Tag Archives: Australia

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

A billion reasons to celebrate music on YouTube

Last year was a bright one for music—after several tough years of declining revenues, the industry started growing again, spurred in large part by the growth of music streaming subscriptions. This year, the industry has even more reasons to be optimistic. Even as music subscriptions have been growing faster than any other subscription type, advertising is another powerful driver of revenue. In fact, in the last 12 months, YouTube has paid out over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone, demonstrating that multiple experiences and models are succeeding alongside each other.

And this is just the beginning. As more advertising dollars shift from TV, radio and print to online services, the music industry will generate even more revenue from ads. In the future, the music business has an opportunity to look a lot like television, where subscriptions and advertising contribute roughly equal amounts of revenue, bolstered by digital and physical sales. To achieve this, there is a lot of work that must be done by YouTube and the industry as a whole, but we are excited to see the momentum.

At a time when there’s never been more competition for attention, fans can’t get enough good music. It is clear that this creative industry has two strong engines of growth -- subscriptions and advertising -- and we are honored to be a part of it.

Robert Kyncl, Chief Business Officer, recently watched "The Hamilton Mixtape Performance Live Stream." 

#YouTubeRewind: Celebrating what you watched, shared and created in 2016

Aussies went crazy for Sia, stormtroopers and Superwog in 2016.

2016 was a year of challenge and triumph. You broke records, you caught ‘em all – and you celebrated “The Aussiest Interview Ever.” Now 2016 is coming to an end, you know what that means…. It’s time for  #YouTubeRewind!

Australia's Top Trending Videos 

As we look back at 2016, we replay and rejoice in the trending videos and music videos from 2016, according to time spent watching, sharing, commenting, liking and more. From celebrity moments to breakdancing stormtroopers to Superwog’s skits, this year’s top trending videos are a quirky mix of song, dance and laughs – representing the amazing variety of creativity shared on YouTube every day.

James Corden's Carpool Karaoke series was the number one hit for Aussies in 2016, winning four spots in the top ten trending videos. Women took the front seat, from JLo to Adele, Sia and First Lady Michelle.

We also played with Play-Doh, shared Superwog and tuned in to Triple J.

The channels who made these videos have more than 30M subscribers who tune in regularly to watch the funny, insightful, entertaining things they create.

Australia's Top Music Videos 

Aussies were hooked on The Chainsmokers in 2016, with the anthem “Closer” landing the year’s top music video, and "Don't Let Me Down" (Ft. Daya) in ninth place. It’s fair to say that 2016 was a year of  "work work work work work," with Fifth Harmony and Rihanna taking charge in the charts. This year, Aussies watched the top 10 music videos over 70M times.

With Aussie-born artists Sia, Superwog and Twenty One Pilots landing the leaderboards, 2016 was a time to shine for Aussie homegrown creative talent.

Soon we’ll be releasing YouTube’s global list and YouTube’s Rewind video celebrating the top memes and moments of the year from around the world – so stay tuned!  

Kevin Allocca, Head of Culture & Trends, and the YouTube Rewind team

Share some good, stop the hate

Australia is such a diverse country—but are we inclusive? Do we have a 'casual racism' problem? Are we a nation tolerant of hate?
These are confronting questions, but it’s important that we ask them. So YouTube has joined up with Vice and the Foundation for Young Australians to launch sharesomegood.org, a campaign aimed at helping people to understand what hate speech is, to know what to do when they see it, and how to counter it with positive messages.
Our first task was to understand what people think, and so Vice traveled around Australia asking young people whether they think Australia is inclusive.
Not everyone uses the internet with positive intent. And with Australians spending more time using the Internet to connect, communicate and consume content, there is greater potential for negative messages to spread quickly.
Such online threats, degrading comments, and digital harassment — when based on a person’s race, nationality, sexual orientation/gender identity, gender, or religion — are forms of hate speech, and are unfortunately becoming a large part of our online experience.
There is no universally accepted definition of hate speech. It can differ by country, online platform or organisation with some applying a broad catch-all definition, while others apply a narrower definition; here’s how YouTube defines it.
It’s easy to spread hate speech online because people don’t have to reveal their true identity. But even out in the open some people see the internet as a place where usual social norms no longer apply - a place where insulting and offensive comments can go unchecked and do no harm in the real world.
But those messages are harmful, and they hurt real people.
So, what can you do? Plenty! Go to sharesomegood.org to learn how to drown out the hate by amplifying your voice and create videos and stories that show what you are for, not what you are against.
Share stories that promote and celebrate diversity and inclusion, educate people about minority groups or hate speech targets, and present minority groups in a positive way and challenge stereotypes. Start by using the resources available to educate yourself, think of a creative way of telling your story and then get producing! There’s a useful toolkit that will help you along the way.
Good luck creating your videos, telling your positive stories sharing some good - and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ShareSomeGood on YouTube so we can see and celebrate your great work!

