Category Archives: Google Canada Blog

News and notes from Google Canada

Our 2019 Made by Google Line Up

Earlier today, we shared news about our new Made by Google product line up. Take a look at our round up on our blog, The Keyword. Below, you’ll find some more info on what’s coming to Canada, and when. Happy reading!
Google Pixel 4
With a camera that captures detail that others can't, a new way to use your phone without touching it, the Google Assistant, and a fast and responsive display, Pixel 4 packs new technology into a striking new design. Best of all, Pixel includes the latest version of Android and Google’s best software, which gets better with each update.

In Canada, beginning today, you can pre-order a Pixel 4 for $999 and Pixel 4 XL for $1129 on the Google Store, and at all major Canadian carriers and select retailers. Phones will ship by October 24, globally. Pixel 4 comes in three colours, including Clearly White, Just Black, and a limited edition, Oh So Orange.
Read more about Pixel 4 on The Keyword.
Nest Mini
Google Home Mini launched in the U.S. in 2017 as a small and mighty part of the Google Home family, with all the smarts of the Google Assistant to deliver hands-free help in every room. Nest Mini is the next generation rebuilt from the ground up with brand new hardware including an embedded dedicated machine learning chip with one TeraOPS of processing power. With Nest Mini, we upgraded the hardware and software to make it sound even better, and it really brings the bass. Nest Mini provides bass that’s twice as strong as the original Google Home Mini (measured from 60-100 Hz at max volume).

Nest Mini has the same iconic design as the original Mini, with soft rounded edges that blend in with your home. It comes in four colours: Chalk, Charcoal, Coral and a new colour, Sky, which was inspired by Lake Como in Italy. We’ve also incorporated wall mounting capabilities into Nest Mini, because you told us that you needed creative ways to incorporate Nest Mini into your decor and save precious counter and shelf space.

In Canada, starting today, you can pre-order Nest Mini for $69 from the Google Store. You’ll find Google Nest Mini on shelves on October 22 at Best Buy Canada and select retailers.
Read more about Nest Mini on The Keyword.
Nest Wifi
With Nest Wifi, we’re taking everything you love about Google Wifi and making it even better, with a powerful router and a Wifi point that includes the Google Assistant, bringing you more help at home.

The Nest Wifi system is actually two separate devices: The Nest Wifi router plugs directly into your modem, forming the basis for a strong and powerful home network, and the Nest Wifi point expands your coverage where you need it most. A two pack can deliver coverage for a 3,800-square-foot home. The system is scalable, so you can add more points later (or buy a three pack to start with) to make sure you’re covered. And if you’ve already got a Google Wifi network, you can easily add Nest Wifi to it for additional coverage.

In Canada, Nest Wifi is available for preorder today on the Google Store and will be on sale on November 4. You can get a two-pack with one router and one point for $269, or a three-pack with one router and two points for $349 at the Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers.
Read more about Nest Wifi on The Keyword.
Nest Hub Max
We’re also bringing Nest Hub Max to Canada. Nest Hub Max is a Google Assistant smart display that’s the perfect addition to your helpful home—it’s a TV for your kitchen, an indoor camera, a smart home controller, a digital photo frame and a great way to make video calls. Enjoy photos of your favourite memories from Google Photos on Nest Hub Max’s 10-inch HD screen. It comes in Chalk and Charcoal for $299 on the Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers.
Read more about Nest Hub Max on The Keyword.
Nest Aware
Today we’re announcing the new Nest Aware service, which will soon offer whole home awareness across more of your Nest devices at one affordable monthly rate. Nest Aware coverage is expanding to include our family of speakers (Nest Mini, Google Home, Google Home Max), our displays (Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max) and the Nest Wifi point. You can choose from two simple plans: Nest Aware, with 30 days of event video history, at $8 per month, or Nest Aware Plus, with 60 days of event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history, at $16 per month.
Read more about Nest Aware on The Keyword.
Pixelbook Go
Back in 2017 we introduced Pixelbook, a high-performance Chromebook that can adapt to your needs. And now we’re making it available to even more people with Pixelbook Go. At barely two pounds and 13 mm thin, it’s easy to bring Pixelbook Go wherever life takes you. And with its starting price of $879, it still has all the features you love about Pixelbook. You’ll get quiet, backlit keys for easy typing in all lighting and powerful processors to handle any workload, with an even bigger battery and 13.3 inch touchscreen.
In Canada, Pixelbook Go is available for preorder today and will be on sale later this month at the Google Store, Best Buy Canada and select retailers. Pixelbook Go will be available starting at $879 in Just Black, with Not Pink coming to Canada soon.
Read more about Pixelbook Go on The Keyword.

