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New Zealand news and notes from Google

YouTube Rewind 2018 is here! A look at what New Zealanders watched

In 2018, you danced your heart out to Maroon 5, yodelled along with a kid in Walmart, and played a lot of Fortnite. It's time for our annual look back at the year that was in video and reflect on the moments that captured New Zealand.
This year was marked by celebrity moments. In February, Kylie Jenner surprised the world with To Our Daughter, an 11-minute film detailing her pregnancy and the birth of baby Stormi. And of course, there was our fascination with the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan.
Emerging and well-known YouTube stars also showed up in a big way in the year's Top Trending Videos list. Liza Koshy and David Dobrik shared the news of their breakup through tears and laughter, we sang along with Paul McCartney in a special Carpool Karaoke, were blown away by a performance from Courtney Hadwin, the guys from Dude Perfect somehow perfectly tossed bread into a toaster, and we were determined to solve the internet’s latest mystery -- seriously, is it Yanny or Laurel? We also supported local actor Julian Dennison as he hit screens in Deadpool 2.
These were the moments that had New Zealanders watching, commenting and sharing in 2018:

New Zealand’s Top Trending Videos

  1. Walmart yodeling kid
  2. To Our Daughter
  3. Real Life Trick Shots 2 | Dude Perfect
  4. "ROYAL WEDDING" — A Bad Lip Reading
  5. So Sorry.
  6. Do You Hear "Yanny" or "Laurel"? (SOLVED with SCIENCE)
  7. we broke up
  8. 15-Year-Old Deadpool 2 Actor Julian Dennison Can't See His Own Movie
  9. Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke
  10. Courtney Hadwin: 13-Year-Old Golden Buzzer Winning Performance - America's Got Talent 2018

New Zealand’s Top Trending Music Videos
In 2018, we were hooked on the biggest releases of the year with Bruno, Drake and Childish Gambino all making appearances in New Zealand’s top trending music list.

  1. Maroon 5 - Girls Like You ft. Cardi B
  2. Bruno Mars - Finesse (Remix) [Feat. Cardi B] [Official Video]
  3. Lil Dicky - Freaky Friday feat. Chris Brown (Official Music Video)
  4. Drake - God's Plan
  5. XXXTENTACION - SAD!
  6. Childish Gambino - This Is America (Official Video)
  7. Ariana Grande - no tears left to cry
  8. Post Malone - Psycho ft. Ty Dolla $ign
  9. Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin - I Like It [Official Music Video]
  10. Dua Lipa - IDGAF (Official Music Video)


It's also time for our annual Rewind mashup video. But rather than trying to sum up 2018's biggest memes, personalities, and hit videos ourselves, we tried something different this time around. We asked some of YouTube's biggest names to tell us what they wanted to see if they controlled Rewind.

Check out the full video below and head over to our Rewind site to get to know the creators and artists who shaped popular culture in 2018.


AI for Social Good

In pop culture, artificial intelligence (AI) often shows up as a robot companion, like TARS in “Interstellar,” or some far-out superintelligence. But in reality, AI—computer programming tools that help us find patterns in complex data and make everyday products more useful—already powers a lot of technology around us, and is addressing some of society’s biggest unsolved challenges.

For the past few years we’ve been applying core Google AI research and engineering to projects with positive societal impact, including forecasting floods, protecting whales, and predicting famine. Today we’re unifying these efforts in a new program called AI for Social Good. We’re applying AI to a wide range of problems, partnering with external organizations to work toward solutions.


But we’re far from having all the answers—or even knowing all the questions. We want people from as many backgrounds as possible to surface problems that AI can help solve, and to be empowered to create solutions themselves. So as a part of AI for Social Good, we’re also launching the Google AI Impact Challenge, a global call for nonprofits, academics, and social enterprises from around the world to submit proposals on how they could use AI to help address some of the world’s greatest social, humanitarian and environmental problems.

We’ll help selected organizations bring their proposals to life with coaching from Google’s AI experts, Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool, and credits and consulting from Google Cloud. Grantees will also join a specialized Launchpad Accelerator program, and we’ll tailor additional support to each project’s needs in collaboration with data science nonprofit DataKind. In spring of 2019, an international panel of experts, who work in computer science and the social sector, will help us choose the top proposals.