Introducing Australia’s Regional Online Heroes

From a regional business selling frozen rose petals, to an online personal-training business using farm equipment, to an innovative agricultural software company…. this year’s Regional Online Heroes finalists are leading the way in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Last month we announced ten outstanding finalists who are using the internet to innovate and grow their business in regional Australia: Blackbooks Tea, Local Farm Produce, Off The Track Training and AgData from Queensland; Corporeal Health from WA; George The Farmer from SA; Crowd Carnivore, Penny Evans Art and Rabbit Hop Films from NSW; and Simply Rose Petals from Victoria.

Yesterday, these Regional Online Heroes travelled to Sydney for an exclusive masterclass at the Google office, where they had the chance to share their stories and develop new skills.

We were joined our esteemed competition judges, including: The Hon Michael McCormack MP, Minister for Small Business; Jack Archer, CEO of the Regional Australia Institute; and small business leaders Jane Cay, Founder of Birdsnest, and Robert Ravens, Managing Director of Bridestowe Lavender Estate. These business leaders shared their experiences and joined our regional heroes for a celebratory dinner.

Minister for Small Business, the Hon Michael McCormack MP was delighted to announce the winning Regional Online Hero - AGDATA Australia, a leading AgTech company based in Toowoomba, Queensland. AGDATA has grown from a small family startup to a valuable national business providing a digital platform to boost agricultural production.

With 20 employees and more than 22,000 customers, Minister McCormack said AGDATA is a great example of how businesses can succeed in regional Australia.

We know that digitally engaged small businesses are more likely to be growing (Deloitte research), which is why these Regional Online Heroes are so important for jobs and local communities.

More than 150 businesses from across Australia applied, with fantastic examples of how the internet is helping their business grow and prosper. For more information about this year’s Regional Online Heroes check out the website.

Congratulations again to our amazing finalists and winner - we look forward to seeing what they do next!

Announcing Google Play’s “Best of 2016”

A Big Year for Dance Music in Australia

As the year draws to close and summer is officially here, we’re thrilled to announce Google Play’s most popular apps, games and music in 2016.

In Australia, Meghan Trainor’s “Mee Too”, followed by Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” were the most streamed songs of the year. All in all, 2016 was a big year for dance and electronic music in Australia, with a third of the top 100 most streamed songs falling under the genre, on par with Pop for the first time.

Top 10 Streamed Songs of 2016 in Australia 

Globally, Twenty One Pilots have no need to feel “Stressed Out” with their single coming in as the number one most streamed song of the year.  In case you missed any of 2016’s biggest hits, we’ve our top five global lists for each category to help you sort through the most popular content of the year. For complete local lists, visit Google Play.

Google Play's Global Best of 2016 Lists



  1. Stressed Out, Twenty One Pilots
  2. Sorry, Justin Bieber

Posted by Kara Bailey, Director of Merchandising, Google Play  

Opening the doors to The Digital Garage in Western Sydney

It may not look like your ordinary garage but it’s a place to learn, build and explore… Google and the NSW Business Chamber teamed up to take The Digital Garage on the road to Western Sydney last week. The Digital Garage is an online training platform for small business to learn the digital skills they need to make the most of the web.

The Digital Garage workshop in Pemulwuy on Friday 25 November gave more than 50 local small business owners the chance to learn how they can use online tools to help grow their business.

We know businesses thrive when they embrace technology. Deloitte research found small businesses that make the most of the web are 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue and 8 times more likely to be creating jobs. That’s good news for everyone!

Participants had the chance to hear from digital experts and ask questions about digital engagement. Local business owner, Tony Rahme, owner of Greenery Imports spoke about how he used online advertising to become one of the largest sellers of artificial plants across Australia and Raymen Sri from local Google Partner agency Clixpert shared how professional web agencies can help time poor business owners make the most of the web.

We were joined by the local Member for McMahon, Chris Bowen MP, who spoke about the importance of small businesses in his electorate and the opportunities presented by digital technology, along with David Borger, Western Sydney Director of the Sydney Business Chamber.

The Digital Garage will be visiting more locations around Australia in 2017, so stay tuned for events near you! In the meantime you can check out the online training, anywhere and anytime.