You can also check out The Keyword to learn more about Stadia, Pixel Buds, the latest Pixel 4 accessories, our sustainability commitments and more.

Canada Accelerates its Climate Action with Data

In 2015 under the COP21 Paris Climate Accord, Canada committed to reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 baseline levels by 2030. Cities across Canada are rising to this challenge and many have set their own emissions reduction targets, but measuring which activities contribute to GHG emissions is complex, time-consuming and often costly. 

We’re addressing these challenges with the Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), an online and freely accessible tool making it easier for cities to measure their emissions, set climate goals and develop climate action plans. The tool was developed in partnership with the Global Covenant of Mayors, and first launched in 2018, featuring Victoria, B.C as an inaugural city.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re expanding access to EIE to a number of additional cities across Canada, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint. “Google remains steadfast in its commitment to sustainability and a zero-carbon future. By making complex data simple and easy to understand, we aim to empower cities with technology to help create a clean and healthy planet for everyone.”, says Kate Brandt, Google Sustainability Officer.

Accelerated city-wide analysis
By analyzing Google’s comprehensive global mapping data together with greenhouse gas (GHG) emission factors, EIE estimates city-scale building and transportation carbon emissions data with the option to drill down into more specific data, such as the distances travelled by mode (automobiles, public transit, biking etc) or the percentage of emissions generated by residential or non-residential buildings.

“By using EIE to compare the GHG emission estimates to the City’s own GHG emissions calculations, City staff can be more confident in taking data-informed decisions aligned to our Community Energy Action Plan.”, says Jamie Skimming, Manager of Community Energy Initiatives at the City of London, Ontario.

EIE also provides renewable energy insights, with city-wide solar energy maps to help cities evaluate the potential of reducing emissions. “The solar map from EIE is particularly valuable to assess the solar energy potential of municipal buildings in London such as community centres and arenas,” says Skimming.

An experienced energy advisor to both the public and private sectors, Dunsky Energy Consulting has worked with municipalities across Canada in achieving deep carbon reductions from their energy and transportation sectors. “We are proud to be working with Google on its innovative EIE platform,” says Philippe Dunsky, President of Dunsky Energy Consulting, ”We believe EIE will help cities implement successful carbon reduction strategies to be leaders on the path toward a clean energy future.
The insights that EIE provides have traditionally required many months of research, and a lot of resources for cities undertaking a climate action plan. By using Google’s own data sources and computations to produce a complete survey of a city that can be assessed very quickly, EIE helps a city leapfrog tedious and costly data collection and analysis.
As we seek to become more efficient, Google’s Environmental Insights Explorer allows us to focus on the work that is in front of us so that our city can be part of a greener, smarter future.”states Mayor Charlie Clark, City of Saskatoon.

Public engagement, grounded in science

“Measuring GHG emissions is just one piece of the puzzle,” says Rebecca Moore, Director of Google Earth, the team behind EIE. To achieve their ambitious emissions reductions targets, cities must also devise plans that work for city residents to make them a reality. “For example, cities can use EIE data to answer a question like ‘How could we reduce our carbon footprint by transitioning some percentage of short car trips to bicycle trips?’”, says Moore.

"The launch of this google tool in Edmonton engages our residents in learning more about the sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our city.”, says Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “The user-friendly and visual nature of the tool will give us important data that can help us make the changes we need to ensure a sustainable future."

Canada’s next chapter

Taking action on climate requires a number of climate actors to come together - cities to develop plans and catalyze action, policy makers to create favourable conditions for these plans, and businesses and utilities to implement projects. Making EIE data accessible to more cities across Canada will nurture an ecosystem that can bring climate action plans to life.