We don’t expect applicants to be AI experts. For any nonprofit or researcher who has a great idea or wants help brainstorming one, we've built an educational guide with introductions to AI and the types of problems it’s well-suited for, as well as workshops in key locations around the world.

To give you a sense of the potential we see, here are a few examples of how Google and others have already used AI over the past few years:


  • Wildlife conservation: To better protect endangered whales, we have to know where they are. With AI developed at Google—in the same vein as research by college student Daniel de Leon—it’s possible to quickly scan 100,000 hours of audio recorded in the Pacific to identify whale sounds. We hope one day we can not only better identify whales in these recordings, but also accurately deploy this system at scale to find and protect whales.
  • Employment: In South Africa, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator helps connect unemployed youth with entry-level positions. As a participant in Google Cloud’s Data Solutions for Change program, they’ve used data analytics and ML to match over 50,000 candidates with jobs.
  • Flood prediction: Floods affect up to 250 million people, causing thousands of fatalities and inflicting billions of dollars of economic damage every year. At Google, we’ve combined physics-based modeling and AI to provide earlier and more accurate flood warnings through Google Public Alerts.
  • Wildfire prevention: Two high school students in California built a device that uses AI to identify and predict areas in a forest that are susceptible to wildfires. This technology could one day provide an early warning to fire authorities.
  • Infant health: Ubenwa is a Canadian company that built an AI system to analyze the sounds of a baby crying and predict the risk of birth asphyxia (when a baby's brain and other organs don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients during birth). It’s a mobile app so it can be widely used even where doctors aren’t readily available.

We’re excited to see what new ideas nonprofits, developers and social entrepreneurs from across the world come up with—and we’re looking forward to supporting them as best we can.

All Kiwi schools get the license to Chrome

Schools tell us that Chromebooks fill three big needs: they’re easy for students and teachers to use, they’re easy to share and they’re easy to manage. Today, we have some exciting news about the management of Chromebooks that will make the Chrome Education license—our cloud-based device management console—more accessible to schools across New Zealand. This follows on the announcement last year that Chromebooks are the number one device used in New Zealand schools, and is great news for schools and families using Chromebooks or considering investing in them.



Starting on November 1, as part of an agreement with Google and the New Zealand Ministry of Education, all state and state-integrated schools across New Zealand will be able to start claiming Ministry-funded Chrome Education licenses to manage new and existing unmanaged Chromebooks. The Chrome Education license was developed to make device management in schools a breeze, so that teachers and students can focus on what’s most important—teaching and learning. Equipped with the Chrome Education license, schools can utilize essential education features to better support the many ways Chromebooks are used in the classroom.

“This is fantastic news for the Manaiakalani Schools,” says Mrs. Dorothy Burt, Education Program Lead in the Manaiakalani Innovation team, “we have been using Chromebooks since they first became available to New Zealand schools in 2013 and have relied on the devices having the Chrome Education license to ensure the focus remains on learning and teaching.”

Schools of all sizes can benefit from the Chrome Education license, as Mrs. Burt points out— “the positive impact of the license to schools is experienced in our big schools, with large fleets of Chromebooks to manage, and equally in our very small rural schools where the sole charge teaching principal has more important matters to focus on than the status of learner devices.”
Point England School, part of the Manaiakalani community of learning, have been using the Chrome Education License to manage their Chromebook fleet since 2013.

Most importantly, quality teaching and learning is safely brought to the forefront, underpinned by our commitment to providing the best security measurements protecting teacher and student privacy “With this in place we have the confidence that our move to having young people learning on personal devices in a digital environment is well managed and safe. Expectations of whānau are easily applied across all devices. Teachers can spend their time where it counts—on children and their learning—rather than managing devices.”

The Chrome Education license allows schools to update any number of Chromebooks (once they are enrolled)—without touching a single one. In the simple cloud-based management console, there are over 200 policies that schools can apply to manage their fleet of Chromebooks. You can learn more about them here, but for now, here are three of them that are sure to be the teacher’s pet!

