Tag Archives: Australia

Did someone say homework? Online safety tips for back-to-school week

From Sydney to Ceduna, thousands of students across Australia are heading back to school this week. Along with new books and uniforms, many students will be getting new devices and exploring new things online. It’s an exciting time for students, but parents and carers might be looking for some tips on encouraging responsible online behaviours - in and out of the classroom.

Managing privacy and security 
The new year and the lead up to Safer Internet Day is a great time to check in with the privacy and security settings on your account (or your child’s). My Account gives you quick access to settings and tools that let you safeguard your data, protect your privacy, and decide how your information can make Google services work better for you. You can update your password, check out your personal information and change your account preferences.

eSmart digital licence 
The internet presents great opportunities for children to explore and learn, but it can be tricky working out how to best stay safe online. The Alannah and Madeline Foundation have developed an eSmart Digital Licence, aimed at ten-year-olds and above, that leads children through an interactive course on how to be smart, safe and responsible digital citizens. We’re proud to support the Foundation and encourage parents to start talking about these issues with children from an early age. 

More parental controls 
So the kids are home from school and ready to relax… many Australian families are already enjoying the YouTube Kids app, and now you can have more control over what your kids watch in the app. A new parental control feature gives parents the tools to decide what content is right for their family and the option to block videos or channels. Because you’re logged in, the videos and channels you block in YouTube Kids will remain blocked across all your devices. You can also tailor the experience for based on age and set a timer to limit screen time for your kids, so the app alerts you when time is up.

Google in the classroom 
Our back-to-school update wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t share some updates about Google for Education tools, which more than 70 million students and teachers around the world use every day. We’ve introduced a new generation of Chromebooks, launching later this year, with new features such as stylus, world facing camera and easy access to Android apps, and our education team is working with schools around Australia to support ‘bring-your-own-device’ programs. Google Classroom has been upgraded to make it easier for teachers to give individual attention to students. Stay tuned for more updates on this…

So, a bit of homework (completely optional, of course)! Hope these tips help you and your kids to stay safe and make the most of the web as the school term begins.

A remedy for your health-related questions: Google Search launches health info in the Knowledge Graph

Think of the last time you searched on Google for health information. Maybe you heard a news story about gluten-free diets and Googled, "What is celiac disease?." Maybe you were planning a trip to Bali, so you looked up “Zika virus” so you could take precaution. Or perhaps you were worried about a loved one, and searched to better understand their condition and prognosis.

Starting today in Australia, Google search results will show information for over 900 commonly searched for health conditions. The new health feature will include an outline of the condition, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevalence according to age at the top of search results. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.

This feature has been developed as more people turn to Google to help with their health queries. In fact, 1 in 20 Google searches are for health-related information. That’s why we’ve surfaced trusted, quality health information right in Google Search. We hope this will help people find the information they need more quickly and easily.
We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web. Each fact has been checked by a panel of at least ten medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.

That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice. We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions. What we present is intended for informational purposes only — and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.

We hope this information will empower you in your health decisions – so the next time you need information on measles or treatments for tennis elbow, Google will be a better place to start.

Explore Australia’s big blue backyard with today’s Google Doodle

                                                                                         Photograph captured by The Ocean Agency
Today holds different meanings for Australians around the country. For some it’s a celebration, for others it’s a time of sombre reflection – and for many it’s just another sticky summer’s day.  

As the world’s only island continent, what binds us together – physically and culturally – is the ocean. It frames us, hugs us and shapes us. Wherever we’re from, we’ve all had those salty, sandy moments catching wild waves, leapfrogging rock pools, or feeling that silent serenity gliding through underwater galaxies.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates Australia’s big blue backyard and treasured natural World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef. With help from The Ocean Agency, we chose to honour the precious creatures and coral in this underwater world  – featuring protected species such as the Green Turtle, Pipefish, Barramundi Cod, Potato Cod, Maori Wrasse, Giant Clam and Staghorn Coral.  

