Author Archives: Team

Connecting shoppers and merchants online with Google Shopping

Here’s a stat that might not surprise some moms and dads out there:  Canadian searches for “best backpack” have grown by 13% since this time last year. With the first day of school only days away, searches are surging for the latest fashion, tech and school supplies. Almost half (49%) of Canadians use the Internet to compare products, prices or features to help make purchase decisions. We know that this type of research can take time, so we want to help streamline the process for Canadian shoppers.

Just in time for back to school, we’re rolling out Google Shopping in Canada — a dedicated product search and discovery destination — to make it easy for shoppers to discover products and explore merchant offers in one place.

Canadians searching for products on will continue to see Shopping ads in the same way they always have. They will also now be able to visit Google Shopping to see more products and refine their Shopping search by things like price, brand, color, and more, offering retailers additional opportunities to get their products in front of the people looking for them.  So if you’re searching for backpacks for your child who is about to start preschool, you can find exactly the one you’re looking for —  and easily connect with a merchant who sells it.

For businesses currently running Shopping ads, these offers will automatically begin showing on Google Shopping in addition to Google Search.

Helping Shoppers Discover and Explore

We've always been focused on helping people find the exact product they're searching for when they have a good sense of what they want. But everyday we see searches for broad terms like “living room furniture.” For less defined searches, what we've often shown are specific product ads -- say, a teal sofa -- and that may not be the most useful experience for the person who isn't sure what they want to buy.

Showcase Shopping ads help people further explore and discover what they want to buy and where they want to buy it. For example, if a shopper looking for something to wear to a end of summer party searches ‘summer dresses,’ ASOS, a global apparel retailer, can now showcase its collection of dresses in a visually rich experience. All merchants running Shopping Campaigns in Canada will be eligible to have their products automatically appear in Showcase ads in the coming weeks. And for merchants who would like to customize how their brand and products appear, we're experimenting with a premium version that allows merchants to curate the experience.

Enabling Shopping Across Borders

These days, shopping is truly global. To make shopping more efficient for shoppers and merchants alike, we’ve introduced a tool to perform currency conversions in various countries, including Canada. This feature allows shoppers to see products sold by merchants in other countries in their local currency. Shoppers can easily understand how much an item will cost, and merchants can continue using their existing website and landing pages without change. For example, a person shopping in the Canada can see products sold by a British retailer, listed in Canadian dollars.

To learn more about how to get started with Shopping ads, visit our Help Center.

Posted by Aaron Berger, Product Manager for Google Shopping

Welcome to Toronto’s #DigitalMainStreet

Toronto’s well-known neighbourhoods are teeming with energy and life, boasting an eclectic mix of shopping, culture and food that have put the city on the map. And, as the digital world changes the way consumers make decisions and purchases, the city’s businesses are adapting to optimize the potential of going online. This transition, however, poses a challenge for many small enterprises as they often aren’t sure how to get started.

That’s why we have partnered with the City of Toronto to launch Digital Main Street, a program that will help 40,000 Toronto businesses adopt the digital tools and technologies to help them grow.  Digital Main Street is a platform that is free for main street businesses to join, helping them navigate the often confusing and overwhelming online universe by acting as a guide to all things digital.

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Over the next few months we’ll be working with the city to offer programming that will help businesses amplify their online presence and reach more consumers from Canada and around the world. In fact, we started earlier this month with BIAcadamy, hosting 47 business improvement areas (BIA) at Google Canada and providing training so they can help businesses in their neighbourhoods get online and grow globally with Google tools, like Adwords, AdWords Express and Google My Business.

Last year, over half of the trillions of Google searches conducted globally happened on smartphones, and critical to the success of Toronto’s main street businesses will be capitalizing on this move to mobile.  As part of the Digital Main Street program, we’re arming Toronto businesses with digital tools that will help them get in front of potential customers during key moments when they are searching for products and services close to home. Canadian search interest in “near me” has increased by 400% year-over-year. We know that these searches lead to sales. In fact, 74% of shopping conversions occur within one hour of the initial search.1 There’s unlimited potential for small businesses to take advantage of mobile tools to be present during these moments.