Give teachers and students confidence that during class, they’re all the on same webpage!

The Education license lets school admins and teachers customize the user experience. This is a handy feature that can automatically load frequently used websites—such as Google Classroom, Khan Academy—on boot-up, as well as adding custom bookmarks, pinning apps and extensions, and blocking distractions.
Automatically Load Apps-02-01-01-01 HR-01 B-01.png
Lead students right to most used apps and extensions, such as WeVideo, Khan Academy, Pixlr, and the Google Classroom extension

The multi-tasker for school and family use
The “off-hours device policy” feature is particularly helpful for Chromebooks that are used at school and as the family device. For example, school admins can set a weekly schedule so that school settings are in place when students are using Chromebooks in class but, these same settings can be scheduled to turn off after school hours so they don’t apply when a parent might be using the device.

Spark school spirit
You can use the Education license to display digital signage, keeping students and parents informed. It’s simple to set up school-wide displays on computers in the library and monitors around the school to advertise of key school events and moments, like parent/teacher evenings, carnivals and assessment times.

We’re excited to see the growing number of countries like New Zealand partnering with Google to support teachers, schools and families to improve the use of technology in education.

Why we’re backing the capital’s creatives

Google NZ’s Ross Young with Courtenay Creative Co-founder Kristy Grant
This week I headed along to the opening of Courtenay Creative, a new space in the heart of Wellington that will host workshops, exhibitions, live performances, rehearsals and training for the screen and creative industries.
Wellington already has a strong reputation for having some of the world’s best screen talent, thanks in no small part to the work of Sir Peter Jackson and the presence of Weta Workshop. Courtenay Creative has been cofounded by Kristy Grant and her business partner Jamie Selkirk, an industry legend in who received an Academy Award for his editing work on Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Google has lent its support to Courtenay Creative, and its sister institution, the Miramar Creative Centre, which opened in partnership with Victoria University in 2017. One of the ways we plan to remain involved is by holding a YouTube creator workshop with the Miramar Creative Centre in 2019.
We’ve chosen to support these projects because of the tangible benefits they generate for Wellington’s creative community. They provide a space for students from Massey, Toi Whakaari, Te Auaha and Victoria University to showcase their work, and to gain valuable contacts and knowledge from industry professionals.
We’ve also lent our support knowing how important YouTube is becoming as a channel for young creators to get started, grow audiences, and build careers. YouTube is already the platform of choice for Kiwis who want to watch high quality video content online, with millions of us watching every month.
It’s encouraging to see spaces like Courtenay Creative opening which give younger generations of New Zealanders practical pathways to careers in the screen and creative industries. I’m proud that Google is playing a modest role, and i’m looking forward to enjoying the colour and energy that Courtenay Creative will add to Wellington’s already vibrant cultural life.



https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/xfZpf4whWc5kkwR8KP3VzNOEM37DPy8zBZ8AMZfzvXd2z9miwWRbKsONfb_Fos6oyXR1v3XyOGS3bE_RPRJT9Dn3khLiz9DfXgGMabXeS50AYEbE_FLfb3PCyIJ2KaTR0Ia3pF0N



Get charged up with Google Maps

We built Google Maps to help people get where they need to go no matter what mode of transportation they use. Our newest feature brings helpful information about electric vehicle (EV) charging stations to the Map, so you can be confident that your car will be charged and ready for your ride, wherever you’re headed. Here’s how it works:
A quick search for keywords like “ev charging” or “EV charging stations" will display the nearest supported stations. To help you make a quick decision about which station to use, we’ll show you information about the business where the station is located, the types of ports available, charging speeds, and how many ports there are. You’ll also see information about the station from drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.

In addition, businesses that have charging stations will now feature a link to information about the chargers.

Google Maps now supports charging stations around the world, including:
Global:Tesla, Chargepoint
AU and NZ: Chargefox
US:SemaConnect, EVgo, Blink
UK:Chargemaster, Pod Point

The ability to search for electric vehicle charging stations starts rolling out today on Android and iOS, with desktop launching in the coming weeks. To get started on mobile, update your Google Maps app from the App Store or Play Store today.