Amanda Eichel, Executive Director of the Global Covenant of Mayors puts it best in saying, “Cities are at the forefront of an unprecedented global challenge and need all the information they can get to make smart decisions in the face of the climate crisis.”

EIE is committed to helping Canadian cities with their climate action ambitions. This expansion to cities across Canada is the next step in an important journey helping cities lead Canada toward a low-carbon future. 

Posted by James Henry, Sustainability Lead, Google Canada

To learn more about EIE in your city, contact us here on The Environmental Insights Explorer looks forward to helping more cities create a healthier, cleaner future for their citizens and for the planet.

Celebrating World Teachers’ Day on Manitoulin Island

This World Teachers’ Day, we’re shining a spotlight on a special Canadian teacher who is using CS First, a Grow with Google curriculum for elementary and middle school students, in the classroom. Our guest author is April Aelick, who teaches grade 8 at Little Current Public School, which is part of the Rainbow District School Board on Manitoulin Island.

Having taught for almost seventeen years on Manitoulin Island -- at the same school I attended from kindergarten to grade 8, no less -- I know how challenging it is to keep students engaged and excited in class.

That’s why I was so happy to come across CS First, Google’s free computer science curriculum that makes coding easy for teachers to share and fun for students to learn. Earlier this year, I signed up for an evening workshop to learn CS First, with the hopes of being able to introduce it to my grade eight students.
At the workshop, I learned about an interesting concept called ‘computational thinking’. It’s a systematic approach to solving problems through data that is at the foundation of computer science and can be applied to many other subject areas -- and careers -- that intersect with technology.

As a teacher in a rural community, I can see how CS First will allow my students the opportunity to explore ways in which computer science can fit into their interests and possibly lead them down a career path they didn’t consider before. '

Ask any student or teacher, grade 8 can be a difficult age to engage students in something new. Many students are self-conscious and are reluctant to take risks. They can also get frustrated when things don’t go right. Often, they think the easy way out is to just quit.

CS First uses computational thinking to teach students not just hard skills, like coding, but the soft skills they need to be successful in life.
Recently, one of my students worked very hard on a CS First project and, well, had a “tech fail”. His entire project was lost, and he was very disappointed to say the least. While some students would easily give up, this student went right back to work, rewatched the tutorials online and created something even better than before. CS First helped teach the class a great lesson that day, beyond just learning how to code: there will inevitably be “tech fails”, and it is how you overcome these problems that will help you succeed in life.

The beauty of CS First is that it is so accessible to all students. There is no requirement for peripheral materials. I am lucky that my students have 1:1 access to Chromebooks, but even if a class didn’t have this option, it can still be used effectively with offline lessons.

I think if you’re a teacher interested in expanding computer science into your classroom, give CS First a try, you’ve got nothing to lose! The amount of problem-solving and willingness to take risks I have witnessed so far from my students has been worth it. Even teachers who are not comfortable with coding can find success in their classrooms.

Education opens doors for people that may be otherwise shut. It is my goal to expose my students to as many opportunities as I can so they don’t feel limited by their circumstances or geographic location. I teach amazing students that will have big impact in our world, and I want them to recognize that.

Editor’s note: Want to see CS First in action? Watch this video featuring an elementary school from Waterloo! If you’re interested in CS First, check out our website for how to get started.

Never miss your favourite artist on tour again – see tickets for live shows right on YouTube!

Over 1 billion fans come to YouTube each month to connect with their favourite artists and discover new music. And now, we’re making it easy for Canadians to go from experiencing music online to seeing live performances through our partnerships with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite.

Starting today, Canadian fans watching videos from Official Artists Channels will see ticket listings for live music performances throughout Canada and the US. With one easy click on the “Tickets” button, they’ll be able to purchase directly from one of our ticket vendors.

This new feature is an expansion of the ticketing integration first launched with Ticketmaster in 2017 in the US.

Live events continue to be a major source of revenue for artists, so we want to help artists keep fans updated on their upcoming shows and sell more tickets to live performances. YouTube’s global audience also lets artists find new fans, with 24% of Millennials and 33% of teens claiming they discover live music events through the platform, according to a Nielsen report from 2018.