As a former startup ourselves, Google has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation. We’re proud to be part of the Digital Main Street team and look forward to supporting Canadian entrepreneurs and helping our businesses grow.

Posted by Sam Sebastian, Managing Director, Google Canada

1 Google Canada Nielsen Mobile Search Moments, 2016

Deadline for Google Community Grants is fast approaching!

It’s that time of year again!!!  The deadline to apply for Google Community Grants is one month away. Google Canada is looking for innovative non-profits in Toronto, Montreal or Kitchener-Waterloo who are pushing the needle in the following areas:

  • Delivering or promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or Computer Science (CS) Education for K-12 students, especially among underserved communities (at-risk youth, New Canadians, girls, Aboriginals and youth from low-socioeconomic households)
  • Closing the digital divide by helping to improve access to technology to those who do not have regular access.

Through our Community Grants program we have had the opportunity to support a range of organizations such as Ladies Learning Code, Scientists in School and Pathways to Education.

Applications are due June 30th, 2016 and any registered Canadian charity is eligible to apply, so if your organization has a project or program underway in one of our focus areas please submit your application online through one of our three community programs depending on your location:

When Google evaluates proposals, we look at impact first.  We’re looking for projects which are at the community level but have scale and sustainability.  We don’t tend to fund applications for short-term employment positions or office overhead costs (rent, utilities, etc).

If you believe your organization fits these guidelines, please submit your proposal today using one of the links above.  For any further questions please contact Canada’s community affairs manager, Lauren Skelly [email protected]

Celebrating My Account’s first birthday with improvements and new controls

Editor's Note: Cross-posted from the Google Blog
A year ago today, we launched My Account, a hub that gives you quick access to controls for safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy on Google. My Account puts privacy and security tools in one place, including long-standing features like Ads Settings and newer ones like the Privacy and Security Checkups. Collectively, these tools make it easy for you to control your privacy and security from any device.

In the past year, more than one billion people around the world have used My Account. Now, on the first anniversary of its launch, we're excited to introduce three new features to easily access your controls and protect your data.

A helping hand when you lose your phone
We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data: texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble. Unfortunately, millions of phones are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, and countless more are lost in taxis, cafes, and couch cushions around the world. But when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe.

Find your phone is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”
New ways to access My Account
People are increasingly using their voices to navigate apps and services—for example, mobile voice searches on Google have tripled in the past two years. So, we’re making it easier to get to My Account just by using your voice. In the latest Google app you can simply say, “Ok Google, show me my Google account,” and we’ll take you right there. This is available today in English, with other languages coming soon.
We’re also making it easier than ever to find My Account by searching Google. Coming soon, you’ll be able to simply search for your own name, and if you’re signed in, you’ll see a shortcut to My Account.
When you entrust your data to Google, you should expect powerful security and privacy controls. These features are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your personal information. We'll continue to make updates based on your feedback.

Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities – two Canadian organizations among global winners

Last spring, kicked off the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, an open call to global non-profits who are building transformative technologies for the billion people around the world with disabilities. We’re thrilled to announce that two Canadian firms are among the winners of that global challenge.

There are one billion people living with disabilities around the world. That’s one billion people that society isn’t engineered to serve. In all, has awarded $20M today in grants to a wide range of non-profits around the world. The winners were selected from more than 1,000 submissions from 88 different countries around the world.

The organizations we’re supporting all have big ideas for how technology can help create new solutions, and each of their ideas has the potential to scale. Each organization has also committed to speeding up innovation in a sector that has historically been siloed.

Last year, to kick off the challenge in Canada, we supported World Wide Hearing with a grant of $500,000 to help them develop, prototype and test an extremely low cost tool kit for identifying hearing loss using smartphone technology that’s widely available--and affordable--in the developing world.

Today we’re proud to introduce our two new Canadian grantees - Nia Technologies and Neil Squire Society.

