Author Archives: anzprteam

Get a faster connection with Wi-Fi 6E on Nest Wifi Pro

Alt text: A white Nest WiFi Pro sits on a stack of white books on a white dresser. A piece of artwork, a lamp and a bowl also sit on top of the dresser.

There are days when our home’s Wi-Fi feels a bit crowded. One family member might be using it to take virtual meetings, while another streams their favourite show, and another downloads the latest game. And they all rely on a fast and reliable connection.

Our latest Wi-Fi system, Nest Wifi Pro, with Wi-Fi 6E technology is a new advanced mesh Wi-Fi system that helps make all those home connections faster, more reliable and simpler to manage.

Faster speeds for your entire home

So what exactly is Wi-Fi 6E? As its name — 6 “Extended” — suggests, it's a big upgrade from Wi-Fi 6. While Wi-Fi 6 was built on the same heavily congested radio bands used by Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6E uses an entirely new (and less crowded) 6 GHz radio band. Much like driving in the fast lane on the highway, the 6 GHz band provides a faster and more direct path to the most reliable internet connection.

As a result, 6E offers speeds up to two times faster than Wi-Fi 6. The first of our Wi-Fi routers to enable 6E, Nest Wifi Pro is set up to support the next generation of phones, laptops and other devices operating on more advanced technology. 

Nest Wifi Pro is built to constantly analyse your network performance and optimise your connection to keep it fast and avoid congestion. And it knows how to prioritise high-bandwidth activities like video calls and streaming.

Simple to use

It’s simple to set up your router using the Google Home app, which will show you easy step-by-step instructions to get your network up and running in minutes. The app is also the best place to monitor your network, whether you want to run speed tests, share your password or set up a guest network. 

To avoid those frustrating connectivity disruptions, Nest Wifi Pro proactively scans for and diagnoses connection issues and notifies you in the app with any steps you need to take. Using Google intelligence, it can even automatically fix common problems, like recovering a lost connection. 

And at no additional cost, you can better manage your kids’ connections. In the app’s Family Wi-Fi settings, you’ll find parental controls like Wi-Fi scheduling, which allows you to restrict Wi-Fi access during moments like bedtime or dinnertime, and simple ways to block unsafe content. 

Safe and secure out of the box

With so many connected devices, home networks can be susceptible to unauthorised downloads and router hacks. We built safety and security measures directly into Nest Wifi Pro, at no additional cost, to help protect your connection. For example, in the Google Home app, you can see every device that’s connected to your network to help you easily identify and pause any that might look suspicious. 

Automatic software updates also keep your Nest Wifi Pro running smoothly, helping protect your router and network from security threats. 

Foundation of your smart home

Designed with our many Wi-Fi needs in mind, each Nest Wifi Pro can accommodate nearly every connected device in a typical home. And it has the speed and capacity to handle several high-bandwidth activities at the same time, like taking video calls while watching 4K videos and streaming your security cameras. One router has the power to cover up to 2,200 square feet alone. 

Nest Wifi Pro also includes a built-in Thread border router so you can connect all your Thread smart devices to your home network — and save energy, thanks to Thread’s low power mesh. 

With Matter, the new smart home protocol, you'll be able to use your Nest Wifi Pro router as a Matter hub, too. It will control and connect to all your Matter-enabled devices, making it that much easier to manage and add devices to your smart home in the future.

Beautiful and sustainable design

Let’s face it, many Wi-Fi routers aren’t that attractive with their long antennae and blinking lights. Because of this, they’re often tucked away into a cabinet or closet, stifling their signal and performance. Nest Wifi Pro was built to fit in with your home, offering a beautiful high gloss finish inspired by ceramics. 

Colour was an important consideration when designing the Nest Wifi Pro. These devices are available in Snow, a soft cotton white that easily fits in with your other Nest products. 

We've also considered sustainability at many levels, from how the product is made to the materials we used to build it. It’s a sustainable home networking choice, built with over 60% recycled materials based on product weight.

