Category Archives: Google New Zealand Blog

New Zealand news and notes from Google

New Street View Cars to Start the Ultimate Kiwi Roadtrip





This week three new Street View vehicles will hit the streets in New Zealand, starting with the South Island, to gather updated, higher quality 360-degree imagery.


It’s been nine years since we’ve updated our camera technology, and just as smartphone cameras have dramatically evolved since then, we now have access to improved 360-degree camera technology. These new cutting-edge cameras fitted to our Street View cars will allow us to capture higher quality, sharper imagery and in low light conditions across New Zealand.


Google Maps’ Street View - a global collection of 360 degree imagery - is used millions of times every day by people looking to explore the world, to preview places before they go, or experience places virtually they might never have the chance to visit in person.



Keep your eyes peeled and you may see one of the new cars in your neighbourhood in the coming months. To see where they’ve been and where they’re headed next, check out this link. Imagery from their journeys will be made available via Street View later this year.








Privacy Awareness Week 2019

Editor’s note: Privacy Awareness Week is an initiative by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA). It is held annually to promote awareness of privacy and personal data protection issues.

Whether it’s delivering search results you’re looking for or recommending the quickest route home, data can make Google products more helpful to you. We think it’s important that you have the information you need, to make the choices you want, about your data. That’s why we build easy-to-use privacy features and controls into our products.

We made some privacy related announcements last week that we want to highlight during Privacy Awareness Week:

One-tap access to your Google Account from all our major products
A few years ago, we introduced Google Account to provide a comprehensive view of the information you’ve shared and saved with Google, and one place to access your privacy and security settings. Privacy controls should be easy to find and use - today you’ll see your Google Account profile picture appear in the top right corner across products like Gmail, Drive, Contacts and Pay. To quickly access your privacy controls, just tap on your picture and follow the link to your Google Account.

Auto-Delete Options
We’re also introducing automatic deletion options, which will enable Google users to set a time limit for how long they want some data to be saved. They can choose to automatically delete data from their account after 3 or 18 months. These controls are available now for Web & App Activity and they will be launched for Location History in the coming weeks.

Your Data in Maps, the Assistant, and more
Late last year, we launched a new feature called Your Data in Search, which puts privacy and security front and centre in Google Search. We’re now making this feature available in Google Maps and the Assistant, with YouTube coming later this month. This provides quick and easy access to the most relevant privacy controls. Any data older than that will be automatically and continuously deleted from your account.

Incognito mode in Google apps
Incognito is a very popular feature in the Chrome web browser and we are bringing this functionality to additional surfaces this year. It’s available in YouTube and is coming soon to Maps and Search. Tap from your profile picture to easily turn it on or off. While using Incognito, a user’s activity - for example the places they search for or navigated to - won’t be linked to their Google account. When users turn off Incognito mode, their apps and devices will be cleared of this history, enabling them to confidently share screens with friends or family.

Chrome privacy enhancements
We’re also updating Chrome to provide users with improved controls for managing cookies and stepping up our efforts to restrict “fingerprinting,” to ensure that users’ privacy choices are respected. You can read more about these changes here.

Personalised ads
As part of our work to improve privacy in the ads-supported ecosystem, Google will provide better visibility into personalised advertising, and tools for others to do the same. We believe that we can build products and privacy for everyone and we are working to bring a thoughtful and thorough approach to improving user privacy in the ad-supported ecosystem.

Our work on privacy is never done and we will continue to explore new ways for our users to manage their privacy. You can learn more about these updates in our blogpost and check out these 5 things you can do right now to stay safer online.


Computer science grants for New Zealand educators

Computer science skills are important across a wide range of industries, from health and science to agriculture or the arts. Equipping teachers with the knowledge, resources, and support to teach computer science has never been more important.

Google continues its support of CS education through the Digital Technologies curriculum in Australia and New Zealand with the 2019 Educator Professional Development Grants. Past awardees have reached over 15,600 teachers throughout Australia and New Zealand, which in turn, impacts over 390,000 students.

CORE Education have been providing quality professional development (PD) to teachers around New Zealand since 2003. In 2018, their Google funded PD project used their expertise to run online, accessible workshops for teachers focusing on digital technologies in years 7-10.

Workshop organiser Catherine Johnson said: “For educators to upskill in computational thinking for digital technologies is incredibly challenging”. CORE’s webinars and community of practice “presented both the digital capability, and the curriculum understanding to support this challenging 'middle school' sector, to be able to take the first steps to adopting these future focused pedagogies.”



Over four weeks, 400 teachers from around NZ participated in online webinars and joined a global community, learning how to implement the digital technologies curriculum content and learning to share with their communities and schools more broadly.

One teacher attending the program is now planning to “encourage other subject teachers at the secondary level to do more with digital technologies, and be actively involved in supporting our feeder primary schools to improve the learning of my future students.”

We’re excited to announce the following Awardees, who will continue to motivate and inspire educators around New Zealand.

2019 CS Educator Grants Funding Recipients New Zealand
Congratulations to this year's awardees - we can't wait to see how you make an impact!

