Category Archives: Google Canada Blog

News and notes from Google Canada

YouTube shines a spotlight on Canada

Today, we’re making it easier than ever for Canadians to find incredible homegrown talent on YouTube, with the launch of YouTube Spotlight Canada. This new hub for Canadian content will showcase Canada’s top stars in both French and English, and offer one more way to discover emerging Canadian talent.

Every month, we’ll highlight the creators and the videos that have got Canada clicking, watching and sharing. We’ll introduce you to new Canadian stories, perspectives and personalities. And we’ll share themed playlists to help you explore new topics and trends.

Our first month on YouTube Spotlight Canada is a celebration of the best of the true north, strong and free. Meet the country’s favourite YouTubers, check out highlights from Canada 150 celebrations, relive moments in Canadian history and dive into an incredible roster of indigenous music artists.

This week, we’re also launching the popular Creator on the Rise feature in Canada. Creator on the Rise will identify Canadian creators who are growing rapidly and showcase their videos in the Trending tab on YouTube, helping them build an even bigger audience. Every week we’ll bring you a new creator to keep your eye on.

Canada’s YouTubers are part of a new generation of Canadian artists growing up online, and finding fans both at home and around the world. YouTube’s open model and global scale reduces the cost of getting content to international markets. As a result, 90% of views on Canadian channels come from outside of Canada, which is higher than any other country on the platform. By lowering barriers to entry, it’s become a powerful platform for creators in Canada to get their voice heard.

We hope that you’ll visit the YouTube Spotlight Canada channel (don’t forget to subscribe!) and get to know the Canadians who are taking the world by storm.

Posted by Marie Josée Lamothe, Managing Director Quebec and Managing Director, Branding

Google Home arrives in Canada

“Ok Google, good morning.”

There’s never a dull moment at home -- from getting the family ready to go in the morning to kicking back after a long day, and everything in between. Wouldn’t it be great to get some extra help? 

Starting today, Canadians can get their hands on Google Home, our voice-activated smart speaker, powered by the Google Assistant in English and French.
With a simple “Ok Google”, you can get results from Google Search, turn up the music, manage your everyday tasks or even adjust your compatible smart lights.

Help from your Google Assistant 
Need to solve a problem? Ask Google Home to translate phrases, do simple math calculations, or share definitions. Want some help in the kitchen? Ask to get nutritional information and unit conversions with flour-covered hands. Too busy to stay on top of the news? Ask and you shall receive the latest Canadian stories from sources such as the CBC, Radio Canada, Global News, Sportsnet, TC Media, The Weather Network / MétéoMédia and more.

Your Assistant can also have fun—it can tell you jokes, play trivia or make animal sounds. Ever wanted to know what a whale sounds like? Now’s your chance to find out.

Enjoy your music
Find the right beat for every occasion, from practicing yoga to hosting a dance-a-thon with your little ones. The Assistant on Google Home lets you enjoy your favourite tunes. Simply say “Ok Google” and you can play songs, playlists, artists and albums from Google Play Music, Spotify, and more.* 

Manage your everyday tasks
Canadians are busy -- and the Assistant on Google Home is now here to help. With your permission, it will give you answers for things like your commute, your daily schedule and more. Just ask “Ok Google, tell me about my day” or say, “Hey Google, how long will it take to get to work?” and you’ll get up to speed on everything you need to know.

Google Home is there to give you an assist around the house, too. All you have to do is ask and it will wake you up in the morning (or let you snooze), set a timer while you’re baking, and more.

Control your smart home 
You can control your lights and switches in your home using compatible smart devices from brands like Nest, Philips, Samsung SmartThings and more.** Just ask, and Google Home will turn off the kitchen light.