Nest Wifi Pro retails at NZD$799.99 for a three pack, covering up to 600 metres squared. It’s also available at NZD$399.99 for a one pack to accommodate homes of all sizes. It will be available from October 12 online and in major retailers, JB Hifi, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming, PB Tech. 

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Introducing Fitbit Charge 6: Our most advanced tracker yet

Alt text: Video of men and women exercising and interacting while all wearing Charge 6.

Work out smarter and understand your body better with the new Fitbit Charge 6, available for pre-order today. (1)

Charge 6 helps you stay on track with your goals thanks to advanced health sensors that, combined with a new machine learning algorithm, bring you our most accurate heart rate tracking on a Fitbit tracker yet,(2) and the ability to connect to compatible gym equipment and fitness apps to see your real-time heart rate during workouts. Plus, it’s helpful when you’re on the go with its new haptic side button, 7 days of battery life (3), and the ability to do even more right from your wrist — like control YouTube music and use Google Maps and Wallet. 

Here’s a look at all the ways the Fitbit Charge 6 can take your health and fitness up a notch. 

Take a beat with improved heart rate tracking

Charge 6 debuts the most accurate heart rate on a Fitbit tracker yet, thanks to an improved machine learning algorithm that brings over innovation from the Pixel Watch and has been optimised for a tracker. Heart rate tracking during vigorous activities — like HIIT workouts, spinning and rowing — is up to 60% more accurate than before, giving you added confidence in your health stats.(4) Better heart rate accuracy means even more precise readings for you — from calories and Active Zone Minutes to your Daily Readiness Score (5) and Sleep Score. You can still assess your heart rhythm for atrial fibrillation on-wrist with the ECG app,(6) and get high and low heart rate notifications, keeping your beat in check at all times.

Alt text: Man fist bumps while running wearing the Charge 6 in Coral.

See your live heart-pumping progress and connect to fitness apps and machines

Connect your Charge 6 to compatible exercise apps and machines to stay motivated at home or at the gym. Easily and securely connect to compatible exercise equipment with encrypted Bluetooth — from partners like NordicTrack, Peloton and Concept2 (7) — to see your real-time heart rate displayed live during a workout. You can also connect to see your real-time heart rate within popular Android and iOS phone or tablet fitness apps such as Peloton. 

Alt text: Woman streams her real-time heart rate from Charge 6 in Coral to the screen of a stationary NordicTrack rower. 

Fuel your fitness routine with more ways to track workouts and stay motivated

With even more personalised ways to track and stay motivated during workouts, you’re sure to get your movement in. Choose from more than 40 exercise modes — including 20 new options like HIIT, strength training and snowboarding— to get important workout stats. Need to track an outdoor workout? Leave your compatible phone(8) at home thanks to Charge 6’s built-in GPS that allows you to easily track your distance. 

With YouTube Music controls (9) (10) on Charge 6, you can be the DJ of your workouts as you start, stop and skip over 100 million songs right from your wrist. When you want to change things up, YouTube Music Premium can also recommend workout mixes based on your exercise.

Alt text: Woman in a wheelchair plays pickleball while wearing Charge 6 with a sport band.

Bring the helpful tools you need, on-the-go

For the first time, we’re bringing helpful Google tools(11) to a tracker. Charge 6 will have Google Maps and Google Wallet, making it convenient to go from workouts to errands and everywhere in between. Navigate on the go using Google Maps to get turn-by-turn directions right on your wrist, or grab a post-workout snack using Google Wallet to make contactless payments. With just the right smarts you need for your daily routine, it’s never been easier to explore a new running route and quickly tap to pay for a recovery smoothie on the way home. 

Charge 6 also features our first Accessibility feature on a Fitbit device with Zoom + Magnification. With just a couple of taps anywhere on the screen, you can magnify on-screen words if it’s difficult to read small text or you prefer a larger font. 

Alt text: Biker pays for a snack using Google Wallet on Charge 6 in Coral. 