YouTube stars shine in Auckland

Krystal and Mario from Tikilounge Productions, creators of Housiewives
Last night I joined around a hundred New Zealand based creators and members of the creative community at the Auckland Art Gallery to celebrate the launch of three new Kiwi web series on YouTube.
The series were funded through Skip Ahead, a joint initiative between Google New Zealand and NZ On Air designed to help local rising stars create unique online content and engage new audiences around the world. Along with the funding, the creators of the series also travelled to Sydney for mentoring and training from renowned Australian directors and producers, Julie Kalceff and Mike Jones.
This work reflects the diversity of talent that exists here in New Zealand. Finding Jeremy is the story of a Christchurch family’s search for a US serviceman they were trapped with inside the Hotel Grand Chancellor following the 2011 quake, Housiewives is a hilarious South-Auckland dramedy with a soap-style ‘whodunnit’ plot, and Rainbow Buddies is an animated educational series for toddlers.
Amber and Andy from Bus Life NZ, creators of Finding Jeremy
YouTube is committed to supporting Kiwi creators, and it was great to celebrate the launch of these series with everyone who had worked so hard to put them together. It’s encouraging to note too, that 100 Kiwi YouTube creators now have at least 100,000 subscribers, which is the point where many turn their content into a career, whether full or part time.
We want to encourage even more Kiwi creators to find their place on the global stage that is YouTube. At the event, I announced that from 2019 we’ll do just this by hosting YouTube creator workshops that will be offered to local creators around New Zealand, including the regions. This will allow us to meet, teach and work with more local creators in more parts of the country.
Caroline Rainsford addressing guests at the celebration
Working with NZ On Air on Skip Ahead has been a really enjoyable and constructive experience to shine a light on the unique and diverse talent in this country. Now, we’re looking forward to hosting creator workshops to help even more Kiwis kick start ​careers ​in ​an ​ever-changing ​media ​environment.

5 reasons (and 2 colors) why we love the new Chromecast



We launched our first Chromecast in 2013 with the aim to make it easy to get your favorite content right from your phone to your TV. With thousands of compatible apps to cast from, people are tapping the Cast button more than ever. And since Chromecast, the Made by Google family of products has continued to grow, bringing the best of hardware, software, and AI together. So for this 5th year of Chromecast, we wanted to share the top 5 reasons we’re excited about our newest Chromecast:

  1. Fits right in. With a new design and two colors - Chalk and Charcoal - Chromecast blends in with your decor and the rest of the Made by Google family.
  2. Stream hands-free. Chromecast and Google Home work seamlessly together. Just say what you want to watch from compatible services, like YouTube or Netflix, and control your TV just by asking. Try, “Hey Google, play Lost in Space from Netflix.” (You’ll need a Netflix subscription to get started). 
  3. Picture perfect at 60fps. Our newest Chromecast supports streaming in 1080p at 60 frames per second, giving you a more lifelike image. So when you’re watching the game, it will feel even more like you’re there.
  4. More than a screen, it’s a canvas. With Ambient Mode, you can personalize your TV with a constantly updating stream of the best and latest photos taken by you, your friends and your family from Google Photos. With new Live Albums from Google Photos, you can enjoy photos of people and pets you care about and skip blurry photos and duplicates- all without lifting a finger. New photos will show up automatically on your TV - no uploading hassles.
  5. And still has an RRP of just $69 So it’s the perfect gift this upcoming holiday season for the streamer in your life.

The new Chromecast is available in New Zealand from the Google Store, Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, The Warehouse & others starting today.

Keep on streaming!
PS - if you’re looking for the perfect companion for your 4K TV, check out Chromecast Ultra to stream in up to 4K UHD, HDR, and Dolby Vision.

Meet the world’s only flightless parrot with Street View and Google Earth

The kākāpō is the only flightless parrot, and one of the rarest birds in the entire world. Only 148 of them remain, all on tiny islands off the coast of New Zealand. Here on these remote windswept sanctuaries, a dedicated team of rangers and researchers works around the clock to keep the world's last kākāpō safe from predators and help restore the species to its ancestral home.

