Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

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!

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/dYlum-8RSVtJH4Qx7BTapk-5V_q0p1Qr71cUOBGXzDnD_ksTwNkxtyojhU_G48mgQNQ5en5bNGyf-EsiQdNWvPJx9ygwvK8cjbRssHNuf4JRHvIWiXx020rQ594X-hu8mqgi7w6U

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.

Being smart and secure online

Most of us are connected digitally on a daily basis, and unfortunately the risk of cyberattacks is ever present. So it’s important to stay alert and vigilant to the potential threats that exist. That’s why Google supports Stay Smart Online Week, which is all about reversing the threat of cybercrime.
Today, there are more than 1400 partners of Stay Smart Online Week working to raise awareness about cybersecurity across Australia, sharing tips and resources to better protect individuals, families, communities, and businesses of all sizes.
Google services have built-in security infrastructure to detect and prevent online threats, helping to keep users' personal information secure. Gmail protects users from spam, phishing, and malware by analysing patterns in billions of messages to identify characteristics of emails that users marked as spam. These markers help to block 99.9 percent of suspicious or dangerous emails before they ever reach you. Google Play Protect is built in to Android devices and scans apps before, during, and after download to ensure users have the latest in mobile security and to keep devices and user data secure.
Google also provides tips and tools to help users learn about privacy and security and protect their personal information.

  • Google’s Privacy Checkup: We build easy-to-use privacy tools into Google Account to give users control over their privacy settings. Google’s Privacy Checkup also makes it easy to choose and adjust privacy settings. In just a few minutes, you can manage what data is collected and update what you share publicly and with friends. You can change these settings as often as you want and even have regular reminders sent to help keep current settings in mind.
  • Google’s Security Checkup: This step-by-step tool gives personalised and actionable security recommendations for Google Account settings. You can review and manage your Google account security settings, like verify that your account recovery information is up to date and review the websites, apps, and devices connected to your account. Like the Privacy Checkup, Google’s Security Checkup takes just a few minutes and can be taken as often as you like.
  • Strong password security: Creating a strong, unique password is one of the most critical steps you can take to protect your online accounts. Consider taking a long sentence or phrase that you won’t forget and building a password with the first letters of each word.
  • Use unique passwords and keep track of them: Using the same password across your accounts increases your security risk. Creating a unique password for each account eliminates this risk and keeps your accounts more secure. A password manager, like Smart Lock in Chrome, helps you safeguard and keep track of all the passwords for your different online accounts.
  • Lock down your phone if you lose it: If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can visit your Google Account and select “Find your phone” to protect your data. Whether you have an Android or iOS device, you can remotely locate and lock your phone so that no one else can use your phone and access your personal information.
Being aware of the controls available to you and taking steps to protect your devices and online accounts can help you stay secure online. If we all take action, we can help to boost Australia’s cyber resilience and reverse the threat of cybercrime.

5 reasons (and 2 colors) why we love the new Chromecast


We launched our first Chromecast in 2013 with the aim to make it easy to get your favorite content right from your phone to your TV. With thousands of compatible apps to cast from, people are tapping the Cast button more than ever. And since Chromecast, the Made by Google family of products has continued to grow, bringing the best of hardware, software, and AI together. So for this 5th year of Chromecast, we wanted to share the top 5 reasons we’re excited about our newest Chromecast:

  1. Fits right in. With a new design and two colors - Chalk and Charcoal - Chromecast blends in with your decor and the rest of the Made by Google family.
  2. Stream hands-free. Chromecast and Google Home work seamlessly together. Just say what you want to watch from compatible services, like YouTube or Netflix, and control your TV just by asking. Try, “Hey Google, play Lost in Space from Netflix.” (You’ll need a Netflix subscription to get started). 
  3. Picture perfect at 60fps. Our newest Chromecast supports streaming in 1080p at 60 frames per second, giving you a more lifelike image. So when you’re watching the game, it will feel even more like you’re there.
  4. More than a screen, it’s a canvas. With Ambient Mode, you can personalize your TV with a constantly updating stream of the best and latest photos taken by you, your friends and your family from Google Photos. With new Live Albums from Google Photos, you can enjoy photos of people and pets you care about and skip blurry photos and duplicates- all without lifting a finger. New photos will show up automatically on your TV - no uploading hassles.
  5. And still has an RRP of just $59. So it’s the perfect gift this upcoming holiday season for the streamer in your life.


  6. The new Chromecast is available in Australia from the Google Store, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, and other major retailers.

    Keep on streaming!

    PS - if you’re looking for the perfect companion for your 4K TV, check out Chromecast Ultra to stream in up to 4K UHD, HDR, and Dolby Vision.