We’ve been working over recent years with The Ocean Agency to put our oceans on the map, capturing their beauty and allowing people to explore them from anywhere in the world. Millions of people are lucky enough to visit the reef every year, to dive or snorkel in this majestic underwater world, but many more aren’t as fortunate – and time is not on their side. According to The Great Barrier Reef Foundation, coral cover in the Great Barrier Reef has declined by 50% in the past 30 years. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough says the reef is in grave danger.

More than ever, we’re compelled to look beneath the surface.

Australians are increasingly showing their curiosity and care for this intricate, fragile ecosystem. Google Searches for “Great Barrier Reef” and “biodiversity” landed among the top Google searches in of 2016, while related searches for the Great Barrier Reef and "Coral Bleaching" increased by +250% compared to 2015.*  

Whether you’re spending today in the bush, on a boat or in your mate’s backyard, we invite you to click on the link below today’s Google Doodle to dive into the reef with Street View. Click the < and > buttons to venture into Norman Reef, Knife Reef, Myrmidon Reef, Ribbon Reef 10, St Crispins, The Cod Hole and Tijou Reef (all captured by The Ocean Agency).  

*Google Trends

Posted by Alan Noble, Director of Engineering, Google Australia and New Zealand

Introducing Toontastic 3D: a playful storytelling app for kids

[Cross-posted from the global blog]

Today’s digital devices and tools offer amazing opportunities for kids to imagine, invent and explore with technology—and perhaps most important of all, have fun! Over the years, we’ve worked closely with educators to build programs for kids to create through code, doodle their dreams, explore exotic locales with virtual reality, and even tour the Himalayas with a very friendly Yeti named Verne. Today, we’re unveiling our latest project for kids—one that will give voice to their imaginations and transform their devices into playful and powerful tools for learning creative skills. It’s called Toontastic 3D.

With Toontastic 3D, kids can draw, animate and narrate their own adventures, news stories, school reports, and anything else they might dream up. All they need to do is move characters around on the screen and tell their story. It’s like a digital puppet theater… but with enormous interactive 3D worlds, dozens of customizable characters, 3D drawing tools, and an idea lab with sample stories to inspire new creations.

Like the original Toontastic (released in 2011 and widely praised by educators, kids, and parents around the globe), Toontastic 3D enables kids to build whatever they like—including book or science reports for school, design pitches, short stories and cartoons.

Toontastic 3D is available and free to download today for phones, tablets and select Chromebooks, on both the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. We hope the app will empower kids to imagine, invent and explore while developing skills for the creative jobs of tomorrow—whether they dream of becoming a filmmaker, a teacher, a designer, a cartoonist, or just want to explore the boundaries of their imaginations.

Posted by Thushan Amarasiriwardena, Product Manager

Google Play Music Australia reveals its ‘Artists to Watch’ in 2017

Female musicians, led by Melbourne’s Tash Sultana, are destined for big things this year

Today, Google Play Music Australia reveals its ‘Artists to Watch’ in 2017. These head-turning artists are expected to make a big splash this year in music.

The top 10 are:

  1. Tash Sultana (independent)
  2. Bebe Rexha (Warner Music)
  3. Golden Features (Warner Music)
  4. Sampha (Remote Control Records)
  5. Jess Kent (EMI)
  6. Rag'n'Bone Man (Sony Music)
  7. Cloves (Universal Music)
  8. Alex Lahey (Caroline/Universal Music)
  9. Manu Crook$ (independent)

Our ‘Artists to Watch’ are compiled using a range of factors including track performance on Google Play Music Australia’s new-music playlists, popularity on Google Trends and YouTube, as well as specialist Google Play Music Australia editors’ recommendations.

Topping the list is Melbourne’s very own Tash Sultana, who made a stellar debut in September with her ‘Notion’ EP and its breakout track ‘Jungle’. She has already sold out shows from London to LA on her coming world tour. “I’m stoked to be Google Play’s Artist to Watch for 2017,” Sultana says.

