Category Archives: Google Canada Blog

News and notes from Google Canada

YouTube Music and YouTube Premium Launch in Canada: It’s All Here

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Canada. Now Canadian fans can find more of the music they love and effortlessly discover new favourites.

YouTube Music is a new music streaming service built on top of all the music on YouTube that you can’t find anywhere else - personalized & all simply organized in one place.

Here’s how it all comes together:

  1. It’s ALL here. Not just music videos, but official albums, singles, remixes, live performances, covers and hard-to-find music you can only get on YouTube.
  2. Recommendations built for you. A home screen that dynamically adapts to provide recommendations based on the artists and songs you’ve played before, where you are and what you’re doing. Chilling at the beach? Need some motivation? The right music is right here, built just for you.
  3. Thousands of playlists across any genre, mood or activity. Try “A Dose of Sun” for brighter tunes on a cloudy day, “The Pop Hotlist” for the biggest hits around the world or Distrito Latino for Latin pop hits of the moment.
  4. Smart search so we’ll find the song, even if you can’t remember what it’s called. “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert.” Here you go. You can also search by lyrics (even if they’re wrong). It’s “Hold me closer, Tony Danza,” right?
  5. The hottest videos. We’ll keep you on top of what’s hot! The hottest videos in the world right now are right there, on their own dedicated Hotlist screen. So you can go check out that brand-new Degrassi-themed Drake video.
  6. Ad-free listening, downloads and more. Get YouTube Music Premium to listen ad-free, in the background and on-the-go with downloads. Plus, your Offline Mixtape automatically downloads songs you love just in case you forgot to. For a limited time, get three months free of YouTube Music Premium here, ($9.99 per month after, $14.99 per month for a Family Plan)*.

YouTube Premium also launches today
Starting today, YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) will also be available in Canada, providing members with the benefits of Music Premium, plus ad-free, background, and downloads across all of YouTube. YouTube Premium members also get access to the full slate of YouTube Originals shows and movies including the hit series Cobra Kai, Impulse, F2 Finding Football and The Sidemen Show. For a limited time, get three months free of YouTube Premium here, ($11.99 per month after, $17.99 per month for a Family Plan)*.

Current Google Play Music subscribers in Canada will automatically receive access to YouTube Music Premium at their current price as it becomes available there. Nothing is changing with Google Play Music - you'll still be able to access all of your purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music just like always.
Try YouTube Music and YouTube Premium
Get the new YouTube Music from the Play Store and App Store today or check out the brand new web player at music.youtube.com. You can sign up for YouTube Premium at youtube.com/premium.



*YouTube Music Premium is $9.99 per month and YouTube Premium is $11.99 per month for individual memberships in Canada. 

Greater transparency and control over your Google ad experience

Over the years, you’ve told us that transparency and control over your data and ad experience are important. That's why we've built products and tools to help you manage that experience. Back in 2009, we launched Ad Settings, providing you with a single place for your ad controls, and in 2011 and 2012 we introduced Why this ad? and Mute this ad, giving you more transparency and control over the ads that you see. In 2015 all of these were brought together in your Google Account, the all-in-one destination for managing your personal information, privacy and security settings.

Today, we’re launching the new Ad Settings, which makes it easier for you to understand and control how your ads are tailored to you. We’re also providing more transparency around why you see certain ads by expanding Why this ad? to all of our services that show Google ads (like Search and YouTube) and almost all websites and apps that partner with us to show ads.

Understand and control how your ads are tailored to you
The new Ad Settings shows all the different factors that determine how ads are tailored to you in one view. This way, it’s easier for you to see them at a glance, learn more about why you see ads related to these topics, and decide if there are any you want to remove.

There are a few different factors that can determine how your ads are tailored to you, including: estimations of your interests based on your activity while you’re signed in, information you’ve added to your Google Account, and information from advertisers that partner with us to show ads—like if you’ve visited their site or signed up for their newsletter.
For example, if you watched highlights from a recent soccer match on YouTube or searched “soccer fields near me” you might see an ad for a slick pair of soccer shorts. If you’ve told us you’re 40 years old, we would be less likely to show you ads about student study abroad programs. And if you visit the website of one of your favorite brands, you might see an ad from them.

This information helps make ads more relevant and useful to you. However, in the new Ad Settings, if you no longer want us to tailor your ads based on one of these factors you can choose to turn it off. Turning off a factor means you’ll no longer receive tailored ads related to it across our services, and on websites and apps that partner with us to show ads, as long as you’re signed in to your Google Account. The ads you see can still be based on general factors, like the subject of what you’re looking at or the time of day, or any other factor that is still turned on.