YouTube Music is Celebrating New Zealand Music Month


NZ Music Month is about celebrating Kiwi music and the incredible artists behind it--so, for May, we’ve decided to join the party and have launched a ‘NZ Music Month 2019’ shelf on YouTube Music to make it easier to find and discover homegrown talent.

When listeners visit the YouTube Music app in New Zealand, they will now see Kiwi playlists and artists right on their Home screen. This includes the ‘New Kiwi Cool’ playlist, featuring brand new local releases and favourites.

Highlighting Kiwi artists across all genres, you can easily journey from soulful Broods to the achingly cool JessB, and uncover the best in budding Kiwi artists here to change the face of Kiwi music, including rising star Bene (who was also named as one of our Artists to Watch in 2019) and emo pop group Openside.


YouTube Music is a music streaming service with official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio, plus YouTube’s vast catalogue of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that you can’t find anywhere else--all simply organised, personalised and in one place.

Head to YouTube Music to further explore the world of music. The NZ Music Month shelf will be live for all of May for NZ Music Month.


New Zealand tech startup to benefit from Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge

Last year, we launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) Asia Pacific Innovation Challenge, aimed at strengthening our support of digital innovation and new business models in news organisations.

Through our work and partnership with publishers, it’s clear that reader revenue is key to their financial stability. We want to support innovators in this space—those who are pioneering approaches that involve everything from granting digital currency to subscription-based membership models.

Today, I’m delighted to announce that New Zealand’s very own PressPatron will be supported as part of the Innovation Challenge. PressPatron is a platform that aims to support the future of journalism, through a mix of crowdfunding, membership payments and donations. By simplifying the process for supporters to make contributions to their favourite media sites, this kiwi organisations is ensuring the support of readers allows publishers to expand their capacity to report on the stories that matter most.

Within two months of opening up the Innovation Challenge, we received 215 applications from 18 countries. After a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a thorough jury selection process, we ended up providing support to 23 projects in 14 countries—amounting to a total of $3.2 million.

When we called for applications, we listed four criteria: impact, feasibility, innovation and inspiration. The winners demonstrated a combination of each.

There were 23 applications that received GNI support, all equally impressive in their own right. Check them out here.

Thank you to every organisation who applied. There will be a second round of the APAC GNI Innovation Challenge later this year, and we encourage you all to re-apply. Watch out for details on our website.

Ethique Changes Consumer Behaviour and helps the planet – one plastic bottle at a time

In 2012, Brianne West had a dream to reduce the amount of single use plastic in the cosmetic industry. After experimenting from her kitchen in Christchurch, she formulated, mixed, and moulded by hand the first batches of shampoo and conditioner bars. And that was the beginning of Ethique.

Soon after successfully selling her first products in a local community forum, Brianne realised they had potential to reach a global audience through online advertising. Fast forward to 2019, Ethique now sells worldwide via its website and in retail stores in nine countries, employs ten people, and has prevented more than three million plastic bottles - a total of 82.5 tonnes of plastic - from ending up in landfills and our oceans.

Scientists have established that if we continue as we have been, by the year 2050, we’ll have more plastic in the ocean than actual fish. Igniting her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the environment, Brianne has raised their ambition to save six million plastic bottles in 2019. Significantly contributing to both her local community and the world.

Watch Brianne’s story to learn more about how Ethique started reaching international customers looking for environmentally friendly products, and check how you can also grow your business and reach new customers with Google Ads.

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Trekker Waka Maps New Zealand’s Longest River

The Google Street View Trekker has travelled down the Venetian Canals, the Colorado River and London’s River Thames, and now it has traversed the length of New Zealand’s longest river. All 425 kilometres of the Waikato River will launch today on Google Street View.
To capture the Waikato River and all its beauty, the Google Street View Trekker was installed on a number of boats to get a unique water perspective. The trip started on board the “Poutiaki” (kindly provided by Waikato Tainui) and concluded with the support of the Taupo Coast Guard RIB.

With training and guidance from our local intrepid trekker and Google Street View Ops Lead in NZ, Matt Jenke, the Waikato River Festival – He Piko He Taniwha team carefully mounted the Trekker system, which weighs around 18 kilograms, onto each boat used throughout the project; then spent over a month collecting imagery from Port Waikato all the way to Lake Taupo.

With 15 camera lenses taking photos every 2.5 seconds, panoramic imagery was captured to create an interactive 360 degree virtual tour now visible for aspiring or armchair travellers across the globe via Google Street View.

Weather, logistics, rapids and hydro dams were some challenges navigated along the way - but with the support of boat owners, volunteer skippers and crew (including the Upper and Lower Waikato Regional Council Harbour Masters), the Waikato River Festival team (and Trekker) were kept safe. With eight dams along the river and at least three sets of rapids making sections of the river inaccessible by boat, supplementary 360 aerial imagery was collected by drone to make sure you don’t miss a centimeter of scenery.

“The realisation of this project required a real collaborative effort from various community stakeholders along the length of the river,” said Craig Muntz, Waikato River Festival Director. “We are extremely thankful for the community support received which has in turn resulted in the production of a community resource that also offers a great platform for sharing the story of the river and our region with nearly every bend on the river having a rich story to tell.”