If you have a Chromecast, you can also use voice commands to play Netflix and YouTube on your TV or binge watch your favourite show. Simply say, “Ok Google, play ‘Stranger Things’”.***

A speaker designed for any room
Whether you’re hosting a dinner or a solo dance party, Google Home delivers crystal-clear sound, giving you an enjoyable listening experience across all types of music. Plus, we designed Google Home to fit stylishly into any room. And you have the option to customize your Google Home with a choice of interchangeable metallic bases, available in Copper or Carbon.

We know Canadians have been patiently waiting for Google Home to arrive, and we’re working to bring the Assistant to Canadians in English and, for the first time ever, in French. Your Google Home experience will get better over time, as we add more features, partners and more. And of course, we’ve hidden a few Canadian treats for you to discover along the way. Why not try asking your Assistant on Google Home about some of its favourite foods or sports teams?

Google Home is available starting on June 26th from the Google Store, Bell, Best Buy, Fido, Indigo, London Drugs, Rogers, Staples, The Source, Telus, Visions, and Walmart.

Indigenous Lands in Canada are now in Google Maps

Editor’s Note: Today’s blog is guest authored by Tara Rush, Kanien'kehá:ka from Akwesasne, Canadian Googler based at Google Kitchener-Waterloo

A seven year collaborative effort between Indigenous communities across Canada and Google Earth Outreach has lead to Indigenous Lands being added to Google Maps and Google Earth. This marks an essential step in accurately reflecting Canada to Canadians and to the world.
I’m Kanien'kehá:ka from Akwesasne (a territory that spans international and provincial borders, including Akwesasne 15, Akwesasne 59 and the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation) and I work at the Google Kitchener-Waterloo office. Since 2014, with the support of my colleagues, we have lead mapping workshops with various Indigenous communities across Canada. During that time, we’ve been asked why Indigenous Lands aren’t on Google Maps. So we set out to make that happen.
[Caption: Sanikiluaq, 2015, mapping activity with the Inuit community of Sanikiluaq. Raleigh Seamster, from the Google Outreach Team, is in the background.]

On our journey, we worked with various partners, including Steven DeRoy, an Anishinaabe cartographer and director of Firelight Research Inc, to bring these reserves and settlement lands to Google platforms. As Steve puts it,Indigenous peoples are often underrepresented on Canadian base maps, and this was made apparent during our annual Indigenous Mapping Workshops. We are thrilled to see Google recognize Indigenous peoples by integrating Indigenous lands as an important fabric of Google's base maps."

Another team that worked on this project was Google Earth Outreach. The Google Earth Outreach program is proud to support Indigenous peoples using mapping technology for cultural preservation and land management. Together, we have supported Indigenous Mapping Workshops held in Victoria, Waterloo and Vancouver as well as a planned workshop in Winnipeg in October 2017. We hope to continue to build partnerships and use available technologies to better support and represent Indigenous interests in Canada and abroad.

Currently, over 3000 Indigenous Lands have been added to Google Maps and Google Earth. If Indigenous communities would like to add their lands to Google Maps, or want to update information about their lands such as roads, addresses, or businesses, their government can contribute the data they are comfortable sharing via the Base Map Partner Program and individual community members can also use the Send Feedback tool to add and edit essential information on Google Maps.
 With the launch of recognized Indigenous Territories in Canada on Google Earth and Maps, the Google Earth Outreach program continues its work to support indigenous people using mapping technology. The goal is to enhance cultural preservation, digital awareness and land management. The hope is to use tools like Google Earth to preserve knowledge and to update Google Maps to reflect federally-recognized Canadian territories.

Canada has one of the world’s most diverse populations, with more than 1.4 million people self-identifying as First Nations, Métis or Inuit (NHS, 2011) , 600 bands living on 3100 reserves and in urban centres across Canada. We are working to better reflect these stories, histories and futures within our platforms.

Tara Rush, Kanien'kehá:ka from Akwesasne, Canadian Googler based at Google Kitchener-Waterloo

Canada’s future is bright, according to Jana Sofia Panem, Doodle 4 Google Canada 2017 winner!

