. Google continues to support CS education in Australia and New Zealand with the 2019 Educator Professional Development Grants.

Past awardees have reached over 15,000 teachers throughout Australia and New Zealand, which in turn impacts over 390,000 students.



When Mountain Creek State High School in Queensland received their first Google funded professional development (PD) grant 4 years ago, there were no PD opportunities in the Sunshine Coast region. Since then, more than 1,100 local teachers have received quality training in areas such as robotics, computational thinking and skills development through these workshops.

Last year, 120 teachers from the region attended the school’s workshop, focused on introducing robotics and computational thinking for primary and secondary schools.

Workshop organiser and teacher Graeme Breen said these workshops are a launchpad for teachers to further engage with technology: “The participation by these schools in robotics comps such as Sumo and FIRST LEGO League is really strong evidence that teachers and schools are keen, but perhaps just need some assistance getting started, which Google funding of this event provides.”

These workshops have been pivotal not only for the teachers that attend but also for the growth of opportunities for their schools, and the attendees were "excited to see what it will look like for students across the region".

We’re excited to announce the 2019 CS Educator Grants Awardees, who will continue to motivate and inspire educators.

2019 CS Educator Grants Funding Recipients Australia:

Australia
New Zealand

Congratulations to this year's awardees - we can't wait to see how you make an impact!


Posted by Marie Efstathiou, Program Manager, Engineering Outreach

A little help from Google to map your election day

With just over a week until election day, our interactive AusVotes Election Map is back to provide some of the most important information for the big day—like where to vote, how to get there, and who’s on the ballot. Plus, it has live data to show you where to snag a sausage sanga.

From today, Australians can visit g.co/ausvotes to find polling booths near them along with details about accessibility. Simply enter your postcode, suburb or electorate and voila—you’ll see all your local information.

   

Thanks to Democracy Sausage, you’ll also be able to see if there’s a sausage sizzle or cake stall at your local polling booth.



We’ve made it simple for anyone with a website to embed and display the map, which is fully customisable so you can show a national map or an electorate view (just follow the embed link in the footer).

Find out more here on how we are helping to connect Australians with useful and relevant information election information online, and enjoy your #democracysausage.

Australia’s Eastern Health named as Google AI Impact Challenge Grantee

As part of Google’s AI for Social Good program, we launched the Google AI Impact Challenge, based on our strong belief that emerging technologies will help us address big social, humanitarian and environmental problems. We were blown away by the number of proposals we received: 2,602 applications from 119 countries, nearly two thirds of the world’s countries.

Today, 20 organisations were announced that will share $25 million USD in grants from Google.org, credit and consulting from Google Cloud, mentoring from Google AI experts and the opportunity to join a customized accelerator program from Google Developers Launchpad - including Australia’s Eastern Health!

Eastern Health will receive $1.2M AUD to develop a national monitoring system which has the potential to set international standards informing suicide prevention efforts. As ambulances are often the first point of contact with someone who is suicidal, ambulance clinical records are significantly under-utilised to treat and prevent suicide.

By using AI tools to analyse this valuable data, Eastern Health aims to uncover critical suicide trends and potential points of intervention to better inform policy and public health responses.



The other organisations selected as grantees of the Google AI Impact Challenge address issues in the areas of health, economic opportunity and empowerment, environmental protection and conservation, education, misinformation and crisis and emergency response. Find out more about other projects here.

Forty percent of the applications came from organisations with no previous experience with artificial intelligence, which is still a developing concept in the social impact field. Our job, as we thoroughly vetted the applications, was to choose the best projects based on feasibility, potential for impact, scalability and the responsible use of AI.

Next week, the grantees will converge in San Francisco for the kickoff of the Google AI Impact Challenge Accelerator, the six-month program run by Google Developers Launchpad. Eastern Health will join a local network of more than 20 non-profits in Australia supported by Google.org to use technology to help address Australia’s biggest social challenges. Congratulations Eastern Health!

At I/O ’19: Building a more helpful Google for everyone



Cross-posted from the global Keyword blog

Today, we welcomed thousands of people to I/O, our annual developer’s conference. It’s one of my favorite events of the year because it gives us a chance to show how we’re bringing Google’s mission to life through new technological breakthroughs and products. Our mission to make information universally accessible and useful hasn’t changed over the past 21 years, but our approach has evolved over time. Google is no longer a company that just helps you find answers. Today, Google products also help you get stuff done, whether it’s finding the right words with Smart Compose in Gmail, or the fastest way home with Maps.

Simply put, our vision is to build a more helpful Google for everyone, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you’re hoping to accomplish. When we say helpful, we mean giving you the tools to increase your knowledge, success, health, and happiness. I’m excited to share some of the products and features we announced today that are bringing us closer to that goal.