There are three more female Australian artists on the ‘Artists to Watch’ list. These include Jess Kent, who recently opened for Coldplay on the British band’s stadium tour of Australia, and Cloves, whose track ‘Don’t Forget About Me’ last year enjoyed a high-profile feature on a major film soundtrack (‘Me Before You’).

As for overseas talent, Google Play has its eye on Bebe Rexha and Maggie Rogers from the US, and Brits Sampha and Rag’n’Bone Man, as rising stars.

This past November, Google launched a new look for Google Play Music — a fresh take on our music streaming service that is smarter, easier to use and much more assistive. Google Play Music uses machine learning to figure out what music you like and then mixes in signals such as location, activity and the weather, along with hand-picked playlists, to personalise music for wherever you are and whenever you want tunes.
All of the Top 10 Ones to Watch in Australia, as well as the longer list of suggested artists, feature in Google Play Music’s Artists to Watch 2017 playlist.

Posted by Sophie Hirst, Product Marketing Manager, Google Play Australia

A career in tech starts with a plugged-in teacher

Computer science education provides students with lifelong skills that enable them to solve problems and develop critical analysis skills.
Computer science (CS) is more available in classrooms across Australia than ever, thanks to the Digital Technologies curriculum, and so equipping teachers with the everything they need to teach CS and computational thinking has never been more important.
“A lot of students come out of school able to push the right buttons, but don’t know how to approach real-world problem solving. We need to teach students how to tackle problems that seem unsolvable,” says Leanne Cameron, lecturer of educational studies at Australian Catholic University.
 It also helps them prepare for the careers of the future that will certainly involve digital skills and combining computer science with other disciplines like health, science, agriculture, art and more to solve complex challenges and design innovation solutions for the world.
With their CS4HS grant in 2015, Australian Catholic University responded to Australia’s newly introduced Digital Technologies curriculum by creating a compulsory course that will help all pre-service teachers in their Bachelor of Education programs learn how to teach CS and CT.
More than 2,000 pre-service teachers have completed the course to date. This course has also been open-sourced so that other universities can use the content to prepare future teachers in this important skill.
Other CS4HS recipients have delivered hands on practical workshops to teachers all around Australia to equip them with both the knowledge and the skills to engage and excite students in the opportunities that computer science can lead to. And with our free online courses through Adelaide University we’ve seen thousands of teachers inspired and equipped to implement this new curriculum.
Applications are now open for our 2016 CS4HS program in Australia and New Zealand, and will remain open until 19 March 2016.
If you want to know where computer science can take today’s students, check out Careers with Code. In the future, young Australians will use computer science to do great things, and it will all start with a great teacher with a passion for the topic.