Why this ad? makes it easier to understand why you see certain ads 
Why this ad? is a feature which appears next to ads and both helps you learn why you are seeing a certain ad and gives you easy access to your Ad Settings. For example, if you want to know why you’re seeing an ad for a camera, Why this ad? might tell you it’s because you’ve searched for cameras, visited photography websites, or clicked on ads for cameras before. We’ve now significantly expanded coverage of this feature; starting today, you’ll see Why this ad? notices on all our services that show Google Ads, such as ads on YouTube (including the YouTube app on connected TVs), Google Play, Gmail, Maps and Search. We’ve also expanded it to include almost all of the websites and apps that partner with us to show ads.

The new Ad Settings and updates to Why this ad? provide you with more transparency and control over your Google ad experience than ever before. With these improvements, you can browse the web confidently knowing that you have the information and control to make Google work better for you.

Inspiring Canada’s future innovators at Go North Youth

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is guest authored by Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua. The University of Toronto is one of 36 Actua network members across Canada annually engaging 250,000 youth in hands-on STEM learning. 

Nicole, a Grade 4 student from Kew Beach Junior Public School, was excited to visit Go North Youth today. "My favourite subject is math, so I couldn't wait to learn all about science and tech at the University of Toronto! I learned that sound can travel through two people's bodies, how to build a future city, plus a bunch of other really cool stuff."

Today, for the third year in a row, Go North Youth gathered over 1200 students from grades three to eight in the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. Students from schools across the GTA came together for Canada’s biggest and most exciting day of exploration, learning and fun with cutting-edge science and technology.
Students flocked to the University of Toronto for the third annual Go North Youth, a full day of hands-on activities, workshops and learning designed to ignite curiosity around science and technology
The day kicked off with a vibrant opening ceremony in U of T’s historic Convocation Hall that included performances by DJ Skratch, ActionPotential, and a special address from The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, who got to personally welcome students from her own riding of Etobicoke North.

Afterwards, students explored Innovate Alley, where they went hands-on with fun science and tech, from creating 3D printed objects with Inksmith and testing Google’s AI game Quick Draw to dancing to cool rhythmic light installations from U of T alumni Nanoleaf.

Students spent the remainder of the day participating in inspiring design and build workshops put on by the incredible team at U of T Engineering Outreach. As always, it is amazing to see students so engaged and excited to learn about the engineering that backs their favourite technologies.
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, MInister of Science, chats with students at Go North Youth
The lead partner, the University of Toronto, worked with Google and Actua to bring this massive event to life for the third year because we believe that it is critical for youth to experience current innovations while seeing their peers excited about STEM. Whether students want to become doctors or game developers, STEM skills and computational thinking are, and will continue to be, important tools for their future.

For more than 20 years, Actua and our 36 university and college-based network members have worked to prepare young Canadians to be innovators and leaders by engaging them in exciting and accessible STEM experiences that build critical skills and confidence.

This includes our Codemakers program, supported by Google, which has engaged over 165,000 youth in computer science and digital skill building. Canadian youth from all over the country have participated in Codemakers whether through coding throat singing in Canada’s north or printing 3-D selfies in Vancouver or participating in events like today. With a recent renewal of $1.5M in funding from Google.org and $10 million in funding from the federal government through the CanCode program, we will continue to evolve the Codemakers program to reach a quarter of a million young Canadians.
Students got the chance to go hands-on with tech in Innovate Alley, from creating mini-ziplines to building their own 3D printed objects and much more. 

Together we can help students gain the skills and confidence they need to use technology to solve the world’s biggest problems.

Hey Google, what’s a smart home? Design duo Drew and Jonathan Scott offer smart tech tips to modernize your place

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is brought to you by renovation experts Drew and Jonathan Scott, the dynamic team behind HGTV’s Property Brothers. Through their popular TV shows, Drew and Jonathan help families buy, sell and renovate homes. 

Summer is prime time to tackle those home renovations that you’ve been putting off all year. We speak from experience when we say undertaking a reno can be a daunting task -- but it doesn’t have to be! Thanks to innovative advancements in smart home technology, it’s become easier -- and more cost-effective -- to modernize your home and ultimately add value to your property without the hassle of a construction crew.

Here are five ways to turn your home into a tech-savvy space with the help of Google Home Mini (available on the Google Store and at Best Buy Canada for $79):
Control the temperature of your home
Stay cool this summer and save money at the same time by installing a smart thermostat that learns your behaviours and programs itself to save energy.