The new feature aims to connect fans with not only the global artists they love, but also will give them a chance to discover more intimate events with breakthrough Canadian talent.

YouTube is the space where many Canadian artists first built their online platform. We’re excited to continue furthering the power of video discovery on YouTube by bringing those artists and fans closer together through live shows.

Federal Elections 2019: Helping Canadians Make Informed Decisions

Canada’s 43rd election has been called and the team at Google is busy building products and programs to protect the democratic process, to help campaigns manage their digital presences, and to help Canadians engage in their democracy.

Getting Voters the Information they Need
In anticipation of heading to the polls, we know people need useful and reliable information to navigate the election. Google supports the priorities outlined in the government's Declaration on Electoral Integrity, and is committed to providing information and services that meet these principles.

In 2019, we’re focused on directing Canadians to authoritative resources as they prepare to participate in the election. We're specifically working with Elections Canada to ensure the information we provide is timely and accurate ahead of election day.

Protecting Election Information Online
We’ve built free products to help campaigns keep information safe and to ensure that voters have accurate information when they need it.

With an emphasis on safeguarding campaigns from digital attacks, we’ve hosted several training sessions with policy makers, candidates, campaign teams, and journalists. These trainings focused on our Advanced Protection Program and Project Shield.

To help prevent the spread of misinformation surrounding elections, we continuously make product quality improvements and support newsrooms around the world with training and tools to better verify digital stories. Learn more on how Google fights misinformation.

Connecting Voters to Candidate Information
We provide ways for users to find reliable information about candidates, including information from candidates themselves.

In Search, features called “knowledge panels” help people quickly find an overview of facts and information about things, places, and people-- including political candidates. Information in knowledge panels comes from a variety of sources, including authorities with candidate information. Candidates can also claim their knowledge panels and suggest factual changes once they have been verified. More here. 

YouTube can help campaigns to connect with voters, strengthen their online presences, control their stories, and engage with audiences wherever they are, with videos that can easily be embedded across all media platforms and on official websites. With YouTube Live, campaigns can now broadcast townhalls and speeches live to their audiences with the push of a button. More here.

Working with Newsrooms
Google and YouTube work closely with Canadian news organizations to support high-quality journalism. In 2019, the Google News Lab team conducted several in-person trainings in Canadian newsrooms to ensure journalists were aware of Google tools that might aid in their reporting and storytelling.

With the constant flow of election coverage, we know it’s critical for news organizations to stay up-to-date on the topics that matter. Tools like Google Trends, which allows exploration of frequent searches and questions relating to the elections, and a dedicated Google Trends Canadian Federal Election 2019 page, make it easier for these organizations to stay current.

Google Ads Policy
To comply with new legislation, Google's advertising policies prohibit running Election Ads and Issue Ads during the regulated periods. Read more here.

Amplifying our Voice with Partners
Through various non-partisan partnerships, we’re continuing to provide relevant information to enable participation in the 2019 Federal Elections. Learn more about our partnerships below:

We’ve partnered with Elections Canada to source and promote authoritative voter information. Elections Canada is also leveraging “Posts on Google” to communicate directly with voters from Search by sharing videos, infographics and images about the 2019 election. These published posts are available on the Elections Canada knowledge panel.

Apathy is Boring is a non-partisan, charitable organization that supports and educates youth to be active and contributing citizens in Canada’s democracy. In partnership with Ryerson’s University’s Democratic Engagement Exchange, Apathy is Boring has gathered a coalition of organizations to promote citizen engagement, with a pledge to collectively engage 1 million new voters in the 2019 federal election. Google shares Apathy is Boring’s mission of democratic engagement and will be supporting the Canadian Vote Coalition and other non-partisan civic literacy activities leading up to the 2019 Canadian Federal Election.

To educate school-aged Canadians on fact-based journalism, we worked with the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) to launch a national news literacy program, News Wise. With a $1 million dollar grant from and a partnership between CJF and CIVIX (Student Vote), NewsWise was piloted with Ontario teachers participating in Student Vote Ontario 2018. NewsWise will continue to evolve and rollout new resources leading up to the 2019 Federal Elections.

