Tag Archives: Australia

Marriage equality will make us feel safer, more included

Today I’m a step closer to being able to call my wife my wife!
Earlier this year my father-in-law Professor Graeme Stewart, AO, stated in his wedding speech to my wife and I: “As a physician and scientist I know that same sex attraction is a simple biological variant. One doesn’t choose it any more than one chooses one’s blood group or to be tall or short or to be right or left-handed. It just happens.”
Tara (right) and her wife Jess on their wedding day in Hawaii.
Being gay is not a lifestyle I chose, it is who I am. My wife and I have had to create a world within society to feel like we belong. We have created a gay friendly bubble to protect ourselves from outside prejudice that might exist. Whenever we choose to leave our bubble we have to assess how ‘safe’ an area or situation is, and we change simple behaviours accordingly, we often have to be conscious of how we address each other, and how we show affection to each other.
Unfortunately this is the way most LGBTQI people have to live in modern society to protect themselves and avoid potential harm and unwanted attention. The danger however of living like this, restricting your social circles, and retreating into gay friendly communities is you can forget the reality that exists in the ‘real world’, you forget about the discrimination that members of the LGBTQI community face who live under different circumstances.
What this “yes” result means for the gay community is acceptance. Knowing that the majority of Australians agree with same sex marriage makes us feel safer, more included, and we feel less segregated, and most importantly we can openly celebrate our love, commitment and relationships with our family and friends like the rest of the Australian population.
I hope one day (soon!) to unashamedly, call my wife my wife, without having to awkwardly explain our marriage is legal in the state of Hawaii and every country that has legalised gay marriage, and not have to feel ashamed and accept sympathy glances when we attend our friends weddings and the words ‘marriage is between a man and a women with exclusion of all others’ are read aloud.
Today, the survey results show most Australians recognise the LGBTQI community as equal, and now we are just simply...normal.

YouTube – The Australian Story

As the world’s most popular video site, YouTube is helping to build a new creative ecosystem by supporting Australian content creators. Today we released our first ever report on how YouTube is helping those creators: YouTube - The Australian Story.
While we all know Australians love to watch YouTube, less well known are the stories of the Australian YouTube creators who are making uniquely Aussie content for both local and global audiences. Australian content on YouTube is wildly popular among overseas audiences, with more than 90% of views coming from overseas in 2016. This provides Australian YouTube creators with access to a global audience. In the process, they are building real businesses around their YouTube channels, which have become central to their ongoing success.
Josiah Brooks from Draw with Jazza
In 2016 alone, Australian YouTube creators earned significant incomes from advertising on YouTube, with more than 100 channels earning more than $100,000 and more than 2000 channels earning between $1,000 and $100,000. This money is generated from the advertising that is displayed against creators’ content on YouTube. Creators are also earning money by leveraging their channels in other ways including through fan meet-ups, merchandise sales and sponsorships.
This has allowed talented YouTube creators like Josiah Brooks (aka Draw with Jazza) to earn a living from his art content. Josiah started his YouTube channel in 2012 hoping that it would one day help to pay his bills. Five years later he has two million subscribers, and his videos have been viewed more than 220 million times.

In his words: "YouTube has made it possible for me to run an art entertainment channel from regional Victoria, which reaches a large global audience and provides a substantial income. My channel began within a 'niche', producing specialized content, although over time I've have been able to shift towards the mainstream and compete with some of the world's top YouTube channels."
As well as Josiah’s video content, which is sponsored by major brands like Adobe and Disney, Josiah has also been able to monetise his YouTube success through his best selling App, ‘Jazza’s Arty Games’, and an online store hosted on his website.
Here he’s been able to sell artwork, games, reference packs and e-books. He’s even selling his ‘signature photoshop brushes’ allowing viewers on his YouTube channel to develop advanced skills in digital art.
Brothers Danny and Michael Philippou from The Racka Racka

This type of success is only possible because of the high quality and engaging content Australian creators are producing on YouTube. Danny and Michael Philippou, the twin brothers from Adelaide behind The Racka Racka, have built a fanbase of more than four million subscribers on YouTube and their content has been viewed more than 500 million times. They have been described by the CEO of Screen Australia as the “most successful content creators in the country”.
The Racka Racka features in the top ten most subscribed channels in Australia and is reaching a global audience through YouTube.
As they say: “Without YouTube we wouldn't be anywhere. Before it we were struggling to be noticed or seen. YouTube gave us access to millions of people and the opportunities it has provided us are incredible!”
Being able to reach a global audience is a massive advantage for Australian content creators. And this is leading to an explosion in the amount of Australian content being produced. In 2016, more than 550,000 hours of video was uploaded by Australian creators to YouTube.
Put another way, every minute more than one hour of content is uploaded to Australian YouTube channels. With YouTube’s global reach the possibilities for Australian creators are endless!