Make sense of your wellbeing

Charge 6 health and wellness features are built from Fitbit’s advanced sensors that power in-depth insights. Here are some of the ways it helps you keep tabs on your health:

  • Wake up to your Sleep Score each morning to assess how well you slept based on the time you’re in different sleep stages, your heart rate while sleeping, how restless you were and more. 

  • Manage your stress with an electrodermal activity (EDA) scan to measure your body’s physical responses in the moment and get actionable guidance on how to manage your stress. Check your Stress Management Score to see how well your body is handling stress and make a plan for the day. 

  • Access other health metrics like blood oxygen saturation (SpO2),(12) heart rate variability, breathing rate and more. 

  • With six months of Fitbit Premium (13) included, you can access thousands of workout sessions like HIIT, cycling, dance cardio and more, as well as a range of mindfulness sessions.

  • The all-new Fitbit app helps you focus on your goals and understand the metrics that matter to you like Daily Readiness Score, a Premium feature that helps you understand your body’s readiness to tackle a tough workout or take a day to recover, with daily activity recommendations based on your score.  

Alt text: Daily Readiness Score in the newly redesigned Fitbit app. 

Ready to get that Fitbit feeling? Beginning today, you can pre-order Charge 6 online for $289.95 at the Google Store, or major retailers. Available from October 12th.  It comes in three colour options: Obsidian, Porcelain and Coral. There are also new accessories to fit your style for any occasion available on — whether you’re getting the new Charge 6 or want to freshen up another Fitbit device. Check out the Ocean woven band and Hazel sport band for Charge 6 and Charge 5; a Desert Tan leather and Ocean woven sport band for Fitbit smartwatches; and translucent bands and a matte black stainless steel mesh band for Inspire 3.

Alt text: New Ocean woven band; New Hazel sport band for Charge 5 and Charge 6

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 Fitbit Charge 6 works with most phones running Android 9.0 or newer or iOS 15 or newer and requires a Google Account and internet access. Some features require a Fitbit mobile app and/or a paid subscription. See for more information. 
(2)  Compared to other Fitbit fitness trackers as of Fall 2023. Does not include Pixel or Fitbit smartwatches. Performance of heart rate tracking may be affected by physiology, location of device and your movements and activity.
(3)  Average battery life is approximate and is based on testing conducted in California in mid 2023 on pre-production hardware and software, using default settings with a median Fitbit user battery usage profile across a mix of data, standby, and use of other features. Battery life depends on features enabled, usage, environment and many other factors. Use of certain features will decrease battery life. Actual battery life may be lower. 
(4)  Compared to Charge 5. Based on 90th percentile BPM errors from 2023 testing of individuals engaged in HIIT, spinning and rowing using pre-production Charge 6 and Charge 5. Percentage improvement does not relate to other exercises.
(5)  Daily Readiness Score requires a Fitbit Premium membership. Premium content recommendations are not available in all locales and may be in English only.
(6)  The Fitbit ECG app is only available in select countries. Not intended for use by people under 22 years old. See for additional details.
(7)  Compatible with select workout machines that support the Bluetooth Heart Rate Profile, and coming soon to more. See here for more information on Charge 6-compatible machines.
(8)  Fitbit Charge 6 works with most phones running Android 9.0 or newer or iOS 15 or newer and requires a Google Account and internet access. Some features require a Fitbit mobile app and/or a paid subscription. See for more information.
(9)  YouTube Music controls require a compatible phone within Bluetooth range and a paid YouTube Music Premium subscription. Data rates may apply. 
(10) YouTube Music controls requires a paid YouTube Music Premium subscription. Try a 1-month free trial to unlock more of the YouTube love. Terms apply.
(11)  Google apps and services require a compatible phone within Bluetooth range of your Fitbit device and are not available in all countries or languages. Data rates may apply.
(12)  Not available in all countries. The SpO2 feature is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition or for any other medical purpose. It is intended to help you manage your well-being and keep track of your information. This feature requires more frequent charging.
(13)  With eligible device purchase. New and returning Premium members only. Must activate membership within 60 days of device activation. Valid form of payment required. $9.99/month after expiration of 6-month membership. Cancel anytime. Membership cannot be gifted. Content and features may change. See for more details.