Introducing Google Home Hub, Made by Google’s first display device


Welcome to Google Home Hub—the newest member of the Google Home family, bringing you help at a glance. With the Google Assistant built in, you can use your voice to get the best of Google—Search, Calendar, Maps, YouTube, Google Photos and more–right on Hub’s display.   

Thoughtfully designed for any room

The first thing you’ll notice about Hub is its beautiful design. We made this display to fit right into your home, and we hope you’ll consider it not just functional, but part of your decor. Its 7” screen is like a floating display, just the right size to fit on any surface and big enough to enjoy your photos from across the room. With soft rounded corners, Hub fits naturally on any surface. My favourite places are my kitchen counter and nightstand. Available in Chalk and Charcoal across partner retailers, and also in Aqua and Sand on the Google Store. 

We consciously decided to not include a camera on Google Home Hub, so you feel comfortable placing it in the private spaces of your home, like the bedroom. On the top of the device you’ll find the powerful Google Home Hub’s Ambient EQ light sensor. It allows the screen to automatically adjust to match the lighting in the room, so photos on Google Home Hub will blend in with the room, too. That means no glowing screen—it fits seamlessly into your home. When it's time for bed, Hub knows to dim the screen for a good night’s sleep.



J
umpstart your morning routine

I think I speak for most parents when I say mornings at home are hectic. From the time we wake up until we’re racing out the door, every minute counts. With Routines, Hub can provide you and your family with useful info about the day ahead. Just say “Hey Google, good morning” for a personalised, visual overview of family activities from Google Calendar, your commute from Google Maps, your latest reminders, the weather forecast, local news updates and more. And with Voice Match, up to six people can get their own personalised Routine. And I can get easy how-to help from YouTube videos: “Hey Google, how do you make cold-brew coffee?”


Simplify your connected home


The Google Assistant works with more than 5,000 devices worldwide, and 100+ home automation devices from more than 50 brands here in Australia—including Nest, TP-Link, Philips Hue and more. With Hub, everyone in the family can see and control your compatible devices from a single dashboard—no more switching between apps. Just swipe down to reveal your home view: dim your lights, turn up the volume on the TV, and see who is outside with your Nest Cam Outdoor. You can also broadcast messages through all connected speakers in your home, just say “Hey Google, broadcast dinner’s ready!” to round up the family.


Relive the moment with Google Photos


Google Home Hub is also a photo frame, but not your average one: It's easy to set up, automatically refreshes the photos that are displayed, and features your best shots. With Live Albums, a new feature from Google Photos, I can relive recent memories with family and friends even while Hub is not in use. Google Photos will automatically add new photos of my son and our dog to my album, avoiding duplicates and blurry shots. I can even share our Live Album with my mum, so when she sets up her Google Home Hub, the photos of her grandson will be added to the live album automatically. Plus, you can say goodbye to endless scrolling on your phone to find the photo you’re looking for. Google Home Hub makes it easy: “Hey Google, show my pictures from the Grand Canyon,” and just like that, I'm taken back to my vacation.


Get hands-free help in the kitchen


My family spends a lot of time in our kitchen, and Google Home Hub helps us prepare recipes like top chefs. I can use my voice to browse millions of recipes and start cooking, all hands-free. We’ve teamed up with Woolworths, Genius Kitchen, Food Network and others to bring their fun, family-friendly recipe videos to Google Home Hub. Check out the Woolworths lamington recipe for a fun how-to recipe, it’s delicious!

Hub helps you turn the music up, then wind down


At my house, Fridays are family night—and sometimes that means a dance-off. Hub’s full-range speaker means a crisp, clear sound every time. With Hub, you can enjoy music from YouTube, Spotify, TuneIn Radio and other popular music services (you may need a subscription). Eligible customers activating Hub before December 31, 2018 can also get a six month trial of YouTube Premium on us, to enjoy not just YouTube Music, but all of YouTube ad-free (restrictions and terms apply).

When you’re ready for bed, just say, “Hey Google, good night” to set an alarm, turn off compatible lights and TVs and fall asleep to soothing music. You can use ready-made or custom Routines to create your own Routine with any of the Google Assistant’s one million actions, starting your routine with a phrase that feels best for you. For busy working parents like me, every day is hectic—so these features are truly game-changing when I have my hands full or I’m strapped for time.

I know you’ll love getting help and enjoying family time with Hub, just like my family. Google Home Hub’s RRP is $219. You can pre-order it today and buy it from October 23 at JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Optus, Vodafone and Google Store (colour availability will vary).
Once you set up Hub, just say “Hey Google, what can you do” to get started. 


