Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

Say G’day to the new Google My Business app, and say hello to your next customer

Every month, in Australia, Google drives tens of millions of direct connections between businesses and their customers including calls, online reservations and direction requests.
Enabling these interactions was our goal when we first introduced Google My Business in Australia four years ago, a free tool that helps small business owners reach more people online and connect with their customers through Google, so they can grow their business and spend more of their time doing what they do best—running it.
As a next step into that journey, today we are excited to announce the release of the new Google My Business app, an even easier way for small businesses to turn those direct connections into customers. Let’s look at how one small business, Khamsa, gets new customers with the app, and read on for details about what’s new:


  • A simple, free way to stand out on Google and get new customers with a great Business Profile: With a press of the new Post button in the app, you can upload a photo, create an offer or event and add it right to your Business Profile on Google. You can also manage your business information on Google from the Profile tab and watch your edits appear seamlessly across Search and Maps. 
  • Your customers on Google – all in one place: When people find you on Google, they can connect with you in a number of ways -- calling, messaging, or even leaving a review -- right from your Business Profile. You’ll be able to see all of these customers on Google in one place from the app’s new Customers tab. From here, you can easily respond to customer reviews and post offers to your followers to keep them coming back in the door, and soon you’ll be able to respond to messages right from the app. And because Google My Business is always on the clock, we’ll be sure to notify you when you get a new customer connection. 
  • Keep track of the results that matter: See how many people are finding and connecting with you from your Business Profile on Google. We’ve put your profile results front-and-center on the home screen so you’re always in the know. 
No matter if you’re a dog grooming business in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, or an Australian Teddy Bear shop in Tambo, people are searching for your business on Google. Turn those searchers into customers with the new, free Google My Business app. Available for download in Google Play or the App Store today.

Say G’day to the new Google My Business app, and say hello to your next customer

Every month, in Australia, Google drives tens of millions of direct connections between businesses and their customers including calls, online reservations and direction requests.
Enabling these interactions was our goal when we first introduced Google My Business in Australia four years ago, a free tool that helps small business owners reach more people online and connect with their customers through Google, so they can grow their business and spend more of their time doing what they do best—running it.
As a next step into that journey, today we are excited to announce the release of the new Google My Business app, an even easier way for small businesses to turn those direct connections into customers. Let’s look at how one small business, Khamsa, gets new customers with the app, and read on for details about what’s new:


  • A simple, free way to stand out on Google and get new customers with a great Business Profile: With a press of the new Post button in the app, you can upload a photo, create an offer or event and add it right to your Business Profile on Google. You can also manage your business information on Google from the Profile tab and watch your edits appear seamlessly across Search and Maps. 
  • Your customers on Google – all in one place: When people find you on Google, they can connect with you in a number of ways -- calling, messaging, or even leaving a review -- right from your Business Profile. You’ll be able to see all of these customers on Google in one place from the app’s new Customers tab. From here, you can easily respond to customer reviews and post offers to your followers to keep them coming back in the door, and soon you’ll be able to respond to messages right from the app. And because Google My Business is always on the clock, we’ll be sure to notify you when you get a new customer connection. 
  • Keep track of the results that matter: See how many people are finding and connecting with you from your Business Profile on Google. We’ve put your profile results front-and-center on the home screen so you’re always in the know. 
No matter if you’re a dog grooming business in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, or an Australian Teddy Bear shop in Tambo, people are searching for your business on Google. Turn those searchers into customers with the new, free Google My Business app. Available for download in Google Play or the App Store today.

It’s time to Wiggle, Wiggle, Wiggle with your Google Assistant


The countdown to summer holidays is on!  As you slap on the sunscreen, dust off the decorations and fire up the barbie, you might be looking for more activities for the family when you’re at home or on a long drive over the holidays.

The Google Assistant can inspire your family to learn, play and stay entertained with a range of games, activities and stories. You can play musical chairs, unwind with an audiobook – and now, you can embark on a wonderful, Wiggly adventure!

