Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

Official Google Australia Blog 2019-07-19 08:06:00

Google’s free digital skills training program Grow With Google will visit all states and territories in 2020, making training available for people right across Australia.

Grow with Google aims to give all Australians access to digital skills training, both online and in-person, to help them make the most of the Web.

I shared this news in front of 200 small businesses, community organisations and individuals today at a Grow with Google event at the Cronulla Sharks Leagues Club.
Caption: More than 200 small businesses, community organisations and individuals joined the Grow with Google Sutherland Shire event. 

At today’s event, local Sutherland Shire businesses learned how to grow their presence online and find new customers, and individuals at all stages of the digital journey picked up new skills and tips. 

Caption: Google Australia Country Director Mel Silva with Kirsty Tilla, owner of Cronulla business LOAF Sandwiches

It was great to bring these workshops to the Sutherland Shire to help more people get the digital skills they need to grow and thrive.

We are thrilled to be taking Grow with Google national in 2020, visiting metropolitan and regional centres across Australia so that everyone has the opportunity to participate.

Since 2014, Google has trained more than half a million people across Australia through online and in-person digital skills training, as well as curriculum integrated through school and partner programs.

Grow with Google aims to create opportunity for all Australians to grow their skills, careers, and businesses with free tools, training, and events. The next Grow with Google event will be held in Canberra on 11 September. Find out more at: g.co/GrowAustralia

Posted by Mel Silva, Country Director, Google Australia

Announcing the 2019 PhD Fellowships to support leading computer science research in Australia

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

Hua Hua, Google Phd Fellowship in Human-Computer Interaction (ANU)
Research Proposal: Learning and Reasoning about Human Place Knowledge 
Hua's research aims to make human place knowledge understandable and usable by computers. As a member of the Artificial Intelligence Research Group at ANU, he focuses on solving this problem by combining qualitative representation and reasoning with machine learning (ML) techniques.

Xuanyi Dong, Google PhD Fellowship in Machine Perception (UTS) 
Research Proposal: Automated ML with Imperfect Data for Machine Perception
Xuanyi focuses on solving real-world computer vision problems with deep learning techniques. He has been fascinated by automated ML model design and optimization, making machines better understand images and videos and making AI accessible to everyone.

Zhanna Sarsenbayeva, Google PhD Fellowship in Human-Computer Interaction (University of Melbourne) 
Research Proposal: Quantifying the Effects of Situational Impairments on Mobile Interaction
Zhanna's interest about technology and its impact on people let her pursue a career in Human-Computer Interaction. Her research is focused on a systematic understanding of the effects of different situational impairments on mobile interaction when designing accessible technology as it can benefit users of all abilities.

Zhi Tian, Google PhD Fellowship in Machine Perception (University of Adelaide)
Research Proposal: Fully Convolutional One-Stage Instance-level Recognition
Zhi Tian was awarded the Google PhD Fellowship for his work in high-performance dense per-pixel prediction for scene understanding with deep neural networks. His research looks at developing simple yet accurate deep learning techniques for fundamental computer vision tasks such as semantic pixel labelling, object detection, instance-level segmentation in images.


In supporting these Fellows we recognise their significant academic achievements and contribution. We look forward to building even stronger links to support important research in Australia.

Get in the game: Vote for your favourite AFL players with Search


We know that sport holds a special place in Aussies’ hearts – so we’re always looking for ways to help you get closer to the action. Last year, we made updates to Search and the Google Assistant to give you live scores, match results, upcoming fixtures and ladders for AFL, NRL, Rugby, Cricket and more.
The 2019 AFL season has already brought many moments to remember – like Liam Ryan's stunning mark and Eddie Betts delivering magic in the pocket. And with a cracking season underway, we’ve partnered with the Australian Football League to help bring you a new way to get into the game. Starting today, you’ll be able to vote for your favourite AFL players right on Google Search.


To have your say, just search for “AFL vote”. You can vote once per day when you’re signed into your Google Account. There will be one winner for each category, and the results will be shared on AFL.com.au soon after voting closes.

So you can mark your calendar, here are the categories and timeframes for voting:

  • Best on Ground: Voting will be open for every Friday night match from 8:30pm to 10:45pm AEST from Round 15 for the rest of the home and away season and in the Finals.
  • Player of the Round: You can vote the best player from the weekend from 3pm Monday to 3pm AEST Wednesday during the home and away season, from Round 15 onwards.
  • Fan Awards: Launching at the end of the home and away season. Stay tuned for more exciting categories!

Once you’ve voted, you can also keep up to date with the latest scores, news and the ladder. Just head to Google and type in “AFL” so you don’t miss any hangers, bumps and goals from the weekend.
Whether you’re cheering for Nat Fyfe, Tim Kelly, Luke Parker or one of my favourite Saints, like Jack Billings, be sure to cast your vote and have your say.