Helping you get better answers to your questions 

People turn to Google to ask billions of questions every day. But there’s still more we can do to help you find the information you need. Today, we announced that we’ll bring the popular Full Coverage feature from Google News to Search. Using machine learning, we’ll identify different points of a story—from a timeline of events to the key people involved—and surface a breadth of content including articles, tweets and even podcasts.

Sometimes the best way to understand new information is to see it. New features in Google Search and Google Lens use the camera, computer vision and augmented reality (AR) to provide visual answers to visual questions. And now we’re bringing AR directly into Search. If you’re searching for new shoes online, you can see shoes up close from different angles and even see how they go with your current wardrobe. You can also use Google Lens to get more information about what you’re seeing in the real world. So if you’re at a restaurant and point your camera at the menu, Google Lens will highlight which dishes are popular and show you pictures and reviews from people who have been there before. In GoogleGo, a search app for first-time smartphone users, Google Lens will read out loud the words you see, helping the millions of adults around the world who struggle to read everyday things like street signs or ATM instructions.


Helping to make your day easier

Last year at I/O we introduced our Duplex technology, which can make a restaurant reservation through the Google Assistant by placing a phone call on your behalf. Now, we’re expanding Duplex beyond voice to help you get things done on the web. To start, we’re focusing on two specific tasks: booking rental cars and movie tickets. Using “Duplex on the Web,” the Assistant will automatically enter information, navigate a booking flow, and complete a purchase on your behalf. And with massive advances in deep learning, it’s now possible to bring much more accurate speech and natural language understanding to mobile devices—enabling the Google Assistant to work faster for you.

We continue to believe that the biggest breakthroughs happen at the intersection of AI, software and hardware, and today we announced two Made by Google products: the new Pixel 3a (and 3a XL), and the Google Nest Hub Max. With Pixel 3a, we’re giving people the same features they love on more affordable hardware. Google Nest Hub Max brings the helpfulness of the Assistant to any room in your house, and much more.

Building for everyone

Building a more helpful Google is important, but it’s equally important to us that we are doing this for everyone. From our earliest days, Search has worked the same, whether you’re a professor at Stanford or a student in rural Indonesia. We extend this approach to developing technology responsibly, securely, and in a way that benefits all.

This is especially important in the development of AI. Through a new research approach called TCAV—or testing with concept activation vectors—we’re working to address bias in machine learning and make models more interpretable. For example, TCAV could reveal if a model trained to detect images of “doctors” mistakenly assumed that being male was an important characteristic of being a doctor because there were more images of male doctors in the training data. We’ve open-sourced TCAV so everyone can make their AI systems fairer and more interpretable, and we’ll be releasing more tools and open datasets soon.

Another way we’re building responsibly for everyone is by ensuring that our products are safe and private. We’re making a set of privacy improvements so that people have clear choices around their data. Google Account, which provides a single view of your privacy control settings, will now be easily accessible in more products with one tap. Incognito mode is coming to Maps, which means you can search and navigate without linking this activity with your Google account, and new auto-delete controls let you choose how long to save your data. We’re also making several security improvements on Android Q, and we’re building the protection of a security key right into the phone for two-step verification.

As we look ahead, we’re challenging the notion that products need more data to be more helpful. A new technique called federated learning allows us to train AI models and make products smarter without raw data ever leaving your device. With federated learning, Gboard can learn new words like “zoodles” or “Targaryen” after thousands of people start using them, without us knowing what you’re typing. In the future, AI advancements will provide even more ways to make products more helpful with less data.

Building for everyone also means ensuring that everyone can access and enjoy our products, including people with disabilities. Today we introduced several products with new tools and accessibility features, including Live Caption, which can caption a conversation in a video, a podcast or one that’s happening in your home. In the future, Live Relay and Euphonia will help people who have trouble communicating verbally, whether because of a speech disorder or hearing loss.


Developing products for people with disabilities often leads to advances that improve products for all of our users. This is exactly what we mean when we say we want to build a more helpful Google for everyone. We also want to empower other organizations who are using technology to improve people’s lives. Today, we recognized the winners of the Google AI Impact Challenge, 20 organizations using AI to solve the world’s biggest problems—from creating better air quality monitoring systems to speeding up emergency responses.

Our vision to build a more helpful Google for everyone can’t be realized without our amazing global developer community. Together, we’re working to give everyone the tools to increase their knowledge, success, health and happiness. There’s a lot happening, so make sure to keep up with all the I/O-related news.

Pixel 3a: the helpful (and more affordable) phone by Google






These days, you expect a lot from a smartphone. You want a camera that can take vivid, share-worthy photos wherever you go. You need a tool that connects you to the world with all your favourite apps and also helps out during the day. And you want a phone that has a battery that is reliable for long stretches, while it stays secure and up to date with the latest software. The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are all of those things and more, for half the price of other premium phones.