Starting today, families in Australia, the US, Canada and the UK will be able to choose their own adventure with a new custom Wiggles experience commissioned by Google exclusively for the Assistant.  You can enjoy this experience with your Assistant on Google Home, Google Home Mini or Max – or a compatible smartphone. Just say “Hey Google, talk to The Wiggles” and you’ll be on your way!


Play, dance and help Emma Wiggle find her friends

This new experience invites families to guide Emma’s journey through town to find her Wiggle friends so they can get to The Wiggles concert on time.  Along the way, you can dance, play games, and listen to fun songs with Emma, Lachy, Anthony, Simon, and more Wiggle friends.

Learn and discover

Through this new adventure, families can practice core skills together, such as decision making, counting and naming colours. Want to take a new adventure? Give it another whirl! Each choice leads to a different journey, allowing you to discover more experiences, situations and characters each time!

More family fun

If you want to mix it up, Aussie families can enjoy even more Assistant Actions and activities with a simple voice command. Ask your Assistant for a joke, a fun fact or try some of these queries to unlock a world of magic (starting with “Hey Google…”):

  • 'Talk to Learning Time with Timmy" to learn and practice sounds and colours with Timmy.
  • “Tell me a story” or “Tell me a story about a kangaroo” to hear Australian short stories set in iconic locations such as Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, brought to you by Funky Kids Radio.
  • “Talk to Moshi Twilight” at bedtime to hear a Sleep Story (such as Across the Swooniverse) or a soothing sound (like a Franzipan Farm Birdsong).
  • “Talk to Little Baby Bum” to play songs or games, such as the Potty Song or the Choo Choo Train eating game.
Stay across your child's activities

With their parent's permission, children under 13 can also have their own personalised Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link. Family Link helps parents manage their child’s Google Account while they explore. And with Voice Match, your family can train the Assistant to recognise up to six different voices, so that each family member can get help from their own personal Assistant.

Whether you’re indoors or on the go, we hope these Assistant experiences can bring you a bit more adventure. Just say “Hey Google, talk to The Wiggles” and have a bowtiful day!

Posted by Kia Wahl, Product Partnerships Manager for the Google Assistant, Australia

Protecting what we love about the internet: our efforts to stop online piracy

The internet has enabled people worldwide to connect, create and distribute new works of art like never before. A key part of preserving this creative economy is ensuring creators and artists have a way to share and make money from their content—and preventing the flow of money to those who seek to pirate that content. Today, we're releasing our latest update on those efforts.

Our 2018 "How Google Fights Piracy" report explains the programs, policies, and technology we put in place to combat piracy online and ensure continued opportunities for creators around the world. 

We invest significantly in the technology, tools and resources that prevent copyright infringement on our platforms. We also work with others across the industry on efforts to combat piracy. These efforts appear to be having an effect: around the world, online piracy has been decreasing, while spending on legitimate content is rising across content categories.


Here are a few of our findings from this year's Piracy report:
  • $3 billion+: The amount YouTube has paid to rights holders who have monetized use of their content in other videos through Content ID, our industry-leading rights management tool
  • $100 million+: The amount we’ve invested in building Content ID, including staffing and computing resources. 
  • $1.8 billion+: The amount YouTube paid to the music industry from October 2017 to September 2018 in advertising revenue alone. 
  • 3 billion+: The number of URLs that were removed from Search for infringing copyright since launching a submission tool for copyright owners and their agents. 
  • 10 million+: The number of ads that were disapproved by Google in 2017 that were suspected of copyright infringement or that linked to infringing sites. 
As we continue our work in the years ahead, five principles guide our substantial investments in fighting piracy:

Create more and better legitimate alternatives: Piracy often arises when it's difficult for consumers to access legitimate content. By developing products that make it easy for users to access legitimate content, like Google Play Music and YouTube, Google helps drive revenue for creative industries and give consumers choice.

Follow the money: As the vast majority of sites dedicated to online piracy are doing so to make money, one way to combat them is to cut off their supply. We prevent actors that engage in copyright infringement from using our ads and monetization systems and we enforce these policies rigorously. 