In this year’s Doodle 4 Google contest, more than 12,000 students from across the country submitted doodles around the theme “What I see for Canada’s future is…”. Young artists imagined a country where robots could cure disease, others dreamed of living on Mars, while some saw a world united by nature.

Following a very close public vote, where Canadians voted more than 400,000 times, we revealed our four incredibly talented grade group winners at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Of those four masterpieces, 11th-grader Jana Sofia Panem’s Doodle, "A Bright Future" was selected as the national winner!

This year’s winner of Doodle 4 Google Canada with her doodle “A Bright Future” and judges Mitch and Greg of AsapSCIENCE

On June 14th, Canadians can enjoy Jana’s masterpiece on the homepage. Google Canada is also honoured to award her with a $10,000 university scholarship and a $10,000 technology award for her school.

Plus, Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of YouTube’s AsapSCIENCE shared a surprise award -- as part of her prize, Jana will get to join them in their studio and help draw their next video! This will be an especially lovely treat for Jana, who has a YouTube channel of her own where she shares her animations. 

National Winner and Grade 10-12 Group Winner 
A Bright Future
Jana Sofia Panem
Toronto, Ontario 

In her energetic doodle, Jana sees “that wind power will be an alternative energy source for Canada's future. I believe we will have enough energy to generate power for our everyday lives such as electricity, transportation, and the internet. This transformation will greatly benefit our future generation as it will help to maximize preserving our vital nature and maintain a clean environment.” 

Winners and judges of this year's Doodle 4 Google Canada

All the entries were evaluated on the criteria of artistic merit, creativity and theme representation. This year’s jury, YouTube stars Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown of AsapSCIENCE, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, En Masse co-founder Jason Botkin, president of the National Inuit Youth Council Maatalii Okalik, Google Doodler Sophie Diao, and Stephan Jost, Art Director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario, had a mammoth task at hand -- selecting the top grade group winners from across the nation. And here they are:

Kindergarten-Grade 3 Group Winner
A Beautiful World
Faizaan Buttar
Surrey, British Columbia

Grade 4-6 Group Winner 
A Mechanical Canada
Wesley Babin 
Lower Cloverdale, New Brunswick 

Grade 7-9 Group Winner 
Mother Nature Prospers in Canada 
Amélie Fortier 
Jonquière, Quebec 

Thank you to all those who submitted and to our finalists for sharing your creativity and imagination with us. Let’s wish our national winner, Jana Sofia Panem, another heartfelt congratulations. Her doodle shared a vision of our future that we're proud to share with all Canadians.

Keep on doodling!

‘Connecting People to Nature’ – Celebrate Canada hosting World Environment Day with a virtual trip to our most beautiful parks

Each year on June 5, World Environment Day is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide. It is the single largest celebration of our environment and there’s no better time for Canada to host than on the eve of our 150th birthday.

Being the official host of this global event coupled with plans to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as soon as possible sends a clear message that Canada is fully behind global action to tackle the biggest environmental challenges of our time.
[From L to R: The Honourable Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau]

Canada will use World Environment Day to showcase the beauty of its natural environment on land and water. This year’s theme is 'Connecting People to Nature’ and one of the great ways of doing this is through Street View.

Take a virtual walk through Kluane National Park in the Yukon or Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in British Columbia.Or, check out Forillon National Park and Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park in Quebec and the world famous L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador.

[The Honourable Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna]

I’m happy that Canada, which has been demonstrating an emphatic commitment to environmental issues, will host World Environment Day 2017. As global host, it is an opportunity for Canada to further demonstrate this commitment and expand its leadership on the international stage.
 Guest authored by the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change

YouTube Pulse 2017: May we have your attention, please?

YouTube is not TV. It never will be. People don’t come to YouTube for polish, they come to YouTube for texture. They come to YouTube to see the world as it truly is, filled with people just like themselves. They come to be entertained and they come to learn.They come to witness our shared humanity. And they come back day after day.