Pixel 3a has a familiar two-tone design like it’s predecessors, fits nicely in your hand, and includes an OLED display for crisp images and bright colours. The phone comes in two colours—Just Black, Clearly White—and two sizes, starting in Australia at $649 for the 5.6-inch display and $799 for the 6-inch model. Eligible customers who activate a Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL by 30/09/19 and redeem by 31/10/19 can get a 3-month trial of YouTube Music Premium on us (restrictions and terms apply).

High-end features: camera, Google Assistant, battery life and security 

Google Pixel 3a delivers what you’d expect from a premium device. Known for its award-winning camera, Pixel 3a lets you take stunning photos with features such as portrait mode and HDR+, or use Night Sight to capture shots in the dark. Google Photos is built in, so you can save all your photos and videos with unlimited storage at high quality.1 The battery provides up to 7 hours of battery life on a 15-minute charge and up to 30 hours on a full charge.2

Squeeze Pixel 3a for the Google Assistant to send texts, get directions and set reminders—simply using your voice.3  We’ll help protect your Pixel 3a against new threats,4 by providing three years of Android security and operating system updates. It also comes with the custom-built Titan M chip to help protect your most sensitive data.5

New features at a more accessible price 

Pixel makes it easy to use Google apps like YouTube, Google Photos and Gmail. And you'll get access to new features first. Pixel 3a and the entire Pixel portfolio will get a preview of AR in Google Maps—the next time you're getting around town, you can see walking directions overlaid on the world itself, rather than looking at a blue dot on a map.6 This helps you know precisely where you are, and exactly which way to start walking (in areas covered on Street View where there’s a good data connection and good lighting).



Time lapse is coming to Google Pixel 3a, so soon you will be able to capture an entire sunset in just a few seconds of video—great for posting on social media or messaging to your friends.


Buy it in-store or online from more places 

Google Pixel 3a is now available in Australia with our exclusive carrier launch partner, Vodafone. Both Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are available at JB HiFi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks and the Google Store. If you’re new to Pixel, you can transfer photos, music, and media quickly with the included Quick Switch Adapter.7 If you need a little extra help, 24/7 support from Google is just a tap away in the tips and support link in the settings menu. You can even share your screen for guided assistance.

Look for Pixel 3a beginning today.


Google Photos offers unlimited online storage for all photos and videos uploaded in high quality. Photos and videos uploaded in high quality may be compressed or resized. Requires Google Account. Data rates may apply. g.co/help/photostorage
2 Approximate battery life based on a mix of talk, data, standby, mobile hotspot, and use of other features, with always on display off. An active display or data usage will decrease battery life. Charging rates are based upon use of the included charger. Actual results may vary.
3 Requires internet connection.
4 Android version updates for at least three years from when the device first became available on the Google Store. See g.co/pixel/updates for details
5 See g.co/pixel/security for additional security information.
6 Requires published Google Street View imagery, bright outdoor light, and may not be available in all areas
7 Some third party apps and data may not be transferred automatically. Visit g.co/pixel/help for information.

YouTube Stories: How Aussies are learning through video

From life-saving inventions to new ways of teaching, meet three Aussies who are using what they've learned on YouTube to create lasting change. 

When I was in school during the 90s, watching videos in the classroom was a highlight of any week. The teacher would roll in a television on a cart, pop in a VHS tape, and then we’d enjoy whatever scratchy nature documentary my teacher had checked out from the school video library. Sight, sound and motion have always had the power to engage students.
Now, teachers and students are taking it to a whole new level with YouTube. Every day, more and more people are turning to YouTube to learn with educational videos generating hundreds of millions of views. In fact, 81 percent* of Aussies watch videos to learn how to do something and content with 'how-to' in the title generated more than one billion hours of watch time in 2017, up 75 percent since 2015.
Charles, Macinley and Eddie are but three Aussies using YouTube to learn and follow their passions...


Barbering for Change 

After struggling in school and making some poor decisions when he was younger, Charles Lomu wanted to break the cycle and set his life on a new path--so after putting his kids to bed each night, he jumped on YouTube and watched hundreds of hours of content to learn how to become a barber. He discovered everything he needed to start cutting hair, before setting up a barbershop in his Western Sydney garage. But this isn’t your average barbershop, with his clients ranging from former inmates and young men at risk of falling into crime, to suburban blokes who find comfort confiding in him. Extending his dream even further, Charles also runs a barbering class at Granville Boys High School, working with disengaged students. He’s trying to give back to the community, not only through offering haircuts, but as someone to talk to--all with the hope of changing the problems that old world masculinity is causing in his local community. For Charles, it comes back to one simple mantra: “You don’t have to be certified to be educated, but you have to be experienced to be qualified.”