Supporting young indigenous journalists through the Te Rito Journalism Training Camp

Image: Te Rito cadets engaging in a korero during the training camp.

Indigenous people are the first storytellers of any land - from Waitangi to Rakiura Stewart Island. It’s important that their stories are told to nurture communities and tell histories. This is critical too in our news ecosystem. Which is why Te Rito Journalism Project was set up to help address today’s shortage of Māori and Pasifika journalists and cultural awareness in newsrooms.

For the second year, the Google News Initiative has supported Te Rito with a digital skills training camp for its cadets, to bring the rich history of indigenous storytelling into the smartphones, laptops and desktops of news audiences across Aotearoa and beyond.

In August last year, we hosted the first Te Rito Journalism Training Camp which saw 23 cadets representing multiple ethnicities, languages, and the rainbow and disability communities from all over the motu participate in training focused on digital skilling and fundamental principles of digital tools and reporting. 

This year, for the first time Te Rito included young Indigenous journalists from Australia, supporting critical First Nation storytelling.

Across four days, 24 cadets identifying as First Nations, Māori or Pasifika learnt fundamentals in indigenous journalism. A News Lab Teaching Fellow taught skills in recognising and verifying fake images or information, engaging audiences through digital storytelling and First Nation editors led sessions in Indigenous storytelling and building resilience -including to raise issues of conflict when they arise and deal with trauma.  They were also trained on Pinpoint, a research tool from Google powered by AI, that can analyse large numbers of documents.

Image: Te Rito cadets participated in training on digital skills and storytelling.

Te Rito was established by New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME), Whakaata Māori, Warner Bros. Discovery ANZ and the Pacific Media Network, with support from NZ On Air's Public Interest Journalism Fund.

News is dependent on the people that tell the stories. The journalism and broadcast industry will have much to gain from voices across diverse backgrounds that are representative of all communities in Aotearoa and Australia.

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Supporting the 2023 New Zealand General Election

Image: Google Doodle for Election Day

Come October 2023, New Zealanders will take to the polls to vote in the General Election to decide who we want to represent us and our communities in Parliament. 

To support the democratic process, Google is bringing more openness to election advertising online, and helping connect people to useful and relevant election-related information. Here is how we will be providing support:

Helping voters find the information they need

In the build-up to elections, people need helpful and authoritative information to help them navigate the electoral process. For the New Zealand election in 2023, we will make electoral information from the Election Commission and other authoritative sources - such as how to vote and where to vote - easily discoverable on Search and YouTube.

Google News Lab will continue to publish the latest Search Trends related to the Election, across politicians, policies and parties, to support newsrooms with their coverage of the election period. In addition to the bespoke microsite, News Lab will be issuing weekly Trends Alerts from the beginning of September to highlight the areas that Kiwis are interested in, which anyone can sign up for here

Helping people better understand the election advertising they see

Google’s goal has always been to support election integrity by providing transparency into the political advertising spend on our platforms. For the second time during our local General Election a publicly accessible Transparency Report is live, showing election ads run by verified advertisers. Our goal is to make this information as accessible and useful as possible to citizens, practitioners, and researchers. We're working with political parties to help them understand digital best practices and will be sharing Google's ads policies with parties and candidates.

On YouTube, we have expanded information panels giving topical context in New Zealand and across the region. Now, when Kiwis search videos on certain topics prone to misinformation, they’ll see an information panel at the top of their search results or under a video they’re watching which includes links to additional info and context from authoritative third-party sources.

Helping to build media literacy with the Google News Initiative 

We help voters find reliable, useful election-related information online and we also work hard to prevent election interference by being on the front foot and educating stakeholders on how to spot disinformation through media literacy programmes.

