Category Archives: Google New Zealand Blog

New Zealand news and notes from Google

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.











Year in Search 2018: Here’s what Kiwis searched for this year

From Freddie Mercury to the ‘first baby’, the Census to Suzy Cato - our search habits reveal the things that made us care, cry and crack up in 2018.  

With 2018 almost done and dusted, it’s time to reflect on the people, moments, tragedies and celebrations that brought us together as Kiwis this year.  Our searches show we embraced Diwali and Matariki, gave keto a crack (despite asking how to cook rice), fussed over our ‘first baby’ and kept a watchful eye on cyclones, hurricanes and wildfires around the world.  We also caught the Fortnite craze, made sure we were counted in the Census – but still found the time to search for cake and bikkies.   


To rediscover the events, people and topics that defined 2018 around the world, watch our video:




Here's a summary of six themes that defined Search in New Zealand in 2018: 


New beginnings

2018 gave us many proud moments. Our searches show our excitement about the arrival of New Zealand’s ‘first baby’, the daughter of PM Jacinda Ardern and partner Clarke Gayford. Keeping it family oriented, we were also mesmerised by Meghan Markle as she made her royal entrance as the Duchess of Sussex. Our ties to the motherland and fascination with the life of a princess meant searches for the Royal Wedding were a top hit.


Getting into the game 

In true Kiwi fashion, sports and sporting events dominated our overall top searches in 2018.  The FIFA World Cup was our most popular search of 2018, closely followed by the Commonwealth Games, where swimmer Sophie Pascoe and weightlifter Laurel Hubbard took home gold medals and made our top searches. With no surprises, the All Blacks vs France test matches also made our top list. 

Homegrown heroes 

Whether standing out at home or winning on the world stage, our searches in 2018 show we love our homegrown success stories. Politicians and pop culture icons dominated the list of most searched Kiwis this year – Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford were as popular at home as they were abroad, while opposition MPs Simon Bridges and Jami-Lee Ross also generated considerable search interest.  Entertainers Stan Walker and New Zealand’s sweetheart Suzy Cato also found a place in our hearts this year, along with the late, great amateur stuntman Johnny Danger.  

Weathering the storm

Nature’s fury had us on the edge of our seats this year, with natural disasters making up half our top trending news searches – from cyclones and hurricanes to volcanic eruptions and wildfires. 

We also joined the world in mourning the loss of many greats who made their mark across media, fashion, food, music and science. The much-loved Kiwi news presenter and family man, Greg Boyd, was mourned greatly by New Zealanders. Kiwi’s also mourned the loss of musicians Avicii and Aretha Franklin, along with the brilliant astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. 

Colourful and curly questions 

From food to technology, the ‘How to…?’ and ‘What is…?’ questions were eclectic and quirky, proving the number eight wire attitude is alive and well in New Zealand. Kiwis wondered how to draw a rose, how to cut a mango – and what mycoplasma bovis is following the outbreak of the disease.  But most of all, we were curious about our technology. The number one question asked was “What is bitcoin?, closely followed by queries about how to find IP addresses and take screenshots. 

Keto is King 

Whether it’s our New Year's resolutions or the realisation that summer is upon us, we’re ready to give new diets a crack. “Keto Diet”’ was our number one searched diet, along with the second most searched recipe type. We were also loving our vege eats this year – With vegan recipes taking the number one slot, among recipes for salads, pumpkin and zucchini. But Kiwis still made room for treats – recipes for fettuccine, biscuits and cakes still made our top ten list.

To dive into the data, check out New Zealand’s full trending lists* for 2018:

Overall

  1. World Cup
  2. Stuff news NZ
  3. Commonwealth Games
  4. Census NZ
  5. Cyclone Gita
  6. Fortnite
  7. Johnny Danger
  8. Mac Miller
  9. Lotto result NZ
  10. All Blacks vs France


News events

  1. Census NZ
  2. Cyclone Gita
  3. Royal Wedding
  4. Thai cave rescue
  5. Jacinda Ardern baby
  6. Hurricane Florence
  7. Hawaii Volcano
  8. Cyclone Hola
  9. Royal baby name
  10. California fires

Global Figures  

  1. Demi Lovato
  2. Khloe Kardashian
  3. Logan Paul
  4. Freddie Mercury
  5. Olivia Newton-John
  6. Anthony Joshua
  7. Ed Sheeran
  8. Sylvester Stallone
  9. Hailey Baldwin
  10. Tiger Woods


Kiwis

  1. Johnny Danger
  2. Jacinda Ardern
  3. Stan Walker
  4. Jami Lee Ross
  5. Simon Bridges
  6. Sophie Pascoe
  7. Suzy Cato
  8. Clarke Gayford
  9. Eliza McCartney
  10. Laurel Hubbard


Loss

  1. Mac Miller
  2. Greg Boyed
  3. Avicii
  4. Anthony Bourdain
  5. Stephen Hawking
  6. Stan Lee
  7. Aretha Franklin
  8. Kate Spade
  9. Burt Reynolds
  10. Tania Ellwood


How to...?

  1. How to delete Instagram accounts
  2. How to screenshot on mac
  3. How to take a screenshot
  4. How to lose weight fast
  5. How to draw a rose
  6. How to cut a mango
  7. How to make self-raising flour
  8. How to lose belly fat
  9. How to screenshot on Samsung
  10. How to cook rice


What is…?

  1. What is Bitcoin
  2. What is Mycoplasma Bovis
  3. What is my IP address
  4. What is Diwali
  5. What is Matariki
  6. What is 1080
  7. What is Black Friday 2018 NZ
  8. What is the time
  9. What is intersex
  10. What is open on Good Friday


Recipes

  1. Vegan recipes
  2. Keto recipes
  3. Chicken breast recipes
  4. Vegetarian recipes
  5. Fettuccine recipes
  6. Biscuit recipes
  7. Zucchini recipes
  8. Salad recipes
  9. Cake recipes
  10. Pumpkin recipes


Diet

  1. Keto diet NZ
  2. CSIRO diet
  3. 123 diet
  4. Mediterranean diet
  5. Ketogenic diet
  6. Fodmap diet
  7. Low carb diet
  8. Phatt diet
  9. Dash diet
  10. Anti-inflammatory diet


* Trending Searches: What was hot in 2018? The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2018 as compared to 2017.

Posted by Camilla Ibrahim, Communications & Public Affairs Manager, Google Australia & New Zealand

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.