Communicate around the house with the Google Assistant

Cross-posted from the Google Keyword blog

From dinner bells to shouting, attempting to gather the family from around the house is nothing new. And now, your Google Assistant is getting in on the game.
Starting today, you can broadcast your voice from your Assistant on your phone or voice-activated speakers, like Google Home. So when you need to round up the family in the morning, just say “Ok Google, broadcast it’s time for school!” and your message will broadcast to all Assistant enabled speakers in your home.
For certain everyday things like waking up, dinnertime or settling down for bed, the Assistant can send a playful message on your behalf. Just say “Ok Google, broadcast it’s dinner time” and a dinner bell will ring on all your Google Homes. 🔔 Now you don't have to wear out your voice shouting up the stairs.
And if you’re just leaving the office, you can let your family know you’re coming with a simple “Ok Google, broadcast I’m on my way home!” to the Assistant on your phone, and it will broadcast to your Google Homes. To ensure that broadcasting works across all your devices, make sure you’re signed in with the same Google Account. See our help center to learn more.
Broadcasting starts rolling out today to the Assistant on phones and speakers set to English language in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K., with more languages coming soon.

Family Link arrives in Australia

Every year, more and more Aussie children are using mobile devices, and according to our research, 50% of kids in Australia between the ages of 2-12 now have their own phone or tablet. Managing a child’s use of these devices can be a challenge. Parents have concerns about stuff like screen time and the apps their children are using, just like they have concerns about protecting their little ones in the real world. Parents want to help guide their child’s experience online, while also allowing them to explore and be inspired. Starting this week, parents in Australia will be able to use Family Link to help them manage their child’s Android device, including apps their child can use, keeping an eye on screen time, setting a bedtime for their child’s device, and more.  

Here’s how it works: First, your child will need a new or factory reset Android device (see which devices work with Family Link). When setting up your child’s device, we’ll ask you to create an account. Enter your child’s birthday, and if they’re under 13, you can set up a Google Account for them that you can manage. When you’re finished, Family Link will automatically be downloaded to your child’s device, and you can choose the apps and settings that you want for your child. You can then use Family Link to:

Manage the apps your child can use

Approve or block the apps your child wants to download from the Google Play Store.
Keep an eye on screen time

See how much time your child spends on their favorite apps with weekly or monthly activity reports, and set daily screen time limits for their device.

Set a device bedtime

Remotely lock your child’s device when it’s time to play, study, or sleep.

While no app can make apps or services that were designed for adults "child-safe," Family Link can help parents stay in the loop and set certain ground rules around how children use their devices. As we continue to develop Family Link, we’d love to hear feedback from Australian parents on how we can make the Family Link experience even better. Share your feedback right in the Family Link app from the Help menu. You can learn more at our website, and if you have questions about setting up an account for your child or using Family Link, check out our Help Center.

Posted by Charles Zaffaroni, Product Manager, Kids and Families

Explore four decades of Mardi Gras fabulousness

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras may have started life as a protest, but these days it’s a different kind of riot as hundreds of thousands of marchers and supporters annually make it one of the biggest and most fabulous LGBTQI celebrations anywhere in the world.
Campaign magazine, courtesy Australian Lesbian & Gay Archives1978-06-24
Now celebrating its 40th year, the Mardi Gras is one of the main annual celebrations for LGBTQI Australians and at Google it’s one of our favourite times of the year, when we get together to support equality, diversity and inclusion.
We’re proud to provide our support to the Mardi Gras through funding of the Community Parade Grants program.
Today, we are also thrilled to help the Mardi Gras tell the inspiring story of how it has evolved over the past four decades through the Google Arts & Culture platform. The interactive timeline of images and videos portrays decades of Mardi Gras love, protest, diversity, acceptance, activism, pride, family, passion, creativity, drama and satire.
The 40th anniversary of Mardi Gras makes me reflect on my own history with this iconic event. Being born and raised in Austria, I was on a holiday in Australia when I met my first girlfriend at Mardi Gras in 2005. You could say that, ultimately, Mardi Gras greatly contributed to me still being here almost 13 years later.
Strictly Mardi Gras Float Markham Lane, 2014-03-01 From the collection of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
I have marched three times in the parade, and I still feel goosebumps thinking about that very moment when your float turns onto Oxford St, the crowd roaring. Feeling like a rockstar, celebrated by thousands!
It’s been a long few months for the Australian LGBTQI community. I hope that we’ll be able to celebrate equality for all Australians when Mardi Gras comes around again next year.