These pristine preserves have always been off-limits to visitors, but starting today we're giving everyone a ticket inside. Now with Google Maps Street View and Google Earth, you can virtually step into the home of the kākāpō and explore prehistoric New Zealand just as it was millions of years before the first boat ever landed on its shores. Immerse yourself even further with a special video from David Attenborough and the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
The kākāpō recovery team monitors each bird in the field and conducts regular health checks and other scientific analysis.
Until land mammals were introduced by human settlers, New Zealand had none at all. In their absence, a variety of birds evolved over millions of years to fill the ecological niches that their mammalian counterparts would usually occupy. Kākāpō took on a similar role to rabbits and other burrowing mammals — they are nocturnal, herbivorous, well-camouflaged, and have a keen sense of smell. Most critically, they lost their ability to fly and instead took on other adaptations that allowed them to become one of the most common birds in New Zealand up until several hundred years ago.

The arrival of new predators (like rats and stoats) devastated the kākāpō and their populations fell dramatically. In 1894, the naturalist Richard Henry pioneered the approach of relocating kākāpō to predator-free offshore islands, but his efforts were stymied by the expansion of invasive predators to these islands as well. Numerous other relocation and conservation attempts followed for the next century, but kākāpō numbers continued to fall. By 1995, only 51 kākāpō survived, all on offshore islands.

In 1996, a new kākāpō recovery plan was put into action, and since then the population has recovered to more than 150 birds. Today's conservation strategy includes supplemental feeding and nest monitoring during breeding season, as well as the tracking and monitoring of every living kākāpō. Ongoing scientific research also helps ensure the continued success of the recovery effort. For example, the kākāpō recently became the first species to have a complete genome sequencing done for every single living individual — this will be critical to maintaining genetic diversity with such a severely constrained population.
The rugged conditions on the kākāpō islands made this one of the most challenging Street View projects ever conducted in New Zealand.
Although we don't have a time machine to take you back to prehistoric New Zealand, these carefully-maintained island sanctuaries are the next best thing. To give you a tour, we airlifted the Street View Trekker to two of these islands — Whenua Hou and Anchor Island — and explored the forests where kākāpō still thrive. Now you can explore both of these preserves in Street View and get a different kind of bird's eye view.

It's currently conservation week in New Zealand, and around the entire world it's the Year of the Bird. We can't imagine a better time to share this story with you! And if you fall in love with these plucky little parrots, remember that you don't need to be a ranger on a windswept southern isle to help out - there are plenty of ways that you can help save native birds in every corner of the globe. So wherever you are, spread your wings and join us in Google Earth and Street View to explore the ancient forests of the kākāpō.

YouTube Music and YouTube Premium Launch in New Zealand and 16 Other Countries: It’s All Here

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in New Zealand, Australia, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea* in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music they love and effortlessly discover new favourites.
YouTube Music is a new music streaming service built on top of all the music on YouTube that you can’t find anywhere else - personalised and all simply organised in one new app and web player.
Here’s how it all comes together:

  1. It’s ALL here. Not just music videos, but official albums, singles, remixes, live performances, covers and hard-to-find music you can only get on YouTube.
  2. Recommendations built for you. A home screen that dynamically adapts to provide recommendations based on the artists and songs you’ve played before, where you are and what you’re doing. Chilling at the beach with friends? Need some motivation? The right music is right here, built just for you.
  3. Thousands of playlists across any genre, mood or activity. Try The Happiest Pop for brighter tunes on a cloudy day, the Pop Hotlist for the biggest hits around the world or Distrito Latino for Latin pop hits of the moment.
  4. Smart search so we’ll find the song, even if you can’t remember what it’s called. “That space-themed Spice Girls song in the desert.” Here you go. You can also search by lyrics (even if they’re wrong). It’s “Hold me closer, Tony Danza”, right?
  5. The hottest videos. We’ll keep you on top of what’s hot! The hottest videos in the world right now are right there, on their own dedicated Hotlist screen. Today in New Zealand, it features “APES**T” by THE CARTERS, while in the U.S., it’s “Nervous” by Shawn Mendes, in the U.K., it’s “Drippy” by IAMDDB, and in France, it’s “Fais moi la passe” by JUL.
  6. Ad-free listening, downloads and more. Get YouTube Music Premium to listen ad-free, in the background and on-the-go with downloads. Plus, your Offline Mixtape automatically downloads songs you love just in case you forgot to. For a limited time, get three months free of YouTube Music Premium, ($12.99 per month after, $19.99 per month for a Family Plan)*.