Take a peek at the full Waikato River gallery here before your next trip to the region or to simply learn more about this fascinating stretch of the North Island.
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Kiwi Flora for our National Day



Today as a nation we recognise the 1840 signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, and today’s Google Doodle spotlights the flora unique to our island nation - the silver fern, the Kōwhai and the Pōhutakawa flowers which are emblems of New Zealand’s diverse plant life. Our geographical isolation in the Pacific Ocean means that some 80 percent of the islands’ fern, flower, and tree species are native. What makes this even more special, is that most can be found nowhere else in the world.

For years we’ve worn the silver fern with pride, badging our nation’s uniforms for sports teams or military troops. The silver fern was traditionally seen by Māori as a symbol of strength and resilience and has become a symbol of our national identity and spirit. Practically, the underside of the fern’s leaves can reflect moonlight, and act as a guide through the forest at night for twilight travellers.

The unofficial national flower, the bright yellow blossoms of the Kōwhai tree, act as a sign of the end of winter. But more than just visually stunning, the tree’s bark is renowned for its medicinal properties, useful for treating everything from dandruff to seal bites.

Finally, the Pōhutukawa’s crimson flowers bloom around the holiday season, lending it the name “New Zealand Christmas Tree.” The plant figures prominently in Māori legends as a bridge between the living and the spirit world, and has become a contemporary symbol of home for kiwis here and abroad.

Happy Waitangi Day 2019!

An updated Safety Centre for Safer Internet Day

Making technology for everyone means protecting everyone who uses it. For more than 20 years, Google has been building useful products to help make people’s lives easier. From the beginning, we’ve recognised that not everyone uses the Internet in the same way and that’s why we offer tools to keep your family safer online, and it’s why we’re continually cracking down on bad actors whose actions make the web worse for all.

In the lead up to Safer Internet Day, we have launched an expanded Google Safety Centre. We’ve updated our resources and pulled even more tools, easy security tips and information into one site dedicated to educating and empowering people on important topics like data security, privacy controls and how to use technology in a way that is right for your family.






The Google Safety Centre educates kids and helps their parents and teachers support them to explore the internet and use our Google products safely. With Family Link, we empower parents to set digital ground rules by managing their Google Accounts, device, and app usage. Family-friendly products, like YouTube Kids, provide a safer online experience for discovery. Beyond our own products, we also help kids learn how to be safer, more confident explorers of the online world through our investment in programs such as the eSmart Digital Licence.


As technology continues to change the way we live, work, and play, our commitment to keeping you safe and secure remains top of mind and the updated Google Safety Centre is part of that commitment.





YouTube Music Unveils its First-Ever ‘Artists to Watch’ in Australia and New Zealand

Singers such as Kaiit, Bene and Didirri, and rappers including the Triple One crew and Kwame, feature in the Top 10 Australian and New Zealand acts predicted to break through in the next 12 months


YouTube Music today released its top 10 Artists To Watch in Australia and New Zealand for 2019. Some are already building impressive reputations locally but we believe all of them have the talent to go significantly further this year, both at home and overseas.
In alphabetical order, the 10 Artists To Watch from Australia and New Zealand in 2019 are:
  • Bene (Auckland, New Zealand) - pictured above 
  • Didirri (Melbourne, Australia) 
  • G Flip (Melbourne, Australia) 
  • JessB (Auckland, New Zealand) 
  • Kaiit (Melbourne, Australia) 
  • Kian (Castlemaine, Australia) 
  • Kwame (Sydney, Australia, via Auckland, New Zealand) 
  • The Kid Laroi (Sydney, Australia) 
  • Triple One (Sydney, Australia) 
  • Tyne-James Organ (Melbourne via Sydney, Australia) 
YouTube Music compiled its Artists To Watch for 2019 using factors including YouTube views, engagement from global music fans and YouTube Music analytics.
Melbourne’s all-singing, all-drumming indie firecracker G Flip, real name Georgia Flipo, says she is “stoked” to be one of YouTube Music’s Artists To Watch.
“I think it’s so cool they are championing breaking artists and I'm honoured to be chosen as one of them,” she said.
Her fellow Melburnian, sunny troubadour Didirri, describes his inclusion as “an absolute honour”.
“I think it’s time we bring some positivity back into the limelight this year,” Didirri adds. “Hoping to bring a bunch of us together and share the music.”
That would include Sydney hip-hop trio Triple One, as they brace themselves for a huge 12 months, saying, “We've come into the new year with something to prove. 2019 will be our biggest year yet and our biggest evolution as a group.”
And when soulful Kiwi Bene heard she had made YouTube Music’s Artists To Watch list, she said, “So much luv, can't wait to show you more of ma shtuff.”
Burgeoning singer-songwriters Kaiit, Kian and Tyne James-Organ, and talented rappers JessB, Kwame and The Kid Laroi round out the chosen ones.
Head to YouTube Music to further explore these Artists to Watch and enjoy a brand-new YouTube Music playlist featuring our top 10 artists and the longlist, as well as an in-app spotlight, featuring audio and video content.