Tag Archives: Australia

Welcoming Mini to the Google Home Family

Today, we’re welcoming a new product to the Google Home family: Google Home Mini. Mini is a small and mighty device for hands-free help in every room, packed with the power of the Google Assistant.

Google Home Mini

Mini makes the Google Assistant more accessible than ever at home. We designed it to fit naturally in any room. It’s sleek and smooth, with no corners or edges, and about the size of a donut. Its fabric enclosure is durable, yet transparent enough to let through both light and sound. The LEDs under the fabric light up to show you when your Assistant hears you. And it projects 360-degree sound so you’ll never miss a beat. With far-field microphones, Mini can hear you even when there’s music playing or there’s other noise in the background. Mini comes in three colors—Chalk, Charcoal and Coral. At $79 (RRP), Google Home Mini works on its own or you can have a few around the house, giving you the power of Google anywhere in your home.

The Google Assistant

The entire Google Home family has the Google Assistant built-in, so you can get answers from Google, tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment, and control your smart home (with an internet connection).  Your Assistant is always getting better, and today we’re introducing a couple of new features:

Step-by-step recipes

We really have our hands full when we’re cooking. We have to prep ingredients, clean as we go – all while carefully following instructions. Unless you’re a seasoned chef, your favourite recipe book may end up covered in dough. To help with this, soon your Google Assistant will free up your hands, save you from mess and keep you focused with voice-activated recipe instructions. Just say “Ok Google, next step” to keep moving through the recipe.

Find your phone

Lost your Android phone? No big deal. Soon you’ll be able to ask your Assistant on Google Home to “find my phone” and hear it ring in its last location, even when it’s on vibrate!


Soon you’ll be able to broadcast a message to let the family know when it’s time to get a move on. Just say “Hey Google, broadcast it’s time to leave for footy training!” and it’ll play on the other Google Home devices around the house.

Apps for the Google Assistant

Last month, we enabled apps for the Google Assistant with the launch of our developer platform, Actions on Google in Australia. This means lots of your favourite brands can build for the Google Assistant and Aussies can enjoy easy and fast access to more services and content.  Just say "Ok Google, talk to..." and your Assistant will connect you with a range of apps, including Woolworths, eBay, NAB, Optus, Domain, AFL (by Telstra), Concrete Playground, Word Bubble (by 3P Learning) and more.


Google Home Mini will be available for $79 (RRP) later this month from JB Hi-Fi, Telstra, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, David Jones and Google Store. And you’ll be able to pre-order today from select retailers so you don’t miss out.

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.

Pixel 2 and Daydream View: new experiences in AR and VR

Virtual and augmented reality have the potential to make computing more immersive, intuitive and powerful. With augmented reality, you can interact with digital objects that are integrated seamlessly in the real world around you. With virtual reality, you can experience what it’s like to go anywhere. We just announced the new Pixel 2, which gives you access to amazing smartphone AR and high-quality mobile VR in the same device.

AR: Have fun and get things done

Aside from taking great photos and videos, the Pixel 2’s camera is factory calibrated and optimized for augmented reality. It enables robust tracking, even in low-light conditions, and 60 frames per second rendering of AR objects. That means you’ll be able to have really engaging AR experiences.

Soon, we’re putting AR objects and characters at your fingertips in a new experience called AR Stickers. With it, you’ll be able to express yourself with playful emojis and set the scene for your very own stories. If you’re powering through an afternoon slump, you can take a picture with a tired cup of coffee from the Food-moji pack. Or, if you’re feeling festive, shoot a happy birthday video for your friend with lots of AR balloons. These stickers give you new ways to be creative and capture how you’re feeling, so you can share with the people in your life. It works right in the camera, and it’ll be exclusive to the Pixel.