Upping digital skills in 35 degrees…Digital Garage arrives in Darwin

The Northern Territory is the third largest Australian jurisdiction, covering more than 1.3 million square kilometres, and with a sparsely distributed population in some of the most remote areas of the country, there’s a great opportunity for digitally savvy local businesses to connect with consumers from across the country and overseas.

More than 120 business owners came together in Darwin this week for a free digital skills training event hosted by Google Australia in partnership with the Northern Territory’s October Business Month.  

Full house at SkyCity when Digital Garage arrived in Darwin

As more than 90 per cent of Aussie small businesses are not taking full advantage of today’s digital tools, the workshop aimed to help small business owners gain new digital skills and make the most of the web by providing practical skills for improvement. Member for Fong Lim, Jeff Collins, joined the event and spoke about the great digital opportunity for businesses in the Northern Territory.

Guests also heard from local business owner, Damien Moriarty, Founder of Killarney Homes,  on how he uses Google tools to promote the home construction business. Operating for over 10 years, Damien highlighted how a significant amount their lead generation can be attributed back to the company’s digital presence on Google and YouTube. Prospective homeowners increasingly like to do their research online by viewing videos before taking the next step of meeting with a builder.
Jeff Collins MLA, Chair of the Small Business Round Tables

Every month, Google drives tens of millions of direct connections between businesses and their customers in Australia including calls, online reservations and direction requests.The opportunity for businesses in the Northern Territory and beyond is significant. Want to find out more about how to get your business online? Check out The Digital Garage online!

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia and New Zealand 

Investing even more in Australia’s future

Great innovations that improve the lives of millions usually have one thing in common: they are born from an obsession with solving a specific problem.
We take the same approach to our products and services at Google, focusing on the needs of our users and employing technology to make their lives easier. It’s that same fixation that also drives the ten nonprofit organisations that Google Australia supported a year ago when we announced $5 million in funding through the Google.org Impact Challenge.
Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, explains how they are helping to save the reef with autonomous robots. 
Nonprofits such as the George Institute for Global Health, which is creating an SMS-based support service to help people with chronic diseases lead healthier lives, or the Centre for Eye Research Australia, with an eyesight self-assessment system for Australians in remote areas. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is protecting coral reef ecosystems though a low-cost, autonomous robot designed to monitor, map, manage and preserve coral reef ecosystems, while The Nature Conservancy Australia is deploying mobile technology to protect global fish stocks.

This week we celebrated the work of those ten organisations in the year since we announced their funding, hearing about their progress and the milestones they have achieved.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that next year we will invest even more to help tackle Australia’s toughest problems.
The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre is working on an app to help parents detect autism in their children.
In 2018 we will hold Australia’s third Google Impact Challenge, with a minimum funding commitment of $5 million, inviting charities and nonprofits to propose technology-driven solutions to challenges facing our society. Working with prominent Australians to judge submissions, and inviting the public to vote on their favourite projects, we will select another 10 projects to support with funding and resources from Google.
This will be the third time we have run the Google.org Impact Challenge in Australia, making us the first country outside of America to do so. We started back in 2014, supporting nonprofits such as Infoxchange and AIME, which yesterday launched its game Second Chances, designed to encourage indigenous kids to engage more with maths and science.
Normally we only do an Impact Challenge once, but we have been impressed by the calibre of the ideas and the teams that came forward. The ideas in Australia are not only the best innovators all across Australia, but on par with any of the best innovation ideas we've seen globally.
We are excited to see the new ideas that will emerge through the 2018 Google Impact Challenge, and to assist organisations with visions to use technology in addressing important causes.
Representatives of the ten nonprofits that received funding in the 2016 Google.org Impact Challenge at the anniversary celebration held at Google's offices in Sydney.
Google has always worked best when it helped people work on big problems in new ways. Through Google.org, we rally our philanthropy, people, and products to support nonprofits making an impact in their communities.
In Australia, that commitment continues to grow. We aim to continue to assist all Australians in making creating a safer, more inclusive society for everyone.