Every minute, 400 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube. And every day, people watch one billion hours of videos on YouTube. That tremendous volume is echoed here in Canada, where watchtime on YouTube has grown 30% versus last year.

This week we hosted 700 of Canada’s top advertisers and agencies for our annual YouTube Pulse event. Because of the tremendous engagement of its fanbase, YouTube offers marketers something different from other mass media platforms.

The show featured a Canada 150 themed performance by Mike Tompkins, Daniela Andrade, KRNFX and the Bizzy Boom dance crew. 

 And as more people are watching more content across more devices, one of the YouTube offers marketers is attentive reach. When people are watching YouTube, they are engaged. They’re not just watching, they are commenting, watching related videos and sharing. According to recent Ipsos eye-tracking research in the U.S., attention to paid video advertising on YouTube's mobile app is 84% higher than on TV and 1.8X higher than on other social media platforms.

 Sam Sebastian speaks to the capacity crowd. 

YouTube Pulse also gave Canadian advertisers a glimpse of our new series and specials premiering exclusively on YouTube. We’ve partnered with YouTube creators, mainstream celebrities, and world-class production companies to create seven new, ad-supported series for YouTube. Featuring global superstars like Ellen DeGeneres, Rhett & Link and Kevin Hart (just to name a few), these new shows will be available to audiences globally later this year and offer our advertisers a chance to tap into the wide audience appeal of powerhouse talent and engage viewers as only YouTube can.

In fact, a recent study from Ipsos asked Canadians about the personalities that were most influential over the things they are thinking about, talking about, researching and buying. And overwhelmingly, Canadians that the personalities they watch on YouTube were more influential than mainstream personalities.

YouTube is one of the most dynamic, creative and inspiring communities in history: millions of voices, creating hundreds of millions of videos, all being watched by over a billion people. Come and join the conversation!

Google Home is coming to Canada, pre-order yours today

Spending quality time with our family and friends at home is important. What if technology could make the most of those special moments by helping us get things done?

Google Home is a voice-activated smart speaker powered by the Google Assistant that does just that. Whether you want to get results from Google, turn up the music, manage your everyday tasks or control compatible smart devices in your home, all you have to do is say “Ok Google.”

Now, Google Home is coming to Canada, and with it we’re bringing the Google Assistant to Canadians in both English and French.
With Google Home, you can:

  • Get help from the Google Assistant: Ask your Assistant on Google Home a question, and it will tap into everything Google has to offer —Search, Maps, Translate and more. You can get the latest on weather, traffic, finance, news, sports, and local businesses when you need them most.
  • Enjoy your music: Whether you're in the mood to listen to a podcast or dance around the living room, Google Home helps you enjoy your favourite tunes. With a simple voice command, you can play songs, playlists, artists and albums from Google Play Music, Spotify, and more.* Plus, you can enjoy news, podcasts, and radio.
  • Manage your everyday tasks: There’s never a shortage of things to do in the home and we could all use a little help sometimes. With your permission, the Google Assistant will help you with things like your daily schedule, commute, and more. Plus it’s a whiz at setting alarms, starting timers, and adding items to your shopping list.
  • Control your smart home: If you have smart devices in your home, you can use your Assistant to control your lights and switches from brands including Nest, Philips Hue or Samsung SmartThings and more.
  • A speaker designed for any room: Google Home’s high excursion speaker delivers Hi-Fi sound quality. It can also hear you reliably thanks to far-field microphones and sophisticated natural language processing. Crafted to fit naturally in many areas of your home, we designed the top to be clean with a hidden LED light ring to blend in.

Google Home is available for pre-order starting today from the Google Store and Best Buy Canada

Google Home will be available starting on June 26th from the Google Store, Bell, Best Buy, Indigo, London Drugs, Rogers, Staples, The Source, Telus, Visions, and Walmart.