We’ll release more new AR Sticker packs in the future, so keep your eyes peeled around the changing seasons, holidays and big pop culture moments. You’ll be able to interact with your favourite characters from “Stranger Things,” and be part of the scene as Eleven faces off against the Demogorgon. Team up with R2D2 to save the day with the Star Wars pack. Hang out with your favourite NBA Stars, and challenge Jimmy Fallon to a lip sync battle.

We’re previewing apps and experiences built by our partners with ARCore, the augmented reality SDK for Android. With Houzz, you’ll be able to bring the showroom into your living room and see how different furniture, accent pieces and more fit into your space. With Musical.ly, you can unleash your inner creative genius and pepper your video creations with awesome AR characters. Experience the real-time action of a League of Legends match through an augmented reality map, built by Grab Games. And with LEGO Brickheadz, have fun building virtual models in AR with characters that come to life, without fear of stepping on that last 2x4 brick.

AR Stickers and lots of other AR experiences will be available in the coming months.

VR: More immersive with an all-new Daydream View

We’re also announcing a new Google Daydream View headset, which you can pair with Pixel 2 or another Daydream-ready phone for great virtual reality. With this new headset, we kept the best parts of the original—it’s comfortable, easy to use and built with choice in mind—and made them even better. The new Daydream View has high performance lenses, which result in better image clarity and a wider field of view. It sports a premium two-tone fabric that makes the headset soft and light, and it’s coming to the Google Store in Fog, Coral and Charcoal, and to other retailers in select colours.  

There’s so much to experience on Daydream. Last year, we launched with 25 apps and games. Daydream now has more than 250 titles, so you’ll never run out of things to do. Over the last year, we’ve also seen how much people love watching immersive VR video on apps like YouTube VR. And no wonder: great VR video puts you in the center of the action. It’s a totally different experience from watching on a flat screen.

We’re bringing you more of these amazing, only-in-VR moments with a slate of new and exclusive premium content for Daydream. Get closer than front row seats with intimate performances from your favourite stars like Ed Sheeran in Austin City Limits Backstage. Hear personal confessions from huge comics like Trevor Noah in “The Confessional”, a YouTube VR original from Felix & Paul. Venture to all seven continents with Discovery’s TRVLR series, and blast off into space with IMAX in Google Play Movies.

Learn more and buy

With Google Pixel 2, you’ll have easy access to both AR and VR. We can’t wait for you to get your hands on it and start exploring. Learn more here.

The new Google Daydream View will be available later this year at Telstra, JB Hi-Fi and the Google Store for RRP $149.

Some apps / content require internet connection. Additional charges may apply.

Posted by Clay Bavor, VP of Virtual and Augmented Reality

Google Pixel Buds — wireless headphones that help you do more

What if your headphones could do more than let you listen to your favourite music? What if they could help you get things done without having to look at your phone? What if they could help you answer (almost!) any question just by asking, or even help you understand someone speaking a different language?

We wanted to make a more helpful pair of headphones. Today, we’re introducing Google Pixel Buds. They’re wireless headphones that not only sound great, but are seamless to use and charge, offer help from the Google Assistant, and have a few extra smarts so you can get the answers you need while keeping your eyes up.

Fit them, charge them, pair them—made simple

From getting the right fit, to keeping them charged, Pixel Buds are really simple to use. They’ve got a unique fabric loop, making them comfortable, secure, and quick to adjust without having to swap out pieces. We put all the audio controls into a touchpad on the right earbud, so there aren’t any buttons hanging on the cord. Just swipe forward or backward to control volume and tap to play or pause your music. Charging and storing them is easy - they nestle right into a pocket-sized charging case that gives you up to 24 hours of listening time. And, pairing them is a cinch. Just open the charging case near your Pixel or Android phone running Android 7.0 Nougat or higher with the Assistant, and your phone will automatically detect them and ask you if you want to connect.

Get help from the Google Assistant with just a touch

Pixel Buds bring Google smarts right to your ears, with answers and intel that would make James Bond jealous. Touch and hold the right earbud to ask your Assistant to play music, make a phone call, or get directions, all without pulling out your phone. If you have an upcoming meeting or you’re waiting on a text from a friend, the Assistant can alert you to a calendar event or incoming message, and even read it to you if you can’t look at your phone at that moment.