Like others, we’re committed to supporting the upcoming election. With the race ramping up, our aim is to keep Canada’s democratic processes secure and to provide Canadians access to the authoritative electoral information that they need to engage in their democracy.

Indigenous speakers in Canada share their languages on Google Earth

Of the 7,000 languages spoken around the globe, 2,680 Indigenous languages—more than one third of
the world's languages—are in danger of disappearing. The United Nations declared 2019 the
International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness about these languages and their
contribution to global diversity. To help preserve them, our new Google Earth tour,
Celebrating Indigenous Languages, shares audio recordings from more than 50 Indigenous language

“It is a human right to be able to speak your own language,” says Tania Haerekiterā Tapueluelu
Wolfgramm, a Māori and Tongan person who works as an educator and activist in Aotearoa--the Māori
name for New Zealand--and other Pacific countries. “You don’t have a culture without the language.”

Tania is one of several dozen Indigenous language speakers, advocates and educators who helped
create the tour. Thanks to their contributions, people can click on locations meaningful to Indigenous
speakers and hear people offer traditional greetings, sing songs, or say common words and phrases in
their languages. 

“Hundreds of languages are a few days away from never being spoken or heard again,” says Tania.
“By putting Indigenous languages on the global stage, we reclaim our right to talk about our lives in our
own words. It means everything to us.”
Listen to more than 50 Indigenous language speakers globally in Google Earth

The healing power of speaking one’s own language

The people who recorded audio in their languages and connected Google with Indigenous speakers
each have their own story about why revitalizing Indigenous languages strikes a chord for them. 

For Arden Ogg, director of Canada’s Cree Literacy Network, and Dolores Greyeyes Sand, a Plains Cree
person and Cree language teacher, the focus is on providing resources for language learners. For Brian
Thom, a cultural anthropologist and professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the
interest grew out of his work helping Indigenous communities map their traditional lands

Brian asked yutustanaat, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and a language teacher in British
Columbia, to record the hul’q’umi’num’ language. “Our language is very healing,” says yutustanaat. “It
brings out caring in our people and helps our students be strong, because the language comes from
the heart.” In her recording, yutustanaat speaks the traditional hul’q’umi’num’ greeting:
‘i ch ‘o’ ‘uy’ ‘ul’ or “How are you?”

By using their languages—and sharing them with the rest of the world—Indigenous people create closer
connections to a culture that is often endangered or has outright disappeared. 

Wikuki Kingi, a Māori Master Carver, recorded traditional chants in Te Reo Māori, an Eastern Polynesian
language indigenous to New Zealand. He says, “Speaking Te Reo Māori connects me to my relatives, to
the land, rivers, and the ocean, and it can take me to another time and place.” 

On the right, yutustanaat, a Snuneymuxw First Nation member, records the hul’q’umi’num’ language
with student Beatrix Taylor. Listen to it in the Celebrating Indigenous Languages collection.
Photo credit: Brian Thom

Ensuring that generations to come will hear their languages

“I do this not for myself, but for my children and grandchildren, so that in the future, they’ll hear our
language,” says Dolores, who recorded audio in her native Plains Cree

To ensure that future generations hear and speak Indigenous languages, more needs to be done to
support their revitalization. Tania Wolfgramm suggests checking out how her nonprofit organization,
Global Reach Initiative & Development Pacific, uses technology to connect far-flung Indigenous people
to their traditional communities—like bringing Google Street View to the remote island of Tonga. Arden
Ogg directs people interested in Indigenous languages to the Cree Literacy Network, which publishes
books in Cree and English to facilitate language learning. And a video from the University of Victoria
suggests five ways to support Indigenous language revitalization, such as learning words and phrases
using smartphone apps, and learning the names of rivers, mountains and towns in the local Indigenous

This initial collection of audio recordings in Google Earth only scratches the surface of the world’s
thousands of Indigenous languages. If you’d like to contribute your language to this collection in the
future, please share your interest.    

Titan Security Keys are now available in Canada, France, Japan, and the UK

Credential compromise as a result of phishing is one of the most common causes of security breaches. Security keys provide the strongest protection against these types of attacks, and that’s one of the main reasons why Google requires them as a second factor of authentication for our employees.