You can learn more about all 30 organizations working to improve mobility, communication, and independence for people living with disabilities at

Nia Technologies (awarded a $400,000 grant)
Based in Toronto, Nia Technologies uses 3D scanning, modelling, and printing technologies to develop better fitting prosthetics for people in developing countries. Funding from will also enable Nia to create an open source digital platform for the global community of orthopaedic technologists.
Up to 95% of the people in developing countries who need assistive devices are unable to access them. Obstacles to access include a shortage of orthopaedic personnel, labour‐intensive production methods, and significant costs to patients, especially those who have to travel vast distances for treatment.
Early testing indicates that 3D PrintAbility produces robust prosthetic devices in less time than similar  devices produced with current manual methods. Nia aims to cut production times from an average of 5 days to as little as 1.5 days. Nia is testing 3D PrintAbility with clinical trials in Uganda and other developing countries in 2016.

Neil Squire Society (awarded a $800,000 grant)
How would you use a touch screen mobile device, if you could not use your hands to touch the device? The Neil Squire Society will use its grant from to release the LipSync, a mouth controlled input device enabling people with disabilities to operate a mobile device.
An estimated 1,000,000 people in Canada and US have limited or no use of their arms—meaning they’re unable to use touchscreen devices that could provide access to helpful apps and services. While solutions exist for desktop computers, they can cost up to $3,000 and do not work well on mobile devices. The LipSync designs will be released open source so that makers can affordably make the solution so that anyone with difficulty using their hands can operate a mobile device using a mouth-operated input controller.  
The Neil Squire Society is a Vancouver-based non-profit that was founded by Bill Cameron, who designed a “sip-and-puff” communication for his relative Neil Squire, who was paralyzed from the neck down following a car accident.
Posted by Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink, Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities Project Lead for

Amazing JUNOS performances available exclusively on Google Play Music

As Canadian music continues to dominate charts around the world, the 2016 JUNO Awards boasted one of show’s most talented lineups yet. From hometown favourites like Bryan Adams and Dean Brody to international music icons like The Weeknd and Shawn Mendes, this year’s JUNOS performances put Canada’s influence on the global music scene on full display.

Canadians couldn’t get enough of the incredible performances by some of the world’s biggest talent. Here are some of the most searched JUNOS performances from last night’s show.

Google Play Music is so thrilled to be the official music streaming partner of the 2016 JUNO Awards and support Canada’s incredible music ecosystem. To celebrate, we’re offering everyone the chance to relive the JUNOS by making the show’s top performances available for stream or download exclusively on Google Play Music.

Fostering Canada’s burgeoning music industry is one thing, but we also want to make sure that Canada’s next generation of artists have the opportunity to create and share amazing music for years to come. Starting today, for every 90-day free trial sign-up to Google Play Music, we’ll donate one dollar to Musicounts, a charitable organization that keeps music alive in schools and communities across Canada by providing access to a music programming and instruments through local schools and communities.

Streams and downloads of tracks by participating artists include: Shawn Mendes, Dean Brody, Alessia Cara along with Canadian music legends Bryan Adams, Buffy Sainte-Marie and many more. We hope you enjoy all of these performances and help us make a difference in the lives of many by supporting two great causes.

Posted by Andrew Lindsay, Canada Music Business Development Manager, Google Play Music

B Mine Canada! Share your Romantic Street View Locations with #SVHeartCanada

While Canadians may be romantics at heart, when it comes to planning February 14th, we’re stumped. Searches for Valentine’s Day Date Ideas are at an all-time high in Canada.

So, let’s help out our fellow love-struck Canadians with some ideas inspired by - what else - Canada! Here’s your challenge: find the most romantic places on Street View and share on social media using #SVHeartCanada. Let’s give Canadians searching for a great date some inspiration.

To get you started, we’ve put together a map of some of the most romantic locations in the country. From Polar Bear Watching on Canada’s Tundra, riding the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls to exploring the Cape Breton Highlands, enjoy some of Canada’s most interesting, remote and romantic locations with stunning Street View imagery.

Or how about Love, Saskatchewan? This aptly named village in Saskatchewan has received international recognition as people from around the world send their wedding invitations, Valentine’s Day cards and more to be stamped with the romantically oriented postmark before being forwarded to their final destinations.

And there’s also Old Quebec City. Dating back to 1608, this historic French colonial neighbourhood is like a little slice of Europe in Canada with its cobblestone streets lined with bistros and boutiques.

These are just a few romantic locals we came up with and we’ve mapped out even more hotspots here (create your own custom map using My Maps). But we’re just getting started.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s help our fellow Canadians out with some ideas for romantic destinations in Street View.