Be multilingual with Google Translate and Pixel

And, they can even act as your translator in real-time using Google Translate on Pixel. It’s like you’ve got your own personal translator with you everywhere you go. Say you’re on a trip to Melbourne’s Little Italy , and you want to order your pasta like a pro. All you have to do is hold down on the right earbud and say, “Help me speak Italian.” As you talk, your Pixel phone’s speaker will play the translation in Italian out loud. When the waiter responds in Italian, you’ll hear the translation through your Pixel Buds. If you’re more of a sushi or French comfort food fan, no need to worry, it works in 40 languages.
Pixel Buds come in three colors—Just Black, Clearly White, and Kinda Blue to match your Pixel 2 (sold separately). They’ll be available from the Google Store and select Telstra and JB Hi-Fi stores soon for $249 (RRP).

With Pixel Buds, we’re excited to put all the power of the Google Assistant into a pair of headphones you can take with you everywhere, so you can easily control your tunes, get walking directions to the nearest coffee spot or have a conversation with someone from another country without ever pulling out your phone.

Kayaking, cheese and digital skills.. Welcome to Tassie

More than 1 million people visit Tasmania each year. They go for the rugged landscape, great food and wine, historic sites and world-class cultural institutions. Many of these trips are researched and booked online, and that means there’s a great opportunity for digitally savvy local businesses to connect with consumers.

With this in mind, more than 120 business owners came together in Hobart last Thursday for a free digital skills training event, hosted by Google Australia and the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The workshop aimed to help small business owners gain new digital skills and make the most of the web. Tasmanian Minister for Information Technology and Innovation, Michael Ferguson joined the event and spoke about the great digital opportunity for Tasmanian businesses.

Research from Deloitte found that digitally engaged small businesses are 1.5 times more likely to be growing and 7 times more likely to be exporting, but many businesses are not taking full advantage of today’s digital tools.

Guests heard from local business owner Robert Knight on how he uses Google tools to promote his tourism enterprise The Bruny Island Long Weekend.

The Bruny Island Long Weekend is a family-owned and run business offering three-days of coastal walks, luxury camping and gourmet meals. Robert spoke about how he uses Google AdWords to reach new customers and shared tips for other businesses looking to engage online.

Images courtesy of The Bruny Island Long Weekend

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 Tasmania and beyond is huge. Want to find out more about how to get your business online? Check out The Digital Garage online and find upcoming Digital Garage events - next stop Darwin!

Driving the future of digital subscriptions

Journalism provides accurate and timely information when it matters most, shaping our understanding of important issues and pushing us to learn more in search of the truth. People come to Google looking for high-quality content, and our job is to help them find it. However, sometimes that content is behind a paywall.
While research has shown that people are becoming more accustomed to paying for news, the sometimes painful process of signing up for a subscription can be a turn off. That’s not great for users or for news publishers who see subscriptions as an increasingly important source of revenue.
To address these problems we’ve been talking to news publishers about how to support their subscription businesses with a focus on the following:

  • First, Flexible Sampling will replace First Click Free. Publishers are in the best position to determine what level of free sampling works best for them. So as of this week, we are ending the First Click Free policy, which required publishers to provide a minimum of three free articles per day via Google Search and Google News before people were shown a paywall. 
  • Longer term, we are building a suite of products and services to help news publishers reach new audiences, drive subscriptions and grow revenue. 
  • We are also looking at how we can simplify the purchase process and make it easy for Google users to get the full value of their subscriptions across Google’s platforms. 