Last year, we launched Titan Security Keys in the United States and were excited to see strong demand from users and businesses choosing to protect their personal and work Google Accounts. Starting today, Titan Security Keys are also available on the Google Store in Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom (UK).

Titan Security Keys 

Titan Security Keys are built with a hardware chip that includes firmware engineered by Google to verify the keys’ integrity. Each key leverages FIDO standards to cryptographically verify your identity and URL of the login page, preventing an attacker from accessing your account even if you are tricked into providing your username and password. Security keys are appropriate for any security-conscious user or enterprise, and we recommend that all users, especially those at higher risk such as IT administrators, executives, politicians, and activists consider signing in via security keys. 

Bundles of two Titan Security Keys (one USB/NFC and one Bluetooth) are available on the Google Store in Canada, France, Japan, and the UK in addition to the US. To set up your security keys with your personal or work Google Account, sign in and navigate to the 2-Step Verification page. In addition, you can enroll in the Advanced Protection Program, which provides Google’s strongest security for anyone at risk of targeted attacks. Titan Security Keys can also be used anywhere FIDO security keys are supported, including Coinbase, Dropbox, Facebook, GitHub, Salesforce, Stripe, Twitter, and more.

Enterprise administrators can require security keys for their users in G Suite and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Bulk orders of unbundled Titan Security Keys are available in Canada, Japan, and the US.

Google Translate’s update helps Canadians connect and communicate in different languages

Google Translate allows you to explore unfamiliar lands, communicate in different languages, and make
connections that would be otherwise impossible. One of my favourite features on the
Google Translate mobile app is instant camera translation, which allows you to see the world in your language by
just pointing your camera lens at the foreign text. Similar to the real-time translation feature we recently launched in
Google Lens, this is an intuitive way to understand your surroundings, and it’s especially helpful when you’re
traveling abroad as it works even when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi or using cellular data. Today, we’re launching
new upgrades to this feature, so that it’s even more useful.
Translate from 88 languages into 100+ languages

The instant camera translation adds support for 60 more languages, such as Arabic, Hindi, Malay, Thai and
Vietnamese. Here’s a full list of all 88 supported languages. What’s more exciting is that, previously you could only
translate between English and other languages, but now you can translate into any of the 100+ languages
supported on Google Translate. This means you can now translate from Arabic to French, or from Japanese to
Chinese, etc. 

Automatically detect the language

When traveling abroad, especially in a region with multiple languages, it can be challenging for people to determine
the language of the text that they need to translate. We took care of that—in the new version of the app, you can
just select “Detect language” as the source language, and the Translate app will automatically detect the language
and translate. Say you’re traveling through South America, where both Portuguese and Spanish are spoken, and
you encounter a sign. Translate app can now determine what language the sign is in, and then translate it for you
into your language of choice.

Better translations powered by Neural Machine Translation

For the first time, Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology is built into instant camera translations. This
produces more accurate and natural translations, reducing errors by 55-85 percent in certain language pairs. And
most of the languages can be downloaded onto your device, so that you can use the feature without an internet
connection. However, when your device is connected to the internet, the feature uses that connection to produce
higher quality translations.

A new look

Last but not least, the feature has a new look and is more intuitive to use. In the past, you might have noticed the
translated text would flicker when viewed on your phone, making it difficult to read. We’ve reduced that flickering,
making the text more stable and easier to understand. The new look has all three camera translation features
conveniently located on the bottom of the app: “Instant” translates foreign text when you point your camera at it.
"Scan" lets you take a photo and use your finger to highlight text you want translated. And “Import” lets you translate
text from photos on your camera roll. 

To try out the the instant camera translation feature, download the Google Translate app.

Xinxing Gu, Product Manager, Google Translate

Become a Stadia “founder” with our first collection of games

Stadia is our game platform that uses different elements of Google technology, from our data centers to our hardware. It brings together people playing games and watching games, and lets you do it from wherever you are. Today we're announcing the first collection of games coming to Stadia, and we’ll continue to add to this list later this summer.