Inventing Armour to Battle Radiation 

18-year-old Macinley Butson is a remarkable young woman. Long interested in science, she started inventing from early childhood and at just 17 years of age created SMART Armour--a shield to reduce excess radiation for breast cancer patients going through treatment. It’s an invention that has the potential to change cancer treatments around the world. To develop the SMART Armour, Macinley relied on YouTube videos from various creators not just to help her better understand scientific journals and research but to learn the art of making scale maille.
Many of these learning stories are also powered by an incredible community of EduTubers like BrainCraft, Draw with Jazza, Tibees or WooTube, whose videos have demonstrated the appeal of content that enriches as well as entertains.


Sharing the Wonder of Mathematics 

Eddie Woo is a passionate mathematics teacher who so ardently believes in the importance of education that when one of his students was diagnosed with cancer and needed to take long periods of time off school, Eddie started recording his classes and uploading them to YouTube so the student wouldn’t miss out. His journey since has been remarkable. He now has over 580,000 subscribers from all around the world, 32 million video views, and is still uploading. Recently he won Local Australian of the Year and was named in the top 10 teachers in the world. But he too is a student of YouTube--turning to channels from around the world to hone his video production and presentation skills to ensure he is producing the best quality content for others. I recently spoke to Eddie and asked why YouTube? He simply responded: “YouTube is the epitome of what schools and teachers try to do. To be with the learner at their point of need. YouTube is there for me, it serves me, not the reverse. I learn because I want to not because someone told me to.”
We may not all become inventors, mathematicians or community champions but we can promise that anyone who wants to learn or teach will have ever greater opportunities to do both on YouTube. You can get started now with YouTube Learning.
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-paqKMwiWKb4/XNDgGZYcVtI/AAAAAAAACCs/DTKoG5vkK9IO6liJ95eUbTAgxS5zA9T6gCLcBGAs/s1600/Charles_Lomu_230.jpg
*Google/Ipsos ‘Human Stories Quantitative Study’, August 2017, Australia, n=2,529 males/female YouTube users aged 18-54

Celebrate the mums and grans in your life with Google Home Hub

We all love looking back at family photos, but often the process of preserving and sharing our photos isn’t as fun as it is snapping them. If you’re that person who takes hundreds of photos at family gatherings (and sometimes forgets to share them), Google Home Hub can give you a helping hand this Mother’s Day.

Hub doubles as a digital photo frame that is easy to set up, automatically refreshes the photos that are displayed, and with the power of AI, features your best shots. Whether you’re taking photos or curating collections to make mum or gran smile, here are a few ways Google Home Hub can help you celebrate your most treasured memories together:

Automatically organise and share your memories with live albums... 

We take lots of photos and videos with the important people in our lives, but sharing those memories can take time. To help you curate and share your most treasured family memories, live albums with Google Photos lets you see your best and latest shots on Hub automatically. Just choose the people (and pets) you want to see, and Google Photos will automatically add photos of them to your album as you take them (avoiding duplicates and blurry shots).

… and keep mum and gran in the loop 

If your mum or gran loves constant photo updates of what your family gets up to, Hub can help you keep her in the loop. Instead of sending her photos via message every day, you can set up a live album on her Hub device with your Photos account so she can see your special moments as they happen. You still have full control of which photos she can see – only the highlights with certain people, or the ones you’ve selected as favourites. Now you’re off the hook for forgetting to send updates! See how to set up live albums and the photo frame feature here.

Dust off and digitise old prints 

We all have those old albums and boxes of photos, but we don’t take the time to digitise them because it’s time consuming and the result is often of low quality. With PhotoScan you can scan mum or gran’s favourite print photos for free and enjoy them on Hub. PhotoScan detects edges, straightens the image, rotates it to the correct orientation, and removes glare using the power of machine learning. Scanned photos can be saved in one tap to Google Photos to be organised, searchable, shared, and safely backed up at high quality—for free. And ta-da – you could unveil this collection as a surprise on Hub on Mother’s Day!


Search and replay the memories with a simple voice command 

You can finally say goodbye to endless scrolling on your phone to find photos you’re looking for! When you’re at Sunday lunch at home you can gather the family and say “Hey Google, show my photos with mum from last December” or “Show my photos with gran in the Blue Mountains” to bring up some of your favourite memories for everyone to enjoy.



Beyond the magic of Photos, Hub can also give mum the gift of inspiration. It can play her favourite music, guide her through recipes – and give her a yoga class!

Whether you're spending the day at home or out and about, we hope Hub and Google Photos can help add to your celebrations this Mother's Day.