As part of our ongoing commitment to the New Zealand media industry we partnered with CrossCheck at RMIT FactLab to launch RMIT Fact Lab Workshops. These immersive and interactive trainings help newsrooms and community media learn skills to analyse online information during the Election period.

In addition, we have partnered with Squiz Kids, a daily news podcast for school children, designed to teach students how to recognize online fact from fiction through a plug-and-play teaching resource. 

Our mission is to make the world’s information accessible and useful, and during this election period, we want to surface the facts and help audiences get more context on information they find online. We will continue to invest in initiatives that build further on our commitment towards election transparency, and we are grateful for our partners, and the work we do together in this space. 

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Google Cloud Signs All-of-Government Cloud Framework Agreement with New Zealand Government

Cloud technology plays a critical role in solving complex problems for Aotearoa — across both national and local levels and today, I’m pleased to share that Google Cloud has signed an All-of-Government Cloud Framework Agreement with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), to accelerate public sector cloud adoption to deliver improved digital experiences for Kiwis.

Simply put, this means that eligible government agencies will have standardised and simplified access to our technology and services so they can modernise their legacy systems and build new applications that serve New Zealanders quickly and securely. 

The agreement covers Google Cloud Platform (GCP) including data and analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) tools, Google Workspace, as well as professional cloud services and Security Operations Services (SecOps). 

The Framework Agreement builds on Google Cloud’s deep investment in New Zealand. Last year, Google Cloud announced plans for its first ever cloud region in New Zealand, offering resiliency, low-latency connectivity, and scalability to Kiwi customers. According to a recent Economic Impact Report by Access Partnership, the new Google Cloud region will support the country’s economic growth, with a predicted NZD$4.2 billion in productivity benefits being generated between 2025 and 2030. 

Google has been supporting New Zealand businesses and communities since 2007. With government initiatives such as the Google in Schools Agreement, Google Cloud has worked with the Ministry of Education to provide schools using Google solutions, with digital tools that support safe modern digital learning environments. Google is also part of the Digital Boost Alliance with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), offering digital training and expertise to support the digitisation of small businesses. 

We’re committed to working closely with the New Zealand Government to provide secure and sustainable solutions to all Kiwis. This government agreement is a welcome addition to Google Cloud's rapidly growing presence in New Zealand's Enterprise, Education and SME sectors and we are aware that security of data and the digitisation of government are critical to building trust in the public sector. 

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Google’s $16.5 billion impact in Aotearoa: Supporting New Zealand’s digital future

Today, I’m proud to launch Google’s 2022 Economic Impact Report

The report by Access Partnership investigates how digital technologies can help New Zealand tackle two critical national challenges: the growing digital skills gap and the increasing risk of natural disasters. By addressing these we can build our resilience and gain up to $18 billion in 2030*.

The report also looks at the ways Google is supporting New Zealand households and businesses into the digital future — to the tune of $16.5 billion worth of economic benefits in 2022.

Using digital technologies to solve critical national challenges 

The research by Access Partnership looked at two critical challenges: the digital skills shortages in our labour market, and the risk of natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. 

It found that:

  • Better using digital technologies to solve critical challenges can help New Zealand gain up to $18.2 billion in 2030. This includes:

  1. Improving New Zealand’s digital competitiveness could unlock $8.4 billion of additional  Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2030 through improved labour productivity. For example:

    • By streamlining the job search process through online job portals, upskilling workers through online digital skills training, and applying artificial intelligence (AI) on resume optimisation or insights on industry hiring and salary trends.

  2. Helping New Zealand manage the impacts of natural disasters could eliminate $9.8 billion in property damage in 2030. This includes:

    • Three key technologies include remote sensing, geospatial data analytics and satellite communication which can ensure better disaster preparedness and quicker response efforts.

Google is helping New Zealand’s resilience through community engagement, funding and partnerships. To provide digital skills and knowledge to New Zealand’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Google has played an active role in the MBIE’s ‘Digital Boost Alliance,’ including the development of a free tool Checkable, which is built on Google Cloud, and helps SMEs understand and improve their digital presence. 