We love the Nest Wi-Fi Smart Learning Thermostat because it combines a sleek design with a bright LCD interface that provides useful data and tools that help you save money. And, it works with smart home hubs, such as Google Home Mini, so you can access data and adjust settings by simply saying “Hey Google, adjust the temperature to 21 degrees.”

The best part? It can be installed in less than 30 minutes, so you can spend more time enjoying your home.

Create the right ambiance in your favourite rooms to unwind
One of the most common design questions we get asked from renters or new homeowners is about how add personal DIY touches to their space. Well, one of the quickest and easiest ways is to adjust the lighting.

You can add ambience to any room in your home with the Philips Hue Smart Personal Wireless Light Bulb Starter Kit. Create the feel of a sunset in the living room or set the perfect shade of light and brightness for reading a book in bed.

What’s more is that Philips Hue works with the Google Assistant, providing you with a hands-free lighting experience. With commands like “Hey Google, dim the lights in the bedroom” or “Ok Google, turn on tropical twilight in the living room” you can have a fully customized experience that’s as easy as screwing in a light bulb.

Connect your appliances
Together with Google Home Mini, WeMo offers hands-free control of your smart home. Whether you’re brewing your morning coffee or cooling down under a fan, the Google Assistant allows you to control your small appliances with the sound of your voice and a simple command.

This can be especially useful for morning routines. Beat the morning rush by saying “Ok Google, turn the coffee pot on.” As a bonus, your Google Assistant can also give you valuable information about your day, such as your schedule, weather and traffic conditions. So go ahead and hit that “snooze” button for an extra 5-minutes.

Upgrade your entertainment system
Easily create an immersive entertainment system that you can control with the sound of your voice. Whether you’re playing the latest hits on Spotify for a summer soiree or having a cozy night in streaming Netflix with your Chromecast, your Google Assistant and suite of Google Home products will allow for hands-free entertainment.

And if you’re feeling a bit competitive (not that we’d know what that’s like..), you can play interactive trivia games with your Google Home.

Make safety a priority at your house
With Nest Hello you'll always know who's at your front door, even if you're not at home. This video doorbell provides a live view of your front door and sends you a mobile alert when someone approaches, rings the doorbell, or leaves a package. And when you are at home, your Google Assistant can announce when someone's at your door. Gone are the days of having to greet unexpected guests!

In Toronto? Join us at the downtown Google shop (Best Buy Canada, Yonge and Dundas) on Saturday, June 2. We’ll share how easy it is to update your home with Google Home Mini and other cool smart gadgets. Space is extremely limited for the workshop so make sure to RSVP here: https://goo.gl/rG7sTf 

Pump up the jams, Canada: Google Home Max is here

Music fans, time to turn up the volume! Our biggest and best sounding Google Home -- the Google Home Max -- is now available in Canada via The Google Store and at Best Buy.
Built for premium sound
Thanks to premium hardware, including two 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers, Max delivers deep, powerful bass. And it’s loud…really loud, so you can fill even the largest room in your home with your favourite music. In fact, Max is 20 times more powerful than Google Home!

Redefine how you listen to music with Smart Sound
Powered by Google AI, Smart Sound means Max can automatically adapt itself to you -- your environment, your moments, your content. Once you’ve set up Max, it will automatically tune itself based on where you’ve placed it in the room. Without lifting a finger, your music will sound just as it was intended when it left the production studio. And all of this is done dynamically, so if you decide to move Max to the other side of the room, it will adapt within seconds. There’s no extra setup or testing required.

Your personal DJ, 24/7
With the Google Assistant built in, Google Home Max is always ready to start your favourite song, pause or turn it up, all with just your voice. Can’t quite remember the name of that favourite summer jam? Your Assistant can find it with just a few small details. Just ask, “Hey Google, play that song about Drake's dad...’”

Google Home Max works with Google Play Music, Spotify Free and Premium and TuneIn, so you can enjoy music in whatever way you like. And Chromecast is built in, meaning you can cast from your phone from many more services. For all of your other music and devices, Max has support for both Bluetooth® and aux-in, so plug in your record player and dust off your vinyl.

Control your smart home
Make Max the centre of your smart home. Google Home Max works with more than 150 home automation brands and more than 1,000 devices—including Nest, Belkin Wemo and Philips Hue. Plus, Google Home Max can complete two tasks at once. If you have a compatible smart plug, try saying, “Hey Google, dim the lights and play a summer time playlist”



Google Home Max is available starting May 16 for $499 from The Google Store and Best Buy Canada.

Looking Forward to Canada’s Innovative Future

Editor’s note: Today’s post is from Catherine Lacavera, Director of IP and Patent Litigation at Google… and proud Canadian.