Happy Voting!

Australian startup TalkiPlay wins award at Google for Startups Asia Demo Day

TalkiPlay, an Australian startup that makes learning language fun for children, has won the Audience Choice Award at the Google for Startups Asia Demo Day.

The unique educational tool integrating software games and kid-friendly hardware can open up new worlds of opportunity for children in a tech-connected home.

Demo Day brings together talented entrepreneurs giving them the opportunity to shine, connect, and realise visions to solve big problems.

“As a company we certainly have ‘hatched’ through Google for Startups support and are empowered to grow, with access to global opportunities,” says Annie McAuley, founder of TalkiPlay.


TalkiPlay won the Audience Choice award at the recent Google for Startups Asia Demo Day held in Bangkok, where 11 finalists from around Asia-Pacific had the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished panel of judges.

“The collaborative atmosphere created through Google for Startups Demo Day training days meant I got the chance to connect and understand the journeys of my fellow startup founders."

"Collaboration is key to scaling a business, and I feel very fortunate to have created these international APAC collaborations,” Annie McAuley said.


Find out more about other Demo Day finalists and Google for Startups here - congratulations again to TalkiPlay!

Posted by Michael Kim, Partnerships Manager, Google for Startups

Into the Wild with Google Expeditions and Taronga Zoo

Ever wondered how to spot the difference between a black and white rhino? Or why platypuses use gravel instead of teeth? How about why koalas spend most of their day sleeping?

Kids across Australia will learn all this and more without leaving the classroom, with the latest Google Expedition, On Safari with Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo. This has all been made possible through a new collaboration with Taronga Conservation Society and the New South Wales Department of Education.

In the new tour, students from across the country and the world can be virtually transported to the Zoo where they can meet, interact and learn about the 700+ exotic and endangered species that call Taronga Zoo home. Think black rhinos, wombats, kangaroos and more!

Creating classrooms without boundaries

Expeditions was built to bring immersive experiences to as many schools as possible. Using collections of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) content, teachers are no longer limited by the space of the classroom. AR brings abstract concepts to life, allowing teachers to guide students through collections of 360° scenes and 3D objects, pointing out interesting sites and artifacts along the way.

VR tours like the latest Expedition with Taronga Western Plains Zoo, lets students explore worlds virtually. Each tour is linked with supporting materials that can be used alongside existing curriculums further aiding the learning experiences. Laurens Derks, Learning Designer from the NSW Department of Education told us that Google Expeditions is already being incorporated into lessons plans and adopted throughout the Department of Education’s network which represents the second largest school district in the world. “Educators are embracing this new way of learning. By creating an authentic learning experience, the interaction with technology will hopefully inspire students to fulfil career aspirations that require STEM skills,” says Derks.

For teachers, Google Expeditions are helping create more innovative and interactive classes. Teachers are able to craft their own VR tours, making educators and their classrooms part of the technology experience. And for students they're able to immersive themselves in technology and explore worlds they wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

Join the herd

Over 10 million worldwide students have already experienced Google Expeditions’ immersive, virtual journeys. There are over 900 virtual reality tours and more than 100 augmented reality tours exploring history, the arts, science, and our natural world. Whether you’re roaming with hippos or examining Renaissance sculptures, there’s something amazing to explore for every subject.

It’s never been easier to take students on an adventure of a lifetime. So what are you waiting for!

On Safari with Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo expedition is on display at EduTECH (6 and 7 June) in Sydney and can be found on the Expeditions app for everyone to experience.



Work, play, learn and do more with Chromebooks

From today, Aussies can enjoy a wider and more enhanced range of Chromebooks, from more retailers.

When most of us pick up a computer, we want to focus on the task at hand not software updates, security patches or document management. It was with this vision we set out to build a completely new computing experience that would be faster, smarter and more secure. A computing experience unlike any other that provides a seamless experience - either online or offline - between you and what you want to achieve.

Since 2011, Chrome OS has evolved to enter new form factors, and we’ve made significant updates to the platform to work on these new devices – scaling UI from desktops to clamshells to convertibles to detachables and even now into tablets.

From today, all Aussies can enjoy a wider and enhanced range of Chromebooks in Australia. With our partners Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo, we’re expanding the range of retail partners and devices. You’ll be able to purchase more Chromebooks via Amazon, Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi and our new Chromebooks website.

Since we first launched Chromebooks in 2010, they have made computers faster, simpler, and more secure, while eliminating everyday hassles like waiting for your computer to boot up, having to constantly charge it, and remembering to install software updates.