You can now pre-order the Stadia Founder’s Edition at the Google Store—a limited number are available, so if you want to be one of our “founders,” be sure to get it before it’s gone. The Founder’s Edition packs nearly $300 of value into just $169.00 and includes: 

  • A Chromecast Ultra A limited-edition Night Blue Stadia Controller 
  • Three months of Stadia Pro (more on that below) 
  • A three month Buddy Pass to bring one friend along for the ride 
  • Dibs on selecting a Stadia Name 

The Founder’s Edition gives our first set of fans the highest quality gaming experience—you’ll get Stadia Pro and the ability to play your favorite games across multiple screens (for those of you with a 4K TV and Stadia Pro, you'll get up to 4K HDR resolution at 60 frames per second with 5.1 surround sound). Stadia Pro will include free content, as well as discounts on titles you buy. The first free title is “Destiny 2,” and it comes with the base game, all previous add-ons, the upcoming Shadowkeep expansion and the annual pass. And after your free 3-month subscription ends, Stadia Pro is only $11.99 per month.

If you want to pick up an extra controller for multiplayer games, for your laptop or just to keep a spare in your backpack, they come in three colors—Just Black, Clearly White or Wasabi—for $89.00. You’ll be able to access Stadia at launch this November in 14 countries: U.S., Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, U.K.—and we’re working to expand to additional countries in 2020.

And if you don’t need 4K quality resolution, you can still play your favorite games on virtually any screen with instant access and no downloads, updates, or patches. Coming in 2020, Stadia Base is how you will play games you purchase in up to 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second without an active subscription to Stadia Pro. Stadia Founder’s Edition is the first way to get Stadia in November, and we’ll be announcing even more games later this summer. Please visit or tweet us @GoogleStadia if you have any questions—we’d love to hear from you.

Google Maps update to help Canadians during times of crisis

SOS alerts help you quickly access authoritative, real-time information during times of crisis. Today, we’re improving SOS alerts by adding visual information about natural disasters and a new navigation warning system on Google Maps so Canadians can more reliably know where a disaster is and anticipate where it’s headed. Read on to learn about what’s changing, along with three ways to help you stay connected and informed during times of emergency.

Earthquake shakemaps 

With SOS alerts, you can already see important crisis information—a summary of what’s happening, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers and websites, Twitter updates from local authorities, and tips to help you find your way to safety. Now, you’ll also be able to see detailed visualizations about earthquakes to give you a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

After an earthquake strikes, tapping the crisis card located on the Maps home screen will lead to a display of the earthquake’s shakemap —a visualization that shows you its epicenter, its magnitude, along with colour coding to indicate how intense the shaking was in surrounding areas. This information can help you quickly assess the reach of the earthquake and identify areas likely to have experienced the highest impact.

The above image is an example of the crisis-related information Canadians will be able to see after the occurrence of a major earthquake. The above is a depiction of an actual earthquake that took place near Port Hardy, British Columbia, in 2014.

When you’re outside of the impacted area, you may still want to see these visualizations and other crisis details. Searches on Google for relevant terms—like the name of the disaster or the location—will display an SOS Alert that provides the same overview in addition to features like donation opportunities when they’re available.

Crisis navigation warnings on Google Maps

In addition, later this summer you’ll see a prominent alert if we think your route may be affected by crisis activity— and when possible, we’ll do our best to route you away from the disrupted area.

Canadians will be able to receive navigation warnings during crises such as earthquakes. 

During a crisis, every minute matters. Here are three other ways you can use Google Maps to stay connected and quickly get the information you need:

  • Share your location: Letting loved ones know where you are is vital during fast-moving, chaotic situations. The crisis card provides the option to share your live location with friends and family for as little as 15 minutes, or until you decide to stop sharing. 
  • See and report road closures: Turn on the traffic layer to see all known and suspected road closures in an area. If you encounter a closure on your drive, you can report it to help others nearby. You can also confirm whether or not a road is still closed with a quick tap on Android. 
  • Share crisis information directly with the ones you care about: Tap on the share button from the crisis card to keep friends and family up to date about the situation. They’ll be directed to Google Maps where they’ll see all available crisis information - which could include a summary, visualizations, emergency contact information, and more. 
Earthquake shakemaps will start rolling out in the coming weeks on Android, iOS, desktop, and mobile web.