Make sure to share yours using #SVHeartCanada and we’ll re-post our favourites.

Love, Google Canada.

Building a safer web, for everyone

Editor's Note: Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.
Today is Safer Internet Day, a moment for technology companies, nonprofit organizations, security firms, and people around the world to focus on online safety, together. To mark the occasion, we’re rolling out new tools, and some useful reminders, to help protect you from online dangers of all stripes—phishing, malware, and other threats to your personal information.

1. Keeping security settings simple

The Security Checkup is a quick way to control the security settings for your Google Account. You can add a recovery phone number so we can help if you’re ever locked out of your account, strengthen your password settings, see which devices are connected to your account, and more. If you complete the Security Checkup by February 11, you’ll also get 2GB of extra Google Drive storage, which can be used across Google Drive, Gmail, and Photos.

Safer Internet Day is a great time to do it, but you can—and should!—take a Security Checkup on a regular basis. Start your Security Checkup by visiting My Account.
2. Informing Gmail users about potentially unsafe messages

If you and your Grandpa both use Gmail to exchange messages, your connections areencrypted and authenticated. That means no peering eyes can read those emails as they zoom across the web, and you can be confident that the message from your Grandpa in size 48 font (with no punctuation and a few misspellings) is really from him!

However, as our Safer Email Transparency Report explains, these things are not always true when Gmail interacts with other mail services. Today, we’re introducing changes in Gmail on the web to let people know when a received message was not encrypted, if you’re composing a message to a recipient whose email service doesn’t support TLS encryption, or when the sender’s domain couldn’t be authenticated.

Here’s the notice you’ll see in Gmail before you send a message to a service that doesn’t support TLS encryption. You’ll also see the broken lock icon if you receive a message that was sent without TLS encryption.

If you receive a message that can’t be authenticated, you’ll see a question mark where you might otherwise see a profile photo or logo:

3. Protecting you from bad apps

Dangerous apps that phish and steal your personal information, or hold your phone hostage and make you pay to unlock it, have no place on your smartphone—or any device, for that matter.

Google Play helps protect your Android device by rejecting bad apps that don’t comply with our Play policies. It also conducts more than 200 million daily security scans of devices, in tandem with our Safe Browsing system, for any signs of trouble. Last year, bad apps were installed on fewer than 0.13% of Android devices that install apps only from Google Play.

Learn more about these, and other Android security features — like app sandboxing,monthly security updates for Nexus and other devices, and our Security Rewards Program—in new research we’ve made public on our Android blog.

4. Busting bad advertising practices

Malicious advertising “botnets” try to send phony visitors to websites to make money from online ads. Botnets threaten the businesses of honest advertisers and publishers, and because they’re often made up of devices infected with malware, they put users in harm’s way too.

We've worked to keep botnets out of our ads systems, cutting them out of advertising revenue, and making it harder to make money from distributing malware and Unwanted Software. Now, as part of our effort to fight bad ads online, we’re reinforcing our existing botnet defenses by automatically filtering traffic from three of the top ad fraud botnets, comprising more than 500,000 infected user machines. Learn more about this update on the Doubleclick blog.

5. Moving the security conversation forward

Recent events—Edward Snowden’s disclosures, the Sony Hack, the current conversation around encryption, and more—have made online safety a truly mainstream issue. This is reflected both in news headlines, and popular culture: “Mr. Robot,” a TV series about hacking and cybersecurity, just won a Golden Globe for Best Drama, and @SecuriTay, a popular security commentator, is named after Taylor Swift.

But despite this shift, security remains a complex topic that lends itself to lively debates between experts...that are often unintelligible to just about everyone else. We need to simplify the way we talk about online security to enable everyone to understand its importance and participate in this conversation.

To that end, we’re teaming up with Medium to host a virtual roundtable about online security, present and future. Moderated by journalist and security researcher Kevin Poulsen, this project aims to present fresh perspectives about online security in a time when our attention is increasingly ruled by the devices we carry with us constantly. We hope you’ll tune in and check it out.