Our goal is to make subscriptions work seamlessly everywhere, for everyone.
First Click Free 
We will end our First Click Free policy in favour of a Flexible Sampling model where publishers will decide how many, if any, free articles they want to provide to potential subscribers based on their own business strategies. This move is informed by our own research, publisher feedback, and months-long experiments with the New York Times and the Financial Times, both of which operate successful subscription services.
"Google's decision to let publishers determine how much content readers can sample from search is a positive development,” said Kinsey Wilson, an adviser to New York Times CEO Mark Thompson. "We're encouraged as well by Google's willingness to consider other ways of supporting subscription business models and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them to craft smart solutions."
Publishers generally recognise that giving people access to some free content is the way to persuade people to buy their product. The typical approach to sampling is a model called metering, which lets people see a pre-determined number of free stories before a paywall kicks in. We recommend the following approach:

  • Monthly, rather than daily, metering allows publishers more flexibility to experiment with the number of free stories to offer people and to target those more likely to subscribe.
  • For most publishers, 10 articles per month is a good starting point.
  • Please see our Webmaster blog and our guide on Flexible Sampling for more detail on these approaches.

“Try before you buy” underlines what many publishers already know—they need to provide some form of free sampling to be successful on the internet. If it’s too little, then fewer users will click on links to that content or share it, which could have an effect on brand discovery and subsequently may affect traffic over time.
Subscription support
Subscribing to great content should not be as hard as it is today. Registering on a site, creating and remembering multiple passwords, and entering credit card information—these are all hassles we hope to solve.
As a first step we’re taking advantage of our existing identity and payment technologies to help people subscribe on a publication’s website with a single click, and then seamlessly access that content anywhere— whether it’s on that publisher site or mobile app, or on Google Newsstand, Google Search or Google News.
And since news products and subscription models vary widely, we’re collaborating with publishers around the world on how to build a subscription mechanism that can meet the needs of a diverse array of approaches—to the benefit of the news industry and consumers alike.
We’re also exploring how Google’s machine learning capabilities can help publishers recognise potential subscribers and present the right offer to the right audience at the right time.
“It's extremely clear that advertising alone can no longer pay for the production and distribution of high quality journalism—and at the same time the societal need for sustainable independent journalism has never been greater. Reader-based revenue, aka paid-content, or subscription services, are therefore not just a nice-to-have, but an essential component of a publisher's revenue composition,” said Jon Slade, FT Chief Commercial Officer. “The Financial Times is welcoming of Google's input and actions to help this critical sector of the media industry, and we've worked very closely with Google to aid understanding of the needs that publishers have and how Google can help. That mutual understanding includes the ability to set controls over the amount of free content given to readers, a level playing field for content discovery, optimised promotion and payment processes. It is important that we now build and accelerate on the discussions and actions to date.”
We are just getting started and want to get as much input from publishers—large, small, national, local, international—to make sure we build solutions together that work for everyone.

Working together to combat terrorists online

Last week Google hosted a regional event in Jakarta exploring how ‘counter narratives’ can be used to prevent extremism.  Counter narratives can be described as responses to extremist ideas or propaganda and can take many forms.  The discussions extended to far right extremism and experiences using counter narratives within this community as well as the definition of extremism.
At the event there was strong representation from Australia with YouTube content creators, civil society groups, academics and policy makers joining the conversation. There was an unanimous agreement that none of us can address this challenge on our own - we need to come together in fora such as the one in Jakarta to share information and ideas; and explore opportunities where we can actively collaborate or support each other’s activities.  We look forward to continuing these conversations over the coming months, including within the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism that Kent Walker, our Global General Counsel, describes below.

[Editor’s note: This is a revised and abbreviated version of a speech Kent delivered at the United Nations in New York City, NY, on behalf of the members of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism.]

The Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism is a group of four technology companies—Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube—that are committed to working together and with governments and civil society to address the problem of online terrorist content.
For our companies, terrorism isn’t just a business concern or a technical challenge. These are deeply personal threats. We are citizens of London, Paris, Jakarta, and New York. And in the wake of each terrorist attack we too frantically check in on our families and co-workers to make sure they are safe. We’ve all had to do this far too often.
The products that our companies build lower barriers to innovation and empower billions of people around the world. But we recognize that the internet and other tools have also been abused by terrorists in their efforts to recruit, fundraise, and organize. And we are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that our platforms aren't used to distribute terrorist material.
The Forum’s efforts are focused on three areas: leveraging technology, conducting research on patterns of radicalization and misuse of online platforms, and sharing best practices to accelerate our joint efforts against dangerous radicalization. Let me say more about each pillar.
First, when it comes to technology, you should know that our companies are putting our best talent and technology against the task of getting terrorist content off our services. There is no silver bullet when it comes to finding and removing this content, but we’re getting much better.
One early success in collaboration has been our “hash sharing” database, which allows a company that discovers terrorist content on one of their sites to create a digital fingerprint and share it with the other companies in the coalition, who can then more easily detect and review similar content for removal.
We have to deal with these problems at tremendous scale. The haystacks are unimaginably large and the needles are both very small and constantly changing. People upload over 400 hours of content to YouTube every minute. Our software engineers have spent years developing technology that can spot certain telltale cues and markers. In recent months we have more than doubled the number of videos we've removed for violent extremism and have located these videos twice as fast. And what’s more, 75 percent of the violent extremism videos we’ve removed in recent months were found using technology before they received a single human flag.
These efforts are working. Between August 2015 and June 2017, Twitter suspended more than 935,000 accounts for the promotion of terrorism. During the first half of 2017, over 95 percent of the accounts it removed were detected using its in-house technology. Facebook is using new advances in artificial intelligence to root out "terrorist clusters" by mapping out the pages, posts, and profiles with terrorist material and then shutting them down.
Despite this recent progress, machines are simply not at the stage where they can replace human judgment. For example, portions of a terrorist video in a news broadcast might be entirely legitimate, but a computer program will have difficulty distinguishing documentary coverage from incitement.
The Forum’s second pillar is focused on conducting and sharing research about how terrorists use the internet to influence their audiences so that we can stay one step ahead.
Today, the members of the Forum are pleased to announce that we are making a multi-million dollar commitment to support research on terrorist abuse of the internet and how governments, tech companies, and civil society can fight back against online radicalization.
The Forum has also set a goal of working with 50 smaller tech companies to help them better tackle terrorist content on their platforms. On Monday, we hosted dozens of companies for a workshop with our partners under the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate. There will be a workshop in Brussels in December and another in Indonesia in the coming months. And we are also working to expand the hash-sharing database to smaller companies.
The Forum’s final pillar is working together to find powerful messages and avenues to reach out to those at greatest risk of radicalization.
Members of the forum are doing a better job of sharing breakthroughs with each other. One success we’ve seen is with the Redirect Method developed at Alphabet’s Jigsaw group. Redirect uses targeted advertising to reach people searching for terrorist content and presents videos that undermine extremist recruiting efforts. During a recent eight-week study more than 300,000 users clicked on our targeted ads and watched more than 500,000 minutes of video. This past April, Microsoft started a similar program on Bing. And Jigsaw and Bing are now exploring a partnership to share best practices and expertise.
At the same time, we’re elevating the voices that are most credible in speaking out against terrorism, hate, and violence. YouTube’s Creators for Change program highlights online stars taking a stand against xenophobia and extremism. And Facebook's P2P program has brought together more than 5,000 students from 68 countries to create campaigns to combat hate speech. And together the companies have participated in hundreds of meetings and trainings to counter violent extremism including events in Beirut, Bosnia, and Brussels and summits at the White House, here at the United Nations, London, and Sydney to empower credible non-governmental voices against violent extremism.
There is no magic computer program that will eliminate online terrorist content, but we are committed to working with everyone in this room as we continue to ramp up our own efforts to stop terrorists’ abuse of our services. This forum is an important step in the right direction. We look forward to working with national and local governments, and civil society, to prevent extremist ideology from spreading in communities and online.
- Kent Walker, Global General Counsel, Google

Actions on Google is now available in Australia

Posted by Brad Abrams, Product Manager

Last month we announcedthat UK users can access apps for the Google Assistant on Google Home and their phones—and starting today, we're bringing Actions on Google to Australia. From Perth to Sydney, developers can start building apps for the Google Assistant, giving their userseven more ways to get things done.