Introducing Google Home Hub, Made by Google’s first display device


Welcome to Google Home Hub—the newest member of the Google Home family, bringing you help at a glance. With the Google Assistant built in, you can use your voice to get the best of Google—Search, Calendar, Maps, YouTube, Google Photos and more–right on Hub’s display.   

Thoughtfully designed for any room

The first thing you’ll notice about Hub is its beautiful design. We made this display to fit right into your home, and we hope you’ll consider it not just functional, but part of your decor. Its 7” screen is like a floating display, just the right size to fit on any surface and big enough to enjoy your photos from across the room. With soft rounded corners, Hub fits naturally on any surface. My favourite places are my kitchen counter and nightstand. Available in Chalk and Charcoal across partner retailers, and also in Aqua and Sand on the Google Store. 

We consciously decided to not include a camera on Google Home Hub, so you feel comfortable placing it in the private spaces of your home, like the bedroom. On the top of the device you’ll find the powerful Google Home Hub’s Ambient EQ light sensor. It allows the screen to automatically adjust to match the lighting in the room, so photos on Google Home Hub will blend in with the room, too. That means no glowing screen—it fits seamlessly into your home. When it's time for bed, Hub knows to dim the screen for a good night’s sleep.



J
umpstart your morning routine

I think I speak for most parents when I say mornings at home are hectic. From the time we wake up until we’re racing out the door, every minute counts. With Routines, Hub can provide you and your family with useful info about the day ahead. Just say “Hey Google, good morning” for a personalised, visual overview of family activities from Google Calendar, your commute from Google Maps, your latest reminders, the weather forecast, local news updates and more. And with Voice Match, up to six people can get their own personalised Routine. And I can get easy how-to help from YouTube videos: “Hey Google, how do you make cold-brew coffee?”


Simplify your connected home


The Google Assistant works with more than 5,000 devices worldwide, and 100+ home automation devices from more than 50 brands here in Australia—including Nest, TP-Link, Philips Hue and more. With Hub, everyone in the family can see and control your compatible devices from a single dashboard—no more switching between apps. Just swipe down to reveal your home view: dim your lights, turn up the volume on the TV, and see who is outside with your Nest Cam Outdoor. You can also broadcast messages through all connected speakers in your home, just say “Hey Google, broadcast dinner’s ready!” to round up the family.


Relive the moment with Google Photos


Google Home Hub is also a photo frame, but not your average one: It's easy to set up, automatically refreshes the photos that are displayed, and features your best shots. With Live Albums, a new feature from Google Photos, I can relive recent memories with family and friends even while Hub is not in use. Google Photos will automatically add new photos of my son and our dog to my album, avoiding duplicates and blurry shots. I can even share our Live Album with my mum, so when she sets up her Google Home Hub, the photos of her grandson will be added to the live album automatically. Plus, you can say goodbye to endless scrolling on your phone to find the photo you’re looking for. Google Home Hub makes it easy: “Hey Google, show my pictures from the Grand Canyon,” and just like that, I'm taken back to my vacation.


Get hands-free help in the kitchen


My family spends a lot of time in our kitchen, and Google Home Hub helps us prepare recipes like top chefs. I can use my voice to browse millions of recipes and start cooking, all hands-free. We’ve teamed up with Woolworths, Genius Kitchen, Food Network and others to bring their fun, family-friendly recipe videos to Google Home Hub. Check out the Woolworths lamington recipe for a fun how-to recipe, it’s delicious!

Hub helps you turn the music up, then wind down


At my house, Fridays are family night—and sometimes that means a dance-off. Hub’s full-range speaker means a crisp, clear sound every time. With Hub, you can enjoy music from YouTube, Spotify, TuneIn Radio and other popular music services (you may need a subscription). Eligible customers activating Hub before December 31, 2018 can also get a six month trial of YouTube Premium on us, to enjoy not just YouTube Music, but all of YouTube ad-free (restrictions and terms apply).

When you’re ready for bed, just say, “Hey Google, good night” to set an alarm, turn off compatible lights and TVs and fall asleep to soothing music. You can use ready-made or custom Routines to create your own Routine with any of the Google Assistant’s one million actions, starting your routine with a phrase that feels best for you. For busy working parents like me, every day is hectic—so these features are truly game-changing when I have my hands full or I’m strapped for time.

I know you’ll love getting help and enjoying family time with Hub, just like my family. Google Home Hub’s RRP is $219. You can pre-order it today and buy it from October 23 at JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Optus, Vodafone and Google Store (colour availability will vary).
Once you set up Hub, just say “Hey Google, what can you do” to get started.