A tiny difference can make all the difference

At Google we often talk about trying to solve the really big problems - connectivity, communication, organising the world’s information. Sometimes we take on ideas so large it could almost seem preposterous - like organising all the information on the internet, or using artificial intelligence to translate languages. Google has engineers in Australia working on all kinds of global problems. We have the largest Google Maps team in the world - no surprise given that Google Maps was born in Sydney; we are working to transform the way businesses operate in a digital world; we’re helping people in emerging economies make the most out of the internet in spite of poor bandwidth. We are also in a unique position to help others solve big problems using technology, and through our philanthropic arm Google.org we donate more than US$100 million and a further US$1 billion in products and resources every year to non-profit partners tackling some of the biggest social issues we face.
Google Australia & New Zealand managing director Jason Pellegrino, Infoxchange chief executive David Spriggs and Google.org director Jacquelline Fuller.
One of those partners is Infoxchange, which is transforming the way society tackles homelessness. It’s hard to believe, but one in 200 people in Australia is homeless. You may also be surprised to know that roughly eight out of ten of those homeless people has a smartphone. For many homeless people their smartphone can play a decisive role in determining their outcome. Infoxchange saw the opportunity to provide people in need with location-based information via their mobile, helping connect them with essential things such as food, counselling, employment services, legal support and a safe place to sleep. Earlier this year it launched Ask Izzy, the world’s first, nationwide mobile website connecting people who are at risk with essential services. Ask Izzy was developed with support from Google, News Corp and REA Group.
It is exactly the kind of problem-solving that motivates people at Google; not only did we fund the development, but a number of Google staff helped develop the technology and assist with user testing. The mobile site was co-designed by those who have experienced homelessness. It’s also free, anonymous, and the data usage costs nothing if you access it via Telstra’s network. The people at Infoxchange have been amazing partners because of their passion for the issue of homelessness, for the partners they’ve been able to bring together to make this project happen, and for their belief in the power of technology to make a real difference in people’s lives. Ask Izzy was launched in January by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and has now been used more 250,000 times - many more times than Infoxchange expected.
Launching Ask Izzy in January, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull spoke with people who consulted on the design of Ask Izzy.
The next step for Infoxchange and Ask Izzy is to create a national database that understands how people are using essential services so that policymakers can ensure they are available where they are needed most. This Christmas if you wish to donate to Infoxchange go to http://info.westpac.com.au/askizzy so they can put pocket-sized mobile phone chargers into the hands of homeless people - for just $15 you can ensure that when they need that little bit of extra charge for their phone, it’s there for them. A single power card will charge their phone for four hours. An extra phone charge in the pockets of people in need can help them find a bed, a shower, a meal, a friend. Even when we’re seeking to make big changes to society, it’s the small things that often matter the most.

A Year in Search: The Moments that Defined 2016

Aussies searched for Brexit, Bowie and banana bread

It’s that time of year again, when we look back at the last 12 months, 366 days, 527,040 minutes and reflect on the search trends and moments when we celebrated, mourned and wondered in 2016.  It was the year we ‘caught ‘em all,’ grasped extraordinary political change, said goodbye to some greats – and made Harambe a hero.

From breaking news, to breaking Olympic records, and the UK’s break from Europe – the events of this year affected all of us in different ways. We turned to Search in the happy and hard moments to get the details, see the bigger picture and find our way forward.

So, to celebrate 2016, here’s a wrap-up of the five top topics that caught our attention and brought us together in Search:

We love a good game
2016 was a super sporty year, with many historic and unforgettable moments that kept us searching, cheering – and dancing with Michelle Jenneke.  We supported our Olympians in Rio de Janeiro, placed our bets for Melbourne Cup and followed the scores for the Australian Open, AFL and Super Rugby. We missed buses and trains, ran into walls (and each other) as we tried to catch ‘em all when the Pokémon Go! craze took Australia and the world by storm.

Politics and personalities
Donald Trump beat Hillary for the second time this year – piping her at the post to take home the title of our most trending person, along with the presidency. Back on home soil, Pauline Hanson took out the title of Australia’s top trending politician, ahead of current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. At times we were lost for words, but we were never short of questions – with many of us still trying to figure out exactly what a plebiscite is.

The oh-no and uh-oh moments
The shock and tragedies of the Dreamworld accident and Brussels attack had Aussies trying to comprehend what, how and why. We looked into the Mitchell Pearce incident, and watched cricketer Chris Gayle try and fail while interviewing with Mel McLaughlin on live TV. We also followed Tara Brown’s imprisonment in Lebanon closely, and fired up our opinions (and our Google searches) about controversial comments from Sonia Kruger. Together, we kept clicking for the Census site and wondered what was next when the UK voted out.

Saying goodbye to the greats
This year the world mourned three of music’s greatest with the passing of musicians David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. They weren’t the only legends headed for the stars, with Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali and Gene Wilder also passing away this year. Closer to home, we bid farewell to journalist, commentator and broadcaster Rebecca Wilson, who lost her battle with cancer in October.

Calling mother nature
Aussies looked to understand natural events and disasters in 2016, with the total solar eclipse, Hurricane Matthew and the Zika virus landing in the lead Searches. We also discovered an unsung hero, with an outpouring of grief, Searches and a lifetime of memes following the death of Harambe. More broadly, we wondered why the sky is blue, the ocean is salty – and why biodiversity matters.