Google’s economic impact in New Zealand

Google has been on the ground in New Zealand for over 15 years and has a team in both Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and Pōneke Wellington across Cloud, Engineering, Education and Client Partnerships. 

Our digital tools like Google Ads and YouTube help support an additional 39,600 local jobs in 2022. For example, app developers use Google Play to generate revenue that supports a wide range of jobs including engineers, graphic designers and marketers. And over one in four New Zealand YouTube users say they use the platform to learn advanced digital skills, like software programming, AI and website development.

Through products and services including Google Search, Ads, AdSense, Play, YouTube, and Cloud, New Zealand businesses gained $10.9 billion worth of economic value in 2022. Of this value, over half (52%) went to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) - a total $5.7 billion. These products help businesses expand and grow revenue in domestic and international markets, and work more efficiently while strengthening resilience against economic shocks. In addition, Kiwi employees using Google Workspace each gain 18 days of time savings annually. This includes time saved by accessing, storing and sharing online documents for work, and from reduced meetings and more efficient collaborations. 

This includes the University of Canterbury which was struggling to attract international students when borders reopened post-pandemic. The Faculty of Science adopted a test and learn approach, and rolled out a full-funnel digital ads strategy across 40 countries, in the hope of generating enquiries, and ultimately applications, from international students. The campaign resulted in 58,000 new enquiries — a 10x return on export investment from their spend on Google Ads.

Many New Zealand businesses choose to partner with Google Cloud to support their digital transformation journey, providing them with an easy-to-use and always-on service that keeps them running smoothly and maximises efficiency and productivity. We recently announced plans to bring a Google Cloud region to Aotearoa, with an AccessPartnership study** finding:

  • $4.2 billion in productivity benefits will be generated via the new Google Cloud region between 2025 and 2030; 

  • 9,700 equivalent full-time jobs like cloud engineers and data scientists will be created through the Google Cloud region in 2030 alone;  and

  • 78% improvement in energy efficiency*** could be achieved through the migration of on-premise data centres to cloud, enabling organisations to reduce energy consumption and associated emissions.

The Google Cloud region’s reliable, low-latency connectivity, as well as the highest security and compliance standards will help advance areas like New Zealand’s healthcare systems and scientific research through scalable, on-demand access to solutions.

Helping Kiwis save time and access important information

Many of our helpful products have become an important part of the everyday lives of millions of Kiwis. Through the use of Google's products, which include Google Search, Maps, Play, YouTube, Drive, Photos, Slides, Docs, and Sheets, in 2022, New Zealand households enjoy $5.6 billion worth of economic benefits — which represents the average New Zealand Internet user receiving $1,167 of value annually as a result of easier access to information, increased productivity and a variety of entertainment and enrichment benefits.

Digital technologies have played a vital role in supporting New Zealand’s resilience through the environment, economic shocks and other emerging challenges. This report shows us they will be critical to helping us better predict and respond to future challenges — and in achieving our potential. Google is committed to working alongside people, businesses and community to create a strong and inclusive digital future for all New Zealanders.

You can read more about the findings here.

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The labour productivity gains from digital skilling are measured in value-added terms, while the property damages avoided from natural disasters are measured in terms of cost savings.

**Access Partnership (2022), “Lifting Productivity: Google Cloud Regions”. Available at:

***Note: This finding refers to benefits from cloud-based solutions in general, and is not specific to Google Cloud. 

Training Kiwi journalists to spot misinformation ahead of the New Zealand General Election

Ahead of elections, misinformation can ramp up leading to confusion and an erosion of people’s trust in the democratic process. With Kiwis taking to the polls this October, and a wide range of sources readily available online, it’s crucial that those who write the news have the tools to evaluate and ascertain quality information from misinformation.

That’s why, as part of our ongoing commitment to the New Zealand media industry, we’ve partnered with CrossCheck at RMIT FactLab to launch immersive and interactive training events that help newsrooms and community media learn skills to analyse online information during the Election period. 