Similar to our launch in the UK, your English apps will appear in the local directory automatically. With that said, there are a few things to help make your app a true blue Aussie:

  • New TTS voices: There are a number of new TTS voices with an Australian (english) accent. We've automatically selected one for your app but you can change the selected voice or opt to use your current English US or UK voice by going to the actions console.
  • Practice makes perfect: We also recommend reviewing your response text strings andmaking adjustments to accommodate for differences between the languages, like making sure you know the important things, like candy should be lollies and servo is a gas station.

Our developer tools, documentationand simulatorhave all been updated to make it easy for you to create, test and deploy your app. So what are you waiting for?

UK and Aussie users are just the start, we'll continue to make the Actions on Google platform available in more languages over the coming year. If you have questions about internationalization, please reach out to us on Stackoverflowand Google+.

Introducing apps for the Aussie Google Assistant

Whether you’re planning a BBQ, mapping your travels or helping the kids with their homework, your Google Assistant is always ready to help. You can ask about your day or your commute, explore your favorite topics,  switch on appliances, and get answers to hundreds of small and big questions during your day. But to be truly successful, your Google Assistant should be able to connect you across the apps and services in your life. So starting today, developers and companies can build apps to engage with Aussies through Actions on Google, the developer platform for the Google Assistant. And as a user, you’ll be able to access more of your favourite services and content straight through your Google Assistant.

For anyone who wants to build for the Assistant, resources such as developer tools, documentation and a simulator are available on the Actions on Google developer website, making it easy to create, test and deploy apps. Developers can read more here.

Now that we’re making apps available, Aussies have easy and fast access to all types of apps. Once an app works with the Assistant, you can just tell your Assistant to connect you with the app with a simple voice command – whether it’s on Google Home, Pixel, Android phones or iPhones. And the best thing? You don’t need to install anything extra, we’ll connect you straight with the app you’d like to interact with.

Stay tuned as local Aussie apps rollout soon, and dive in today by trying one of the many apps already available. To explore the latter, just launch the Google Assistant on your phone or check out the Google Home app.

We hope that this growing platform will give more Aussies the help they need, at home or on-the-go – from the morning rush hour to the weekend unwind.  With our partners, we look forward to exploring and delivering these new possibilities for the Australian Google Assistant.

Posted by Brad Abrams, Group Product Manager, Google Assistant

A New Way To Discover Up-And-Coming YouTube Creators

More great videos are uploaded to YouTube today than ever before. New formats are being created and new stars and artists are being born every moment. With more than 1,000 creators crossing the 1,000 subscriber threshold every single day, new talent is constantly emerging. We want to celebrate these up-and-coming creators and help them build a bigger audience.

Starting today, we’ll highlight creators who are “On The Rise” in a new section of our Trending Tab in the Australia. Each week, one creator will be highlighted and featured for a full day on Trending with the following badge: Creator on the Rise.

Today we’re kicking off by celebrating rising comedy Creator Christian Hull, who started making hilarious on-the-money parody videos 3 years ago, quickly amassing a strong following of 19,000 fans on his channel. Our favourite is his take on the (often tedious) world of retail.

Any creator with over 1,000 subscribers is eligible to be featured. On The Rise creators will be highlighted based on a bunch of factors including viewcount, watchtime and subscriber growth. Our team is also involved in the process to help select which eligible creators will be featured.

One creator will be highlighted each week; we’ll let them know when they are featured so they can share the moment with their fans, old and new! We hope this will help the world discover inspirational new creators.

Posted by Daniel Stephenson, Content Partnerships Manager, YouTube Australia & New Zealand