Hey Canada, get tappin’ this spring with Android Pay

T-shirt. Check. Flip flops. Check. Android phone. Check.

As Canadians exchange parkas and scarves for t-shirts and flip flops this spring, we have some news that may lighten their pockets, too. Whether you’re heading out to buy groceries or grabbing a cup of coffee with friends, now your Android phone is all you need to walk out the door.

Today, we’re beginning to roll out Android Pay across Canada to help you pay simply and securely in stores and in apps.

We’ll be rolling out support for top banks over the next several days, and this is just the beginning. We will continue to add even more features, banks and store locations in the coming months, making it even easier to pay with your Android phone.
Now, you’ll be able to use Android Pay at hundreds of thousands of shops across the country that accept contactless payments, like Tim Hortons, Loblaws, Petro-Canada, McDonald’s, Indigo, Pizza Pizza, Sears Canada and more, and in TELUS, Rogers, Fido and Freedom Mobile retail stores. Just tap with your phone as you would with your participating credit, debit or prepaid card. It’s that simple. 
You’ll also be able to breeze through checkout in your favourite apps, including Lululemon, Uber, Ritual, HotelTonight, and more. Just look for the Android Pay button, and say goodbye to entering your payment and address details each time you buy.
Android Pay also stores your gift cards, loyalty cards and special offers right on your phone.

How does Android Pay work?

Using Android Pay is simple. Just wake up your phone (you don’t even have to open an app or unlock it), hold it near the payment terminal, and voilà — your payment is done. After you check out, you’ll get helpful information on your phone about your recent transactions.
To get started, install the Android Pay app from the Google Play Store. It’s available on all Android devices that are NFC-enabled, supporting Google Play Services, and running on KitKat 4.4 or higher. Simply open, set up, and get tapping.

Over the next several days, Android Pay is rolling out with support from eligible Visa and MasterCard credit cards from BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, Banque Nationale, Scotiabank, Desjardins, President’s Choice Financial, ATB Financial, and Canadian Tire Financial Services in Canada, and prepaid Scotiabank and Desjardins cards. Support for Interac-branded debit cards will begin roll-out on Monday, and support for American Express cards and Tangerine is coming later this summer. You can add multiple eligible cards and select which card you want to use before you pay, so you can always enjoy the best deals available.
We've teamed up with many leading payment platforms, processors, and technology providers such as Moneris, Bambora, Chase, Cybersource, First Data, Global Payments, Paysafe, WorldPay and Stripe to make it even easier to accept Android Pay. Visit the Android Pay API developer site to learn more.
Happy shopping!

Celebrating 10 years of Street View in Canada and around the world!

Street View started out as Larry Page’s far-fetched idea to create a 360-degree map of the world. Today, 10 years after the first imagery was published in Street View, Canadians can scale mountains, take a tour of the Canadian Memorial at Vimy Ridge, scout out the best Street Art in Montreal, and walk through Canadian museums. Over the last decade, a lot has changed—the technology we use, the appearance of the planet—but the goal of Google Maps has remained the same: to help you navigate and discover new corners of the world. Now raise your glass (or smartphone), and cheers to Street View’s 10th birthday!

[Whistler Mountain in British Columbia]

Let’s hop inside our time machine and see where it all began. Larry kicked off the first prototype in 2004 with a team of Googlers who were passionate about his idea to create a 360-degree view of the world. They tossed cameras on a van, added some lasers (okay maybe it was a bit more complicated than that), and the first Street View car was born. In 2006, Street View officially hit the roads in a few cities across the U.S. and the first imagery was published in May 2007. In Canada, Street View cars came up to Montreal through Vermont in September 2007 with the first image being of Highway 55. Ten years later, we’ve published imagery on every continent, in 83 countries, and traveled about 10 million miles with the Street View car. Talk about a roadtrip.

