Category Archives: Google New Zealand Blog

New Zealand news and notes from Google

Privacy and Security on a Safe and Open Internet: Net Hui 2019

Today I had the pleasure of participating in the Net Hui Conference, held at Te Papa in Wellington.

Google has been a long time sponsor of New Zealand’s largest Internet gathering, that explores the benefits, opportunities and challenges of the online world. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Safety, inclusion and wellbeing on the open Internet’.

Following the Prime Ministers keynote address, I was on a panel lead by InternetNZ’s Jordan Carter, which brought together many different perspectives and views on ‘The Internet After Christchurch’.

I was also able to share with the conference some of the recent updates we’ve made to our privacy and security products, announced just this week.

Our goal has always been to create products that are simple, helpful, and intuitive. It’s no different with privacy and security: managing your data should be just as easy as making a restaurant reservation, or using Maps to find the fastest way back home.

Earlier this year, we started rolling out more ways for you to protect your data, including making our controls easier to access, new ways to use Google apps with Incognito mode, and options to automatically delete data like your Location History, searches, and other activity with Google.

Making these controls consistent across our core products will help them become more familiar, and we hope, even easier to use. Today, we’re sharing a few more updates on our progress toward this goal.

Incognito mode arrives in Maps

Incognito mode has been one of our most popular privacy controls since it launched with Chrome in 2008. We added it to YouTube earlier this year, and now we’re rolling it out in Google Maps.

When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account and won’t be used to personalize your Maps experience. You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo, and you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalized experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you. Incognito mode will start rolling out on Android this month, with iOS coming soon.

Expanding Auto-delete to YouTube

In May, we announced that you could automatically delete your Location History and Web & App Activity, which includes things you've searched and browsed. We promised to bring this to more products, and now we're bringing Auto-delete to YouTube History. Set the time period to keep your data—3 months, 18 months, or until you delete it, just like Location History and Web & App Activity—and we’ll take care of the rest.

Strengthening your password security

Protecting your privacy online requires strong security, and that’s why we protect your data with one of the world’s most advanced security infrastructures.

Tools like our Security Checkup help users by automatically detecting potential security issues with your Google Account and make it easy for you to add extra protections to keep your account safe, like removing old devices or unused apps that still have access to your account.

But we also want to help protect you across the internet, and a big part of that is helping you remember passwords for your other online accounts. With so many accounts, bad habits like using the same password across multiple services are common, and make all of your accounts as vulnerable as the weakest link. If someone steals your password once, then they could access your information across different services using that same password.

Our password manager automatically protects your passwords across your different accounts, and today, in time for Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’re making it much more powerful. We’re introducing the Password Checkup, a new feature that—with one click—tells you if any of your passwords are weak, whether you’ve reused them across multiple sites, or if we've discovered they've been compromised (for example, in a third-party data breach). Find more about the Password Checkup in this post.

We’re constantly working to improve the products that billions of people use, right now. We’re also looking to the future so that teams at Google, and other organisations, can build new products and develop new engineering techniques, with privacy and security as core principles. In May, we opened the new Google Safety Engineering Center where we expect the number of privacy engineers to double by the end of 2019. We’ve also open-sourced technologies like our differential privacy library, Private Join and Compute and Tensorflow Federated. These will help any institution—from hospitals to governments to nonprofits—find better ways to gain insights from their data while protecting people's privacy.

As technology evolves, so do people's expectations for security and privacy. We look forward to building protections that aim to exceed those expectations, and will continue sharing regular updates about this work.

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Celebrating the Dynamic Digital Advertising Industry at the IAB NZ Digital Advertising Awards

Last night at the Auckland Museum the third annual IAB New Zealand Digital Advertising Awards were held to recognise the best talent in the interactive media industry. It was a record year for the Awards, with the number of entries doubling from the previous year and the number of awards categories growing from 17 to 23!

Here at Google we’re hugely proud to be part of this event that recognises outstanding work by the people and teams who are leading digital advertising in New Zealand. With both myself [Caro, Google NZ Country Manager] and Susan Carlton [Google NZ Marketing Manager] on the panel of judges, we had the opportunity to review an abundance of incredible work.

Google was delighted to sponsor three key awards this year and our congratulations go to Harmoney for winning Best Use Of Search/SEO for “Creating a competitive advantage leveraging AI & Google Ads Smart Bidding Strategies”, MBM for winning the Agency Of The Year Award, and finally, to Tianze Yu from Big Mobile, the winner of the Grand Prix award. Well done Tianze!

Congrats to the IAB for a fantastic event, which once again proved to be such a great opportunity to come together and recognise the incredible work of these industry professionals.