In preparation for the election period, journalists participate in live simulations at the heart of a high-intensity breaking-news story, challenging them to make reporting decisions in real time. This includes a bespoke reflection that involves discussion and reflection on the various scenarios developed for all training sessions, and masterclass in information disorder and responsible reporting. 

Caption: The first virtual training session held in March with participants from the Spinoff to Pacific Media and students from AUT

In the 60-minute online training, participants debate ideas and simulate real life situations journalists may face, such as delving into case studies to understand some of the ethical boundaries on social media reporting. Participants found one of the biggest challenges for journalists was the 'tipping point' - when to report on information while considering whether or not amplification will do further harm.

We know that it’s better to address misconceptions before they spread, which is why the simulation brought to life examples of how to prebunk, as opposed to just debunk, information. 

Shanti Mathias, staff writer at The Spinoff shared her reflections post-training: ”I really appreciated the simulation and felt that it was quite a well researched scenario on the whole...overall the reminder to be thoughtful about information that I encounter as a journalist was a really valuable one.”

AUT Journalism Associate Professor Helen Sissons said the experience was a fantastic training tool, and students were "all smiles" and still talking about the simulation in classes. She also mentioned that the students enjoyed the hands-on practical and interactive nature of the exercises.

In the coming months, more simulation and training sessions will be conducted with top tier national and regional mastheads. There will also be additional training scenarios with te reo Māori experts and Chinese speakers to deliver simulations relevant to language groups. 

To further advance New Zealanders ability to identify misinformation, the Google News Initiative supports a range of other projects including Newshounds by Squiz Kids, a media literacy teaching resource which teaches children what information sources they should (and shouldn’t) trust, and Policy who run a tool for journalists that provides a database for candidates’ key election policies, supporting their ability to track misinformation. 

We look forward to continuing to work with news partners to ensure communities have access to quality information in an effort to ensure Kiwis continue to find quality information and journalism in critical moments that matter.

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Helping more people stay safe with flood forecasting

Caption: Google Flood Hub shown on a mobile device

Since early 2023, New Zealanders have faced extreme weather events unlike anything we’ve seen before. Historic flooding and cyclones have ripped through communities, and while natural disasters are common here - causing an average of NZ$790 million in damages each year - they’re unfortunately increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change, threatening people’s safety and livelihood. Globally, it’s estimated that flooding affects over 250 million people each year.

As part of our work to use AI to address the climate crisis, we’re expanding our flood forecasting capabilities to 80 countries, including here in New Zealand. With the addition of 60 new countries across Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, and South and Central America, our platform Flood Hub now includes some of the regions with the highest percentages of population exposed to flood risk and experiencing more extreme weather, covering 460 million people globally. 


Governments, aid organisations, and individuals can use Flood Hub to take timely action and prepare for floods, seeing locally relevant flood data and flood forecasts up to 7 days in advance — an increase from last year, when information was only available 48 hours in advance.  

Flood Hub’s AI is based on diverse, publicly-available data sources, such as weather forecasts and satellite imagery. The technology then combines two models: the Hydrologic Model, which forecasts the amount of water flowing in a river, and the Inundation Model, which predicts what areas are going to be affected and how deep the water will be.

Caption: Image shows the Hydrological and Inundation Models

We’re working to expand flood forecasting alerts in Search and Maps to make this information available to people when they need it the most.

Using AI to help people prepare for flooding

In 2018, we kicked-off flood forecasting in India and expanded to Bangladesh to help combat the catastrophic damage from yearly floods. Due to advances in our global AI and machine learning forecasting models, in 2022 we further rolled out our technology to 18 more countries, paving the way for today’s global expansion.

Flood Hub is part of our Crisis Response work to provide people access to trusted information and resources in critical moments. For over a decade, we have been partnering with front line and emergency workers to develop technology and programs that help keep people safe, informed and out of harm’s way. 