Online security and safety are being discussed more often, and with more urgency, than ever before. We hope you’ll take a few minutes today to learn how Google protects your data and how we can work toward a safer web, for everyone.

Take a snowmobile with Google Maps to the sea ice habitats of the Arctic Eider duck

Editor’s note: Today’s post is guest authored by Joel Heath, Executive Director of the Arctic Eider Society

The Arctic Eider isn’t just any duck. The feather of this sea-ice dweller is the warmest in the world—a marvel of nature that allows the Eider duck to spend its winters in one of the most remote and frozen habitats on the planet. And now—thanks to Google Maps, the Inuit community of Sanikiluaq and our small environmental charity the Arctic Eider Society—people from around the world can explore this extraordinary and fragile part of Canadian geography that the Arctic Eider calls home.

The Trekker collects Street View imagery of a Polynya

Last winter, in -50 degree celsius winds, the Google Maps team traveled to the Belcher Islands in Hudson’s Bay and helped the Arctic Eider Society mount the Trekker on a snowmobile to collect stunning Street View imagery from nearby “polynyas”—bodies of open water that form in the sea ice. The polynyas act as an oasis of sorts, providing a habitat for wildlife like eiders who dive under the ice to feed on shellfish and sea urchins.

You’ll see from the images that it’s not just ducks up here in the cold. The Inuit of the Belcher Islands have also lived here for centuries. This community, a hamlet of just 850 people, has an important relationship with the eider duck—aside from providing them a traditional source of warmth and food, the bird’s feathers are ingrained in their history, used to create traditional parkas unique to the Inuit of this region.

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But this is an ecosystem under threat.  The region has suffered from a lack of environmental stewardship, and the sensitive sea-ice—critical to the eiders and Inuit– is suffering as a result of hydroelectric development around Hudson Bay.  Large die-off events of eiders and beluga whales have been occurring as changing ice conditions trap the animals until they starve or run out of air.

Our partnership with Google Maps is helping to support research programs designed to preserve these winter sea ice habitats. We’re combining imagery captured by the Trekker with data and knowledge from the local Inuit and Cree communities and mapping by the Arctic Eider Society to create a platform where we can all track and report on the local wildlife, together. This mix of new and old, combining indigenous knowledge with Google Street View and the Arctic Eider Society’s mapping, may be just what’s needed to address the impacts hydroelectricity heating is having on the bird that produces winter’s warmest feather.

Take a moment to visit Google Maps to better understand this amazing bird and the community who relies on it. Take an icy walk down the streets of Sanikiluaq, climb onto a snowmobile and explore the amazing sea-ice the Arctic Eider calls home. Eider down parka not required.

Posted by Joel Heath, Arctic Eider Society

To learn more about the unique relationship between the community of Sanikiluaq and the Arctic Eider, be sure to watch the critically acclaimed award winning film People of a Feather that started it all.

For Star Wars fans, old and new

Editor's note: Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.
The first memory I have of watching a movie is with my dad. I was around four years old, and one afternoon he fired up our bulky, '80s-style front-projection TV and the Betamax, and popped in Star Wars. Of course, it was *amazing*, and I've watched the original trilogy a dozen times since.

It probably isn't a surprise that there are tons of Star Wars fans like me here at Google. You can regularly spot Darth Vaders, dogs dressed like Yoda, and even the occasionalstormtrooper, roaming the halls of our data centers (probably still looking for those droids). So when we first heard about Episode VII, we started thinking about what a Google tribute to these epic stories might look like: “Wouldn't it be cool if there was some sort of Star Wars thingy in Search? The Millennium Falcon in Cardboard would be sweet! What if Google Translate could decipher galactic languages?"... and on, and on, and on. As this list of ideas grew, so too did the band of passionate engineers and product folks who wanted to build them.

We reached out to our friends at Lucasfilm and Disney, and since then we’ve been working together on building It's a place for fans, by fans, and starting today you can choose the light or the dark side, and then watch your favorite Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and many more transform to reflect your path. And that's just the beginning. We've got more coming between now and opening night—the Millennium Falcon in all its (virtual reality) glory included, so stay tuned. And we've hidden a few easter eggs, too. So awaken the Force within, and be on the lookout for things from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

See you in line at the theater in December. I'll be there with my dad.