And a lot of people love them. Chromebooks accounted for 21% of notebooks sold in the U.S in Q4 2018 – and more than 25 million students and teachers are using Chromebooks around the world. And in Australia, Chromebooks have been helping students and teachers since 2013 so they can share ideas, create projects, go on virtual field trips, and learn from each other.

Here are some of the ways you can enjoy and do more with Chromebooks:

  • Easy access to your favourite Android apps: With the Google Play Store and the latest progressive web app technology, Chrome OS users can run powerful apps right in the browser.
  • Get help from your Assistant: Your Google Assistant is built in to all HP Chromebooks in Australia, and will come to more Chromebooks later this year. Try asking “Hey Google, what’s on my calendar today.”
  • Set healthy boundaries for the family: The Family Link app can help parents lay digital ground rules as kids explore with Chromebooks – by setting time limits, managing the apps kids download and more.
  • Enjoy seamless accessibility features: Accessibility settings sync across any Chrome OS device, so as students switch between shared devices or log in at home with their G Suite for Education account, their settings automatically update.

Whether you’re looking to learn, design, number crunch or just surf the web, you can find your favourite Chromebook here.

Investing in Australia’s Connectivity and Digital Economy

Over the last three years, Google has invested US$47 billion (approx. A$67.8 billion) in CAPEX to improve our infrastructure globally. Today we’re happy to announce that the INDIGO cable system, which connects Sydney, Perth and Singapore, is ready for service!

Developed in partnership with AARnet, Indosat, Singtel, SubPartners and Telstra, INDIGO will strengthen connectivity between Australia and Southeast Asia, boosting business capabilities within the region. It will enable better internet connectivity, meaning faster and more reliable services for all of our users.

When combined with our Cloud Regions in Sydney and Singapore, INDIGO will play a major role in supporting Google Cloud customers in Asia Pacific. We launched our Sydney Cloud Region in 2017, at the time our fourth region in Asia Pacific.

Today, we have grown our Asia Pacific cloud infrastructure to seven regions, with two more to come in Seoul and Jakarta within the first half of 2020. Australia’s demand for digital connectivity continues to grow rapidly following a boom in digital trade. According to a report by the Export Council of Australia and the Hinrich Foundation, digital trade enables A$43 billion of economic value in the domestic economy.

Google is investing and expanding its infrastructure to help Australia realise this potential and deliver on the current and future needs of its users and customers nationwide.

The new cable spans 9,200 kilometers, or the same length as 92,000 rugby fields! It’s the first subsea cable across the Great Australian Bight with a design capacity of around 36 terabits per second (Tbps).

Next up - JGA-South! 

We aren’t stopping here. The JGA consortium cable is under installation to be ready for service by Q1 2020. When it is, it will connect, Guam and Australia through 7,080 kilometres of undersea fiber optic cable system.

Stay tuned for more in the coming months on JGA-South and how we’re connecting Australia to the growing Internet ecosystem across Asia Pacific!

Posted by Ashish Ahuja and Kwok Peng Won, Global Network Infrastructure, Google Cloud

Inside the AusVotes #democracysausage map

Election day has come and gone but for the true #democracysausage enthusiasts here is a recap of how Australians engaged with the AusVotes Map, Search and YouTube.

AusVotes Map 
Hundreds of thousands of Australians turned to Google's AusVotes Election Map in the lead up to Polling Day for important information like where to vote, how to get there, and candidates by electorate. And of course, live data to show you where to snag a sausage sambo or a piece of cake.





About 2500 of the approximately 6900 polling places listed a sausage sizzle - that is just over one third of polling booths. And the sizzle sites prevailed in popularity, with almost half of clicks going to a polling place with a Sausage Sizzle!

More importantly, approximately 94 per cent of polling places showed accessibility details - making it easier for everyone to get out and vote.

Google Doodle 
We marked Election Day with a special elections Doodle, making it easier for Aussies to find where to vote with a homepage message linking to the AusVotes Map.



Trends
As Australians headed to the ballot box, they were searching for information on policies, parties and candidates. We worked with newsrooms to help journalists access these trends and explore what voters care about this election. This wasn’t about voting intentions, but it did help provide unique insights into what people are searching for and what they care about at a local level.

Election Day on YouTube 
We also reminded Australians on YouTube to vote, with a link to find their nearest polling place. For the first time, people were able to watch live simulcasts of the ABC, Seven, Nine, Ten and Sky News’ Election Night coverage on YouTube. These live streams were featured prominently in an Australian Federal Election shelf that appeared on every Aussie user’s YouTube homepage.

Find out more here on how we helped to connect Australians with useful and relevant information Election information, and of course, locate a #democracysausage.

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.