Canada has a new National Intellectual Property Strategy, and this is very good news. Last month, Minister Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced a new National IP Strategy that makes great strides towards a better future for Canadian industry through a balanced and efficient IP system that protects and fosters Canadian innovation.

The new National IP Strategy is the product of a thoughtful, consultative process that led to a well-informed strategy reflecting the varied needs of different sectors and sized companies, both now, and into our promising future. The IP literacy campaign will help inform industry about how to meaningfully protect IP without wasting resources better spent on development. The efficiency measures and scrutiny of demand letters will help clear the path for innovators to realize value for their IP, while curbing the abuses that plague inefficient IP systems elsewhere around the world. There is much to applaud in the careful thought behind the new strategy.

As a fellow Canadian, I have a vested interest in seeing Canada take its rightful place on the world IP stage. We have long outperformed in innovation, and this new National IP strategy brings that same excellence in policies to our already excellent development programs. Congratulations to all those involved, and to the many varied industries that will be the beneficiaries of this thoughtful, collaborative strategy.

Posted by Catherine Lacavera; Director, Google Legal

Introducing new choices for parents to further customize YouTube Kids

When we launched the YouTube Kids app three years ago, our goal was to give kids around the world a place to access videos that were enriching, engaging and allowed them to explore their endless interests.

Since then, our team has continued to work to improve the app experience for kids and families around the world. One area of focus has been building new features that give parents even more control around the content available in the YouTube Kids app so they can make the right choice for their unique family and for each child within their family. 

We are excited to announce that throughout the year, we will be rolling out three new options in YouTube Kids:
  • Collections by trusted partners and YouTube Kids: Starting this week, our partners and the YouTube Kids team will offer collections of trusted channels on a variety of subjects, from arts & crafts and music to sports, learning, and so much more. This makes it easy for parents to select only the channel collections and topics they want their kids to access. Just go into Profile Settings, and select from available collections such as Sesame Workshop. We will continue to add more partners over time.

  • Parent approved content: Parents know better than anyone what they want their children to watch. For those parents who want even more control over the videos and channels in the YouTube Kids app, we're rolling out a feature later this year that will allow parents to specifically handpick every video and channel available to their child in the app.
  • Improved search-off control for an even more contained experience: Parents have always been able to turn search off within the YouTube Kids app, but starting this week, turning search off will limit the YouTube Kids experience to channels that have been verified by the YouTube Kids team. This means that search off will not include recommendations from the broader YouTube Kids corpus.

For parents who like the current version of YouTube Kids and want a wider selection of content, it's still available. While no system is perfect, we continue to fine-tune, rigorously test and improve our filters for this more open version of our app. And, as always, we encourage parents to block and flag videos for review that they don't think should be in the YouTube Kids app. This makes YouTube Kids better for everyone.

It is our hope that these additional options will allow every family to have the experience they want in the YouTube Kids app.

Posted by James Beser, Product Director for YouTube Kids

Take your own journey: Experience one of Parks Canada’s breathtaking destinations with new Google Street View imagery


Authored by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Every year, on April 22, people around the world celebrate Earth Day in support of the environment. What better time to launch new Google Street View imagery, featuring some of Parks Canada’s most awe-inspiring places. As a result of the long-term collaboration between two iconic organizations - Google and Parks Canada, virtual visitors can explore mountain-top vistas, meandering ocean-side trails, and UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Our national parks represent the best that Canada has to offer and are gateways to nature. This new Google Street View imagery introduces you to some of the incredible wonders of Canada’s vast network of protected wilderness and encourages you to discover more. It may even inspire you to visit. I can promise you incredible memories that will last a lifetime if you do.

The new Google Street View imagery is also a reminder that we have a collective responsibility to protect the natural world. As we continue to see the impacts of climate change on our land and water, the need to protect them only increases. Allowing more people to see these treasured places will help build appreciation for them and future stewards to help protect them.

This latest Google Street View release includes stunning images of Nahanni National Park Reserve (Nahʔą Dehé, Northwest Territories). The park touches the Boreal Cordillera Ecozone, is globally renowned for its geological landforms, and its natural heritage is internationally recognized by UNESCO. Virtual visitors anywhere can experience Virginia Falls, also known by the Dene name, Náįlįcho. They can also explore the amazing Rabbitkettle (Gahnîhthah) mineral springs and tufa mound, and rock climbing mecca, the Cirque of the Unclimbables.