YouTube Premium also launches today
Starting today, YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) will be available in 17 countries, providing members with the benefits of Music Premium, plus ad-free, background, and downloads across all of YouTube. YouTube Premium members also get access to the full slate of YouTube Originals shows and movies including the hit series Cobra Kai, Impulse, F2 Finding Football and The Sidemen Show. For a limited time, get three months free of YouTube Premium here, ($15.99 per month after, $23.99 per month for a Family Plan)*.
Current YouTube Red and Google Play Music members (including family plans) in New Zealand, Australia, the U.S., and Mexico will automatically receive access to YouTube Premium at their current price. Google Play Music subscribers in all other countries will automatically receive access to YouTube Music Premium at their current price as it becomes available there. Nothing is changing with Google Play Music - you'll still be able to access all of your purchased music, uploads and playlists in Google Play Music just like always.
Try YouTube Music and YouTube Premium
Get the new YouTube Music from the Play Store and App Store today or check out the brand new web player at music.youtube.com. You can sign up for YouTube Premium at youtube.com/premium.
*YouTube Music Premium is $12.99 per month and YouTube Premium is $15.99 per month for individual memberships in New Zealand. Pricing and Family Plan availability varies by country. Only first-time YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, YouTube Red and Google Play subscribers are eligible for free trials. South Korea will only offer YouTube Premium at the current price of YouTube Red.

Google New Zealand Blog 2018-05-25 07:39:00

Industry has long been talking about the need for STEM skills in our future workforce, and increasingly we’re seeing that a core competency in computational thinking is critical for the jobs of the future. To equip teachers with the skills needed to both inspire and prepare students for this future we are delighted to announce our 2018 Google Educator Professional Development Grant recipients.

Google’s Educator PD Grants (formerly CS4HS) program has been running in Australia and New Zealand since 2011, and in that time has trained over 12,000 teachers. The program aims to equip teachers through practical professional development workshops, giving them the skills and resources they need to confidently teach computational thinking and computer science concepts in new and exciting ways.

A recipient of our 2017 program Mahsa Mohaghegh from Auckland University of Technology’s workshop was held in November 2017 and included hands-on activities for teachers to engage in. Attendee Barry Hook, a Computer Science teacher, who has attended several workshops shared that the hands on activities offered, along with the opportunity to connect with peers are the key to building confidence and skills in teachers to deliver the digital technologies curriculum.

“The major thing we have here [in NZ] is a curriculum which defines what we have to do, but not how we do it. Without having conversations outside of your normal confidence area, you just can’t expand your experience," said Barry. "Until today, I’d never thought of using the Internet of Things. Suddenly, I have a purpose for which I can use some of my robotics resources. It suddenly introduces a twist, and it’s that twist which will make the kids find it more interesting; students which are currently losing interest will now have something to excite them again.”


New Zealand Educators at the Auckland University of Technology CS4HS 2017 Workshop
Conferences and workshops like these connect like-minded educators, and has allowed Barry to “open up conversations or ways and approaches which I would not have had the opportunity to observe in my own development online”. Discussing his PD exposure, he said, “I basically rely upon these Google conferences as my sole source of non-self-directed professional development.”

We’re excited to announce the following 2018 CS Educator Grants Awardees, which will continue to motivate and inspire educators like Roxy and Peter around Australia and New Zealand.

2018 CS Educator Grants Funding Recipients 

Auckland University of Technology

Core Education Ltd

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Victoria University of Wellington