Be efficient, effective, and scalable: We strive to implement anti-piracy solutions that work at scale. For example, as early as 2010, we began making substantial investments in streamlining the copyright removal process for search results. As a result, these improved procedures allow us to process copyright removal requests for search results at the rate of millions per week.

Guard against abuse: Some actors will make false copyright infringement claims in order to have content they don't want online taken down. We’re committed to detecting and rejecting bogus infringement allegations, such as removals for political or competitive reasons.

Provide transparency: We’re committed to providing transparency. In our Transparency Report, we disclose the number of requests we receive from copyright owners and governments to remove information from our services.

Today, our services are generating more revenue for creators and rights holders, connecting more people with the content they love, and doing more to fight back against online piracy than ever before. We’re proud of the progress this report represents. Through continued innovation and partnership, we’re committed to curtailing infringement by bad actors while empowering the creative communities who make many of the things we love about the internet today.

Backing Australia’s forward thinkers – meet the 2018 Google.org Impact Challenge winners

Australian nonprofits and social enterprises are finding new ways to address some of our most challenging problems - from education and economic opportunity to social inclusion.

Through the Google.org Impact Challenge we set out to find organisations that have great ideas to use technology to solve a problem and make an impact. Last month, we announced ten finalists and gave Australians the chance to vote for their favourite projects.

Today, we heard amazing pitches from each of the ten finalists and a panel of esteemed judges selected the winners. Three winners were selected by our judges, in addition to the People’s Choice Award winner - as voted by you!





Congratulations to the four winners, who will each receive a $1 million grant from Google.org:
  • Xceptional - an anxiety-reducing app addressing the massive challenge of autism unemployment. 
  • Hireup - a platform for people with disabilities to find, hire, and manage support workers who fit their needs and share their interests. 
  • Humanitix - improving access to events for people with disabilities through cognitive technologies and by redistributing booking fees to reduce global inequality. 
  • Orange Sky Australia - technology to help nonprofits track their impact on people experiencing homelessness (People’s Choice winner). 
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Hon Karen Andrews MP presented the People’s Choice Award and spoke about the importance of innovation in Australia.



All of the finalists had outstanding ideas to address some of our most pressing challenges and each of the remaining six finalists were awarded $250,000 each.

These projects are:



Thank you to our amazing panel of judges including: Professor Alan Finkel AO; Professor Tom Calma AO; Su McCluskey; Dr Sarah Pearson; Morris Iemma; Jacquelline Fuller and Anil Sabharwal.

 


Huge congratulations to the winners and finalists who will share in $5.5 million and support from Google. Thank you to everyone who voted - with your support these Australian nonprofits can continue to make the world a better place, faster.

AI for Social Good

In pop culture, artificial intelligence (AI) often shows up as a robot companion, like TARS in “Interstellar,” or some far-out superintelligence. But in reality, AI—computer programming tools that help us find patterns in complex data and make everyday products more useful—already powers a lot of technology around us, and is addressing some of society’s biggest unsolved challenges.

For the past few years we’ve been applying core Google AI research and engineering to projects with positive societal impact, including forecasting floods, protecting whales, and predicting famine. Today we’re unifying these efforts in a new program called AI for Social Good. We’re applying AI to a wide range of problems, partnering with external organizations to work toward solutions.

 

But we’re far from having all the answers—or even knowing all the questions. We want people from as many backgrounds as possible to surface problems that AI can help solve, and to be empowered to create solutions themselves. So as a part of AI for Social Good, we’re also launching the Google AI Impact Challenge, a global call for nonprofits, academics, and social enterprises from around the world to submit proposals on how they could use AI to help address some of the world’s greatest social, humanitarian and environmental problems.

We’ll help selected organizations bring their proposals to life with coaching from Google’s AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool, and credits and consulting from Google Cloud. Grantees will also join a specialized Launchpad Accelerator program, and we’ll tailor additional support to each project’s needs in collaboration with data science nonprofit DataKind. In spring of 2019, an international panel of experts, who work in computer science and the social sector, will help us choose the top proposals.