And that’s just a preview. To dive into the top trending terms of the year, check out Australia's full trending and most searched lists*:

Overall Searches (Trending)
  1. US election
  2. Olympics
  3. Census
  4. Euro 2016
  5. Australian Open 2016
  6. Pokemon Go
  7. Donald Trump
  8. iPhone 7
  9. David Bowie
  10. Prince
News (Trending)
  1. US election results
  2. Census
  3. Pokemon Go
  4. Total solar eclipse
  5. Oscars 2016
  6. Dreamworld accident
  7. Brussels
  8. Zika Virus
  9. Harambe
  10. Hurricane Matthew
Global People (Trending)
  1. Donald Trump
  2. Hillary Clinton
  3. Conor McGregor
  4. Steven Avery
  5. Melania Trump
  6. Meghan Markle
  7. OJ Simpson
  8. Chris Gayle
  9. Tom Hiddleston
  10. Brad Pitt
Aussies (Trending)
  1. Mitchell Pearce
  2. Molly Meldrum
  3. Tara Brown
  4. Pauline Hanson
  5. Mel McLaughlin
  6. Rebecca Wilson
  7. Peter Brock
  8. Sonia Kruger
  9. Malcolm Turnbull
  10. Michelle Jenneke
Loss (Trending)
  1. David Bowie
  2. Prince
  3. Alan Rickman
  4. Muhammad Ali
  5. Christina Grimmie
  6. Leonard Cohen
  7. Gene Wilder
  8. Glenn Frey
  9. Anton Yelchin
  10. Chyna
Sporting events (Trending):
  1. Olympics
  2. Euro 2016
  3. Australian Open 2016
  4. Melbourne Cup 2016
  5. UFC 205
  6. Wimbledon 2016
  7. Tour de France 2016
  8. Paralympics
  9. AFL Grand Final 2016
  10. Super Rugby
How to…? (Most Searched)
  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to screenshot on mac
  3. How to make pancakes
  4. How to play Pokemon Go
  5. How to draw
  6. How to write a cover letter
  7. How to get rid of pimples
  8. How to download from YouTube
  9. How to lose weight fast
  10. How to write a resume
What is..? (Most Searched)
  1. What is my IP address
  2. What is a plebiscite
  3. What is Pokemon Go
  4. What is the weather today
  5. What is the time
  6. What is all purpose flour
  7. What is love
  8. What is Brexit
  9. What is gluten
  10. What is the meaning of life
Why is…? (Most Searched)
  1. Why is there a leap day
  2. Why is the sky blue
  3. Why is my internet so slow
  4. Why is my poop green
  5. Why is my computer so slow
  6. Why is Australia in Eurovision
  7. Why is the ocean salty
  8. Why is biodiversity important
  9. Why is my period late
  10. Why is my eye twitching
Recipes (Most Searched)
  1. Pancake
  2. Carbonara
  3. Banana bread
  4. Scones
  5. Hummus
  6. Cheesecake
  7. Quiche
  8. Chocolate mousse
  9. Crepe
  10. Brownie

* Trending Searches: What was hot in 2016? The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2016 as compared to 2015.
* Most Searched: What topped Google’s charts? The "most searched" queries are the most popular terms for 2016—ranked in order by volume of searches.

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

Bringing amazing teachers together, in Australia and beyond

More than 30,000 education professionals around the world joined forces online last week for Google’s Education on Air conference: a free, around-the-clock global conference for teachers to share and learn.

Google’s Education on Air brought together leaders in learning, including Google chairman Eric Schmidt; Second Lady of the US, Dr Jill Biden; and the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, Julia Gillard to discuss curriculum and best practices.

Delivering the opening keynote, Ms Gillard said that teachers unlock the world of learning for our children and good teachers never stop learning themselves. She said Education on Air is working to equip teachers with the tools they need to navigate our changing world and that teachers are transforming education with technology in many ways to better engage and enrich their students.