Enjoy the rugged backcountry, mountain climbs, and a hot spring of one of our newest (and least-visited) national parks - Nááts'ı̨hch'oh National Park Reserve (Northwest Territories) that have been captured on Google Street View. The park is named after Nááts'ı̨hch'oh the mountain, which is a powerful place for the people of Sahtu, and is located in the traditional lands of Shúhtaot'ine (Mountain Dene). The imagery captured of the park will include highlights of Hamlet of Tulita, a fly-in access only community that is the main base of operations for Nááts'ı̨hch'oh.

Wonders from Banff National Park (Alberta), Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (British Columbia), Terra Nova National Park (Newfoundland), and Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national parks (British Columbia) have also been published as part of this release for you to explore and experience virtually.

Parks Canada preserves the sensitive ecosystems of our national parks, while providing Canadians with unparalleled opportunities to connect with nature. And Parks Canada works with Indigenous peoples to protect these treasured places and shares their stories with the world. I hope that experiencing this new Google Street View imagery will provide a better appreciation and understanding of the importance of our national parks. I encourage you to take the journey with Parks Canada and Google to learn about Canada’s natural, cultural and Indigenous heritage, and start dreaming about your next trip.

 Happy (early) Earth Day!

Local students build robot in Google’s first ever Kitchener-Waterloo Community Space

Editor’s note: Today we’re opening the doors of Google's first ever Community Space in Canada. Located on the ground floor of our Google Kitchener-Waterloo office, the new centre will offer local nonprofits and organizations working in STEM education and diversity free access to host programming and events. As part of today’s opening, we’re also proud to announce $2.1M in new funding for a mix of inspiring Canadian organizations, including: 
  • A $1.5 million Google.org re-investment in Actua, Canada’s largest STEM outreach organization, to continue evolving our Codemakers program that offers year-round computer science workshops for kids. This brings our total investment since launching Codemakers to $3 million. 
  • A $200,000 Google.org grant to Engineering Science Quest, through the University of Waterloo's Engineering Outreach Program, to create an experiential learning program in the Google Community Space that will help local youth build computational thinking and digital skills and provide parents and teachers access to information and resources. 
  • Lastly, Google Canada is funding $400,000 to the University of Waterloo with the aim of developing a new leadership centre for Women in Computer Science. Our goal is to help close the gender disparity gap in tech -- and we’re starting to do just that by bringing the Technovation Challenge, the world’s largest global tech entrepreneurship competition for girls ages 10-18, to Waterloo for the first time. 
This post comes from Shawn Wallace, Googler and founder of Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Robotics. 

Every week this year, a group of 40 students from high schools across Kitchener-Waterloo have met at Google’s new Community Space on Breithaupt Street to brainstorm, design, and build their very own robot. These students are proud members of Team 2702 Rebels, a robotics team run by a non-profit I co-founded called Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Robotics.

This past weekend, we competed in the FIRST Robotics Competition's Western District event, winning the prestigious Engineering Inspiration award, and also qualified for the Provincial Championships. Our success would not have been possible without the support of Google Canada and the early access they provided to their interactive Community Space.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Youth Robotics team and members of Engineering Science Quest in Google's new Kitchener-Waterloo Community Space

Non-profit organizations like ours know that finding affordable spaces where we can convene at and work from are incredibly hard to come by. The new Community Space is a game changer. At nearly 4,000 square feet, it’s flexible enough to host everything from brainstorming sessions and workshops to networking events and seminars. Since January, there have been over fifty events in the space. In true Google fashion, the team even set us up with a robot demo field and our very own workshop where we store our tools. There’s free wifi, a lounge, projector and screen, storage space, tables and chairs and, of course, a foosball table.
Google Canada's Steven Woods joined by Associate Dean for Engineering at the University of Waterloo Dr. Karim, Kitchener City Councillor Sarah Marsh, Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic,  President of Actua Jennifer Flanagan, and Director of Women in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, Professor Joanne Atlee

As a Googler, I’m thrilled to see the overwhelming grassroots support from my company for our team and the community as a whole. In addition to opening the Community Space, Google has announced $2.1 million in new funding for a mix of local and national organizations, including Actua, Engineering Science Quest and the University of Waterloo’s Women in Computer Science.

I’m so proud to be able to work together with Google to nurture the next generation of Canada’s technology leaders. Through our newly announced funding and Community Space, Google hopes to engage more than 75,000 Canadians in STEM and digital skills programming over the next year.

If you’re a local non-profit working in STEM education and/or diversity and interested in getting involved with the Google Kitchener-Waterloo Community Space, fill out this form for details on how to apply. Keep in mind, we receive a large number of applications and may be unable to accept every organization.