We don’t expect applicants to be AI experts. For any nonprofit or researcher who has a great idea or wants help brainstorming one, we've built an educational guide with introductions to AI and the types of problems it’s well-suited for, as well as workshops in key locations around the world.

To give you a sense of the potential we see, here are a few examples of how Google and others have already used AI over the past few years:
  • Wildlife conservation: To better protect endangered whales, we have to know where they are. With AI developed at Google—in the same vein as research by college student Daniel de Leon—it’s possible to quickly scan 100,000 hours of audio recorded in the Pacific to identify whale sounds. We hope one day we can not only better identify whales in these recordings, but also accurately deploy this system at scale to find and protect whales.
  • Employment: In South Africa, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator helps connect unemployed youth with entry-level positions. As a participant in Google Cloud’s Data Solutions for Change program, they’ve used data analytics and ML to match over 50,000 candidates with jobs.
  • Flood prediction: Floods affect up to 250 million people, causing thousands of fatalities and inflicting billions of dollars of economic damage every year. At Google, we’ve combined physics-based modeling and AI to provide earlier and more accurate flood warnings through Google Public Alerts.
  • Wildfire prevention: Two high school students in California built a device that uses AI to identify and predict areas in a forest that are susceptible to wildfires. This technology could one day provide an early warning to fire authorities.
  • Infant health: Ubenwa is a Canadian company that built an AI system to analyze the sounds of a baby crying and predict the risk of birth asphyxia (when a baby's brain and other organs don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients during birth). It’s a mobile app so it can be widely used even where doctors aren’t readily available.
We’re excited to see what new ideas nonprofits, developers and social entrepreneurs from across the world come up with—and we’re looking forward to supporting them as best we can.

Neighbourhood Sounds of Australia, Now Playing on YouTube Music

“For us music is the pinnacle art form, it’s immediate, emotive, therapeutic and nurturing. It transcends language barriers to wrench emotion from the hearts and minds of otherwise disparate peoples. It is magic without smoke and mirrors.” - Quincy McLean, Abbotsford local, and co-owner of Bakehouse Studios and founder of Save Live Australia's Music 
To celebrate the distinct sounds from various parts of Australia, YouTube Music has teamed up with local heroes across the country to capture their Neighbourhood Sounds - the music at the heart of their communities.
13 curators from across Australia have taken on the challenge of handpicking the unique sounds of their suburb, with the playlists now on YouTube Music - a music streaming service built on top of all the music on YouTube that you can’t find anywhere else, personalised and all simply organised in one app and web player.

“I think music is an important part of everyone’s culture. It affects and connects mood and reflects the personality of a community.” - Brenda Miley, Bondi local, and Competition Director at Bondi Girls Surf Riders, and Founder and Director of Let’s Go Surfing 
These new playlists contain over 34 hours of songs, with more than 80 per cent from Aussie artists, and feature official tracks, live recordings, covers and remixes.
From Windsor, Abbotsford, Newtown, Bondi, Fremantle, Salamanca or Alice Springs, there is a unique beat that pulses through communities that both locals and travellers can recognise, and now listen to.

“There are a lot of amazing artists who pass through our neighbourhood. Most of them leave a mark with a song, a picture or a performance that will go down in history.” - Clint Hyndman from Windsor, drummer/musician and owner of Yellow Bird Cafe 

“Our playlist focuses on local, contemporary artists who are all actively creating relevant work that expresses our times and resonates with our people…. I want them [listeners] to feel immersed, comforted embraced, sometimes challenged and others enchanted as they walk the streets of our neighbourhood.” - Helen Marcou, Abbotsford local, and co-owner of Bakehouse Studios and founder of Save Live Australia's Music 
Search your neighbourhood in YouTube Music to find your local sounds or create your own playlist that represents your ‘hood.
(Listen to the sounds of Abbotsford, Adelaide City, Alice Springs, Bondi, Byron Bay, Canberra, Fremantle, The Gardens, Morningside, Newtown, Salamanca, Windsor and Wollongong now.)