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Backing Asia Pacific’s emerging newsroom leaders | Google News Initiative

Across Asia Pacific, a new generation of journalists is telling the region’s stories and tackling the challenges facing the news industry. The Google News Initiative (GNI) Newsroom Leadership Program, a collaboration between GNI and the Columbia School of Journalism, was established to develop the business and product expertise of these emerging newsroom leaders. Today we’re announcing the 2019-2020 Program fellows and sharing more about their projects.

The projects they chose are as diverse as their backgrounds. These journalists hail from Pakistan to Japan, India to Australia. They’ll be looking at how digital tools can make great storytelling even better, championing socially-conscious reporting and investigating new approaches to political polling. And they’ll explore new membership and revenue models for news, helping fund the future of journalism in their countries.

Kiwi Editor Phillip O’Sullivan has been chosen as one of the 12 Fellows, and will research new methodologies and technologies in political polling ahead of New Zealand’s 2020 elections.
Phillip is Editor of Newsgathering at TVNZ’s 1 News where he oversees all of TVNZ’s news reporters across New Zealand, including its political team and overseas correspondents in Sydney, London and New York. O’Sullivan is a former TVNZ news reporter and worked for CNN for 15 years in Hong Kong and the Middle East.

As they work on their projects, the fellows will take part in seminars and develop professional networks across the region. To find out more, we spoke to Raju Narisetti, the Director of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia, who helped develop the program.

What are the skills you think emerging newsroom leaders need to be successful today?

The most critical skill is an understanding of the business of journalism and the forces shaping the industry. They also need to hone the ability to think of content as a product, and the willingness to let data inform their decisions. These “hard” skills need to be coupled with “power skills” like developing diverse teams, leading with purpose and managing relentless change.

How do you think the GNI Newsroom Leadership Program addresses this?

The fellows will experience a mix of theory and practice in seminars during their in-residence weeks at Columbia School of Journalism. Practitioners as well as academics will deliver the sessions, which are specifically designed for the media industry. Topics will range from revenue streams and media sustainability to building video, audience and analytics frameworks and teams for the next decade. They’ll also get hands-on workshops on developing leadership and “managing up.”

What words of advice do you have for the fellows as they prepare to go through the program?

Be really present during the in-residency classroom weeks, because your day job will still be waiting for you. Think of the other participants as a learning and sharing opportunity that can become a professional support network during the year and beyond. And have strong beliefs (about your project or the news business), but hold them loosely, so you can embrace new ideas and solutions.

Caption: Our 2019-2020 Fellows, as pictured from left to right, starting from the top left: Gyanu Adhikari, Phillip O’Sullivan, Akane Imamura, Betina Hughes, Danielle Cronin, Marium Chaudhry, Nitya Thirumalai, Hyuntaek Lee, Ragamalika Karthikeyan, Yusuf Wijanarko, Anisa Menur Maulani, and Lynn D’Cruz.

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Indigenous speakers 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 speakers.

“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.

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.”

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 language.

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.

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New Zealand’s Global Finalist in this year’s Google Science Fair

Not many 19 year olds could explain the technique of biomimetic fog collection for gathering atmospheric water in high altitude and arid environments - let alone define the word “biomimetic”.

Enter budding scientist Jonathan Chan, who has pioneered a piece of study in this field and succeeded in making it into the list of global finalists for the 2018-2019 Google Science Fair.

The Google Science Fair celebrates the next generation of scientists from around the world. Aiming to inspire teens to solve real-world problems with science, technology, engineering and math. The competition is run online, and open globally to 13-18 year old students to share their ideas with the world. Jonathan is one of 24 global finalists.

Like most young Kiwis participating in their annual science and technology fair, Jonthan developed his project in his final year of high school. He is currently studying Biochemistry at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Jonathan will now travel to Google’s head office in Mountain View, his first time travelling to the US, to participate in the final round of judging with the Google Science Fair team. This will culminate with an awards ceremony on 29th July to announce the Grand Prize winner.

Google Science Fair is supported by Scientific American, LEGO® Education, National Geographic, and Virgin Galactic.

More about Jonathan’s Project:
Fog collection is a method of atmospheric water collection used in less economically developed areas of the world located in high-altitude and arid environments. It involves the collision of fog droplets with a mesh, which then coalesce to form larger droplets that drain away and are collected. Certain organisms have directional water-collecting properties that would facilitate this process, such as the cribellate spider web and the cactus spine. Thus, this project aims to incorporate such biomimetic properties into reproducible, industrially applicable 3D-printed fog-collecting meshes and to investigate the fog-collecting efficiency of such meshes.

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.