After participating in a panel discussion and leading a breakout session, Anthony Speranza, ICT Learning and Teaching Leader at St Mark’s Primary school in Melbourne said Education On Air used technology to deliver innovative Professional Development for the educational community and highlighted best practices for today's students and schools.

Image: students from St Mark's Primary School in Melbourne preparing for a joint Education on Air presentation with teacher Anthony Speranza

If you missed the event, or you want to share it with an educator who might be interested, you can find it here.

Google Summer of Code 2016 wrap-up: AOSSIE

We’re sharing guest posts from students, mentors and organization administrators who participated in Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2016. This is the seventh post in the series.

AOSSIE (Australian Open Source Software Innovation and Education) is an organization created by the leaders of four research-oriented open source projects at the Australian National University. This was our first year in Google Summer of Code, but one of our projects had already participated three times as part of another organization.

We had 6 students and they surpassed our expectations. It was a great experience to mentor these students and provide them the opportunity to get involved in our cutting-edge research. We expect that their projects will lead to several publications and will be the starting point for long term collaborations.

Here are some highlights of their contributions:

Extempore is a programming language and runtime environment that supports live programming.

Joseph Penington adapted some cpp fluid dynamics code to show how live programming could be used to improve the workflow of scientific simulation. Joseph's project builds a series of increasingly complex fluid solvers in Extempore, allowing the programmer to make interesting and non-trivial changes to the simulation at runtime, including switching the way the fluids are solved in the middle of a simulation.

PriMedLink is software for matching similar patients in a way that preserves privacy (i.e. only using masked or encoded values of records without compromising privacy and confidentiality of patients) for health informatics applications such as clinical trials, advanced treatments and personalized patient care. The initial version of PPSPM software included masking and matching techniques for string, categorical and numerical (integer, floating point and modulus) data.

Mathu Mounasamy developed a module for PPSPM for masking and matching textual data which commonly occur in patient records (such as clinical notes and medical reports containing text data). The TextMM module developed by Mathu extends the functionality of PPSPM by allowing advanced privacy-preserving matching of similar patients based on various features containing textual data, thereby improving the quality and scope of PPSPM.

Rogas is a platform which integrates a collection of graph analysis tools and algorithms into a unified framework in order to support network analysis tasks.

Mojtaba Rezvani added the local community search (also known as local community detection) capability to Rogas. He has implemented several state-of-the-art algorithms proposed for local community detection, such as: k-core, k-truss, k-edge-connected, γ-quasi, and k-cliques. He has also designed a new algorithm for local community detection, which can efficiently identify local communities in large-scale networks.

Yan Xiao redesigned the GUI of Rogas in order to improve usability. He also implemented several visualization techniques to support the graph primitives of Rogas, including cluster, rank and path finding. These developments support dynamic network analysis at different scales so as to predict trends and patterns.

Skeptik is a Scala-based framework for proof theory and automated reasoning.

Ezequiel Postan generalized a challenging proof compression algorithm (the Split algorithm) from propositional logic to first-order logic and implemented it. This enables Skeptik to execute this algorithm not only on proofs output by SAT- and SMT-solvers but also on proofs output by resolution-based automated theorem provers. Ezequiel also implemented parsers for the TPTP and TSTP formats for theorem proving problems and proofs, and implemented a random proof generator to allow comprehensive experimental evaluation of the algorithms.

Daniyar Itegulov implemented a theorem prover for classical first-order logic using Skeptik's data structures and based on a novel logical calculus recently proposed by his mentor. This new calculus, called Conflict Resolution, is inspired by the propositional conflict-driven clause learning procedure used by SAT- and SMT-solvers and generalizes it to first-order logic. Daniyar also went further, conceiving and developing a concurrent proof search strategy for this calculus using Akka actors.

By Bruno Paleo, Organization Administrator for AOSSIE