Searching for news innovators

At Google News Lab, we believe technology can and should support the creation of quality journalism.
We know that the best journalistic innovations come from within the newsroom, when journalists and technologists work together at the centre of the action.
That's why we are thrilled to expand the Australia Google News Lab Fellowship in its second year, in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Walkley Foundation. Applications are now open.
We’re seeking Fellows to spend the 2017/18 summer embedded in the ABC newsroom, working on data journalism and product development projects that will help one of Australia’s largest newsrooms experiment and innovate with the latest storytelling technologies.
Google News Lab works with newsrooms, startups and journalism organisations around the world.
The Fellowship is open to anyone with technology skills that they’d like to apply to create new innovative forms of journalism, under the guidance of some of Australia’s most experienced journalists. Over the past two years we’ve steadily expanded the Google News Lab Fellowship program to help build the next generation of digital journalists across the world.
Last year we launched the program in Australia in partnership with Fairfax Media, placing Matthew Baker from the University of New South Wales inside the Sydney Morning Herald’s newsroom.
Australian News Lab Fellow Matt Baker (second from right) with other Fellows at Google headquarters last year.
Matthew worked on two main projects - a data-driven analysis of the late-night lockout laws in Sydney, and a recommendation tool designed to increase audience engagement.
We look forward to welcoming a new cohort of passionate Australian journalism innovators this year to expand and broaden the impact of the Fellowship program.
You can learn more about the fellowship program and our participating media organisations at the Walkley Foundation’s website. Applications are open until October 29.

Switch on and take off… Aussie businesses seizing the digital opportunity

Can getting online really boost your business bottom line? Turns out that digitally engaged small businesses are more than 50 per cent more likely to be growing, according to a new study released today.

The 2017 Deloitte Connected Small Business report found Australian businesses are becoming increasingly tech savvy, with more adopting digital tools to help their business thrive.

And they’re seeing great results - SMBs with advanced levels of digital engagement are 8 times more likely to be creating jobs. They’re also 7 times more likely to be exporting, which is good news for those businesses and the Australian economy.

Small businesses make a big contribution, accounting for more than two-thirds of private sector employment in Australia. This means the opportunities are huge.

Wine retailer Vinomofo is a great example of a business using the web to grow. They now employ more than 100 staff and supply over 540,000 wine lovers across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, and they're looking at expanding to other export destinations.

While digital engagement has increased, there is still huge untapped potential with the report finding 87 per cent of SMBs are not taking full advantage of digital tools. Small business operators identified a number of barriers to engagement, including a lack of digital skills. In fact, more than 60 per cent of businesses listed skills among the top 3 barriers to digital engagement.

We want all businesses to have the chance to succeed online, that’s why we created The Digital Garage, a free online digital skills training platform. You can also join one of our Digital Garage workshops - keep an eye out for events in your area (next stop Darwin)!

The online opportunity for small businesses is huge. Get the skills you need and help your business take off!

Ask more of your phone: The Google Pixel 2

Last year, we launched our first Pixel phone made by Google. We started on this journey by asking “What if smartphones were smarter and simpler?” We set out to make the smartphone experience better and bring the best of Google to the most important device in your life. With Pixel, we created the world’s best smartphone camera and the first phone with the Google Assistant. We were excited that so many of you liked it so much. So we didn’t stop there.

Today, along with a new family of hardware products, we’re excited to announce Google Pixel 2. With this launch, we want you to be able to ask even more from your phone—with the highest-rated camera in the world1 that helps you take great pictures and interact with the world around you, all-day battery life2 and an Assistant that understands you better and helps you get more done.

Pixel 2 is loaded with great features, so let me take you through a few of our favourite ones.

The best smartphone camera, again

Taking great photos and videos is one of the things you do most with your phone, so we set out to deliver the best photography experience. You get stunningly crisp, clear, and detailed photos in any light. You can also take high-quality portrait shots with the perfect background blurs, from both the front and back camera. New motion photos capture a few seconds of video around the shot so you can relive the moment around the picture. The Pixel 2 camera is powered by our computational photography and machine learning (ML) capabilities which make all these great features easy, fun and fast for you to use.