[First image of Highway 55 - Vermont border crossing on the way to Montreal - the first image in Street View in Canada]

While our cars explored streets around the world, we were still missing out on some of the most beautiful places on Earth: the world that exists beyond the roads. So we developed custom rigs, like the Street View Trekker, to go where cars couldn’t go. The Trekker is designed to be worn and walked through narrow alleyways or trails, gathering images as it goes. It’s traveled to breathtaking natural wonders and world heritage sites—Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, the Galapagos Islands and even the historic pedestrian paths in Venice. And it's been used by conservation organizations to observe wildlife, like elephants, chimps, polar bears, and frogs in the Amazon, in their natural habitat. Over the years we've put Street View cameras on a snowmobile to bring you closer to the Arctic Eiders, the back of a camel to roam the Arabian desert, and a trolley to give you a better view of renowned works of art.

[Street View cameras on a snowmobile to bring you closer to the Arctic Eiders]

To build our map of the world faster, in 2013 we enlisted the help of partners through the Trekker Loan Program. We gave volunteers Street View cameras, which they used to collect 360-degree imagery of the local places they know best. Then the Street View App came along in 2015, so that anyone could publish photo spheres (360-degree panoramas) of their favorite places from around the world—or around the block—to Google Maps in an instant. We expanded on this last month, when we announced more than 20 new Street View-compatible 360 cameras, to help you document your adventures with high quality imagery. Now anyone—from tourism organizations to local neighborhood enthusiast—can contribute panoramic imagery to Street View.

The world is better explored than explained. Street View gives you a taste of the places you’ll see in person one day, helps you remember the places you've been, and enables you to explore the places you might never get to. So pick up your phone and take a peek. Many wonders await.

Authored By: Arjun Raman, Technical Program Management Director, Street View

Oodles of doodles: Vote now for your favourite Doodle 4 Google Canada student finalist

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Doodle 4 Google judge Sophie Diao 

A spacesuit that lets astronauts walk on Mars. Robots that cure cancer. Machines that turn garbage into paper. Waterslides that transport you everywhere.

These are just some of the great ideas that Canadian students, from kindergarten to grade 12, came up with for Canada’s second Doodle 4 Google contest.

Back in March, we asked students across the country to use their imagination and create a doodle that answers the question “What I see for Canada’s future is…”, to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

As a Google Doodler, I get to collaborate with some of the brightest artists, designers and engineers who create doodles, those fun and surprising illustrations on Google's home page. I jumped at the opportunity to be a judge in this year’s contest and help the next generation of artists, animators, and engineers explore their creative sides.

We were blown away by the thousands of students who submitted a doodle and shared their vision of Canada’s future -- from co-existing peacefully with nature to innovative and eco-friendly technological advancements.

Now, Doodle 4 Google needs your vote! Help us pick the lucky Canadian student who will have their artwork takeover for a day and win a $10,000 university scholarship.

Check out this year’s 12 grade group winners below and head over to to vote for your favourite. Share and vote as many times as you want!

Your vote will help determine our four grade group winners, who will receive a $5,000 technology award for their schools. From there, we’ll choose our winning student, who will receive a $10,000 scholarship and a $10,000 technology award for his/her school plus have their doodle takeover for a day!

We’ll reveal the winning doodles at our finale event on June 13 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Kindergarten-Grade 3 
Faizaan Buttar 
Surrey, British Columbia  
Leo Cao 
Markham, Ontario 
Olin Wang 
Richmond Hill, Ontario 

Grade 4-6
Wesley Babin 
Lower Cloverdale, New Brunswick  
Flora Hu 
Richmond Hill, Ontario 
Ahmber Bains 
Richmond, British Columbia 

Grade 7-9 
Carol Zhou 
Markham, Ontario 
Lina Yan 
Burnaby, British Columbia
Amélie Fortier 
Jonquière, Quebec 

Grade 10-12 
Jana Sofia Panem 
Toronto, Ontario 
Emma Diederichs 
Sherwood Park, Alberta  
Roldan Esteban 
York, Ontario