Spotlight on digital in the middle of Australia

More than 1,500 kilometres from Adelaide and almost the same distance from Darwin, Alice Springs is light on neighbours but big on community, with a thriving tourism and small business sector.

Over 50 business people from across the Northern Territory came together today to learn new digital skills and find out more about getting online at the Google Digital Garage, hosted with the Chamber of Commerce Northern Territory.



Deputy Speaker of the Northern Territory Parliament and Member for Namatjira, Chansey Paech MLA spoke about the importance of small business in Central Australia for the economy and jobs.

He also spoke about plans to deliver better internet connection to remote Aboriginal communities as part of the NT Government's new Digital Strategy.

Deputy Speaker of the NT Parliament and Member for Namatjira, Chansey Paech MLA 

There was strong representation from the tourism sector, along with the arts community, retail, hospitality, trades and the community sector.

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



At Google, we want to make sure everyone has 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 has visited most states and territories this year and is continuing events in weeks to come - find events near you or learn more online at The Digital Garage!

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Take the ultimate Selfie by the Sea with Google Pixel 3



It’s that wonderful time of year again. Spring has sprung, daylight savings has started – and the Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk has been magically transformed with spectacular sculptures. To celebrate the extraordinary art featured at 'Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi 2018' we’re delighted to bring three installations to the exhibit, inviting Aussies to engage with the artworks in new ways.


Discover extraordinary art, from new angles

From three elevated lookouts in Marks Park, Mackenzies Bay and Tamarama beach, attendees will be able to enjoy new perspectives along the coastal path which were not previously accessible – and get everybody in for the ultimate group selfie.  

Get everything and everyone in

By taking their ‘Selfies by the Sea’ to new levels, attendees can capture more installations, scenery and people in one frame. They will also be able to try out the new group selfie feature on the Google Pixel 3, which gives up to 184% more room for friends and scenery in the photo.* No selfie stick required.

Learn more about the installations

Come and visit the installations until November 5 to try out the new Google Pixel 3 ahead of the public launch. Also, every 15 minutes between 9am-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the exhibition, you can enjoy a free 40 minute photo tour to learn more about the art exhibits and get tips on how to capture the ultimate photo, starting near the Pixel 3 lookout in Marks Park. Existing Pixel 1 & Pixel 2 users who show their phone can also enjoy expedited entry!

About Sculpture by the Sea Bondi, 2018: This year marks the 22nd year in which Sydney’s breathtaking Bondi to Tamarama coastal walk has been transformed by 'Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi' with the installation of 107 sculptures from 21 countries. The exhibition is free to the public and runs from Thursday 18 October until Sunday 4 November 2018.
*Pixel 3 Group Selfie camera captures up to 184% more area of the scene than iPhone XS based on EXIF data from each camera. iPhone is a trademark of Apple Inc. registered in the US and other countries. Results may vary.

Get charged up with Google Maps

We built Google Maps to help people get where they need to go no matter what mode of transportation they use. Our newest feature brings helpful information about electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the Map, so you can be confident that your car will be charged and ready for your ride, wherever you’re headed. Here’s how it works:
A quick search for keywords like “ev charging” or “EV charging stations" will display the nearest supported stations. To help you make a quick decision about which station to use, we’ll show you information about the business where the station is located, the types of ports available, charging speeds, and how many ports there are. You’ll also see information about the station from drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.

In addition, businesses that have charging stations will now feature a link to information about the chargers.

Google Maps now supports charging stations around the world, including:
Global: Tesla, Chargepoint
AU and NZ: Chargefox
US: SemaConnect, EVgo, Blink
UK: Chargemaster, Pod Point

The ability to search for electric vehicle charging stations starts rolling out today on Android and iOS, with desktop launching in the coming weeks. To get started on mobile, update your Google Maps app from the App Store or Play Store today.