We’ve made video capture better too by combining both optical and electronic video stabilisation to give you remarkably smooth video, even when you’re on the move. All of these great features mean you can take the best photos and videos with Pixel 2. And don’t just take our word for it; independent camera experts, DxOMark, have rated the Pixel 2 camera as the best camera of any smartphone, with an unprecedented score of 98.1 To top it off, we’re once again providing free unlimited online storage for all of the photos and videos taken on your Pixel.4

Your camera will keep getting better over time. As just one example, coming soon and exclusive to Pixel, you’ll be able to play with Augmented Reality (AR) Stickers, so you can add playful emojis and virtual characters to your photos and videos and set the scene for your very own stories.

Search what you see

Pixel 2 owners will also get an exclusive preview of Google Lens — a new set of visual smarts that help you learn more about the world around you and get things done. It builds on Google’s advancements in computer vision and ML, combined with our Knowledge Graph which underpins Google Search. From day one, on your Pixel 2, you’ll be able to look up landmarks, books, music albums, movies, and artwork, by clicking on the Lens icon in Google Photos. You can also use Google Lens to copy URLs and contact info from a picture of a poster or business card. We’ll add capabilities on an ongoing basis, including to use of Lens in the Google Assistant.

The Google Assistant, built in

The Google Assistant makes many tasks—from sending a text or making a call, to finding an answer—faster, easier and hands-free.5 With Pixel 2, you can access your Google Assistant with a new feature called Active Edge. Just give the phone a quick squeeze—even when it’s in a case—and ask the Assistant for what you need.

Your Assistant now helps you manage more settings and apps on your phone. You can say “turn on do not disturb” on your way into the theater, instead of having to navigate through your settings.You can also control your music and find answers to pretty much anything. The Google Assistant on Pixel not only understands you better but can also be more personal to you, helping you get more done at any time.

Do more, worry less

We’ve all been caught with a dead battery, so we made sure the Pixel 2 has a battery that lasts all day.2 And if you ever need a quick boost, 15 minutes of charging gives you up to seven hours of usage.2 It’s also water- and dust- resistant to the IP67 standard3 and comes with important security features baked in. With monthly security updates from Google, your Pixel will always have the most advanced security precautions built in — no more worrying about updating or upgrading.

We’re also making it easy to switch to Pixel. Most people will be able to copy their contacts, apps, messages, photos, and even their iMessages from their old phones to Pixel in 10 minutes or less.6 It’s fast and painless.

Just give me the deets, already

Pixel 2 comes in two sizes, with the same great features in both. There’s the 5-inch Pixel 2 with a crystal-clear cinematic OLED display, which comes in Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue. The 6-inch Pixel 2 XL has a razor-sharp pOLED 18:9 display which allows us to create a full screen, immersive viewing experience, and comes in Just Black and Black & White.

Both phones are powered by Android 8.0 Oreo and come with an always-on display which lets you see notifications at a glance on Pixel’s screen without having to touch the power button. The new Now Playing feature, exclusive to Pixel, shows you on the Always-On display what song is playing around you. With your permission it matches music to a database of thousands of songs that’s stored on your device, without sending any information to Google.

Alongside Pixel we’re launching new cases and accessories. That includes our customisable Google Live Cases, and a range of other cases, cables, headphones and more from over 25 partners in our “made for Google” program. The "made for" products will feature a badge on the packaging so you know they've been certified to meet Google's compatibility standards.

Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL will be available nationwide from Telstra, JB- HiFi and Google Store. You can register your interest for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL today at the Google Store and Telstra, and pre-order from October 20 starting at RRP $1079.  

There's so much more to Pixel 2, but I'm sure I've already violated some blog post length rules. I hope you'll visit the Google Store to find out more.

Posted by Mario Queiroz, Vice President and General Manager for Phones, Google

1 Based on a September 2017 test from DxOMark Mobile.
2 Based on use of the included charger and a mix of talk, data, and standby use with always on display off.  Actual results may vary, see website for details.  
3Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have a water protection rating of IP67 under IEC standard 60529. Charger and accessories are not water resistant.
4 Unlimited original-quality online storage for photos and videos taken on Pixel until Jan 15, 2021; unlimited high-quality online storage for photos taken on Pixel afterwards. Requires Google Account + internet connection
5 Requires internet connection and Google account.
6 Transfer time depends on data stored on your phone. Some third-party data may not be transferred automatically. Visit g.co/pixelcare for information. For information on transferring other content and data that isn’t stored on your old phone, visit the Google Customer Care Centre.