In addition, to support communities that have been impacted by the flooding and cyclones in New Zealand this year, through our giving campaign, which combines Google employee donations with a grant, we raised over NZ$200k total, for The Center for Disaster Philanthropy to support on the ground recovery.

As we continue improving our AI-based global models for flood forecasting, we will keep supporting at-risk communities with technology to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Google Play Games beta open to all players in New Zealand

Caption:  Google Play Games available on PC with seamless sync across signed-in devices
Subject to game availability and PC compatibility.

This year, at the Google for Games Developer Summit, we announced that Google Play Games beta would soon be expanding to additional global regions. Our goal with this beta experience has been to gather early feedback so we can continue improving the product to fit the needs of players and developers around the world. Over the past months, we have added multiple features and lowered the minimum PC spec requirements to make GPG more widely available. Starting today, we’re excited to announce that Google Play Games beta will be rolling out to all players in New Zealand (subject to device and account eligibility; see help centre for full list of country availability).

Caption: Google Play Games is available to download in New Zealand. *Subject to game availability and PC compatibility.

Over the past few months, our Google Play Games catalog growth has been accelerating with the addition of many popular mobile games. We’re particularly excited to announce the GPG launch of titles from globally acclaimed developers such as Gardenscapes, Evony: The King’s Return, and Lords Mobile – these games and dozens more are available to play in New Zealand.

Our broader goal continues to be meeting players where they are and giving them access to their games on as many devices as possible. Players participating in the beta have expressed excitement at being able to seamlessly play their favorite games across their phones, tablets, Chromebooks and PCs. Additionally, since launching last year we have made significant strides to reach even more players by reducing the minimum spec requirements to PCs running Windows 10+ with an integrated graphics card and 4+ core CPU. 

We’re thrilled to expand our platform to more markets for players to enjoy their favorite games on Google Play. As we move towards a full release, we will continue to add new features and evaluate developer and player feedback. To sign up for future announcements, or to access the beta version, please go to If you’re an Android games developer looking to learn more about Google Play Games, please express interest on our developer site. We’ll have more to share on future beta releases and regional availability soon.

Windows is a trademark of the Microsoft group of companies.
Game titles may vary by region.

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Professional Development Grants to Promote Diversity in STEM Education

Image caption: Guests are guided through Te Kōhangu Museum of Waitangi

To meet future economic demands, New Zealand needs to produce more science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates than ever before. Those with STEM qualifications are the developers of new technologies, they’re problem solvers and they’re creating jobs that have never before existed. It’s important that everyone in Aotearoa has the opportunity to engage with STEM and be a part of our digital future.

Building a diverse workforce starts with our schools and teachers and, unfortunately, not all schools have the same opportunities. Monika Kern from the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is looking forward to giving teachers in the Far North access to quality Professional Development (PD) this year. “The Far North District is full of beautiful people and places, but access to professional development opportunities can be limited due to the distance from major cities. We look forward to providing learning and development for our local teachers in our local area, grounded in our local stories.” 

Image caption: Guests at Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi learn through the waka interactive touch screen.

With the newly gazetted Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum content, educators at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds recognise their critical role in upskilling teachers to implement this content. By offering teachers workshops in the digi-lab, focused on exploring new digital tools that teachers can apply to their own unique learning contexts, Monika hopes that “this will allow our local tamariki and rangatahi to experience similar opportunities as their city counterparts.”

Educators will learn through exploring new digital tools and applying these technologies to the teaching of big ideas, contexts and practices. For example, learning about Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the museum, guided by facilitators, to understand how to connect student learning to local and national historical contexts. 

Over the past decade, more than 20,000 have benefited from Google’s Educator Professional Development Grants program across Australia and New Zealand. The program is focused on providing regional teachers and those from low-socioeconomic schools with the opportunity to engage with Digital Technologies PD. 

We’re excited to announce the 2023 grant recipients for New Zealand:

We are excited to work with these partners on their 2023 PD workshops and look forward to seeing the important impact they will have in their communities. 

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