Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

YouTube Stories: How Aussies are learning through video

Returning to the simpler things in life, Aussies are picking up spades and spatulas. 

For 15 years, people have been doing things alone, together, on YouTube. It's so common that it has its own hashtag, #WithMe. Our creators and community have used video to help people learn, connect, entertain and thrive. And this has never been more evident than over the last few months.
As Australians (and the world) isolate ourselves and stay home, we’ve been picking up hobbies and learning new skills to occupy our time and feel productive -- and two trends we’ve seen grow are Plant With Me and Cook With Me.
The average daily views of ‘gardening’ videos by Aussies has increased over 120 percent since 15 March 2020, when compared to the average daily views for the rest of the year.
We’re looking for hacks from how to maintain our gardens to stem-cutting methods to regrow plants, for advice on fast growing vegetables and herbs we can plant at home (basil, garlic, onion and coriander being amongst the most common), as well as what set-ups are best for where we live.
One Aussie channel that’s guiding us is Self Sufficient Me (788K subscriber), whose video on 8 Fast Growing Vegetables You Can Grow at Home in a Hurry was one of the most viewed locally between 15 March and 21 April 2020.
Moving from the garden to the kitchen and we have seen the average global daily views of videos with ‘cook with me’ in the title increase by over 100 percent since 15 March 2020, compared to their average views for the rest of the year. Between 15 March-10 April, views of bread baking videos also peaked in Australia for 2020, increasing by more than 260 percent, compared to the prior daily average for the year.
YouTube enables anyone, anywhere, at any time to access information. And with over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute, there are constantly new learning opportunities at people’s fingertips -- and we’re devouring them, with hundreds of millions of views of educational content on YouTube every single day globally.
Cree Monaghan and Tim Hall are locals who used YouTube to learn and follow their passions…
From little things, big things grow 
“If you haven’t grown up on a farm, it’s really hard without a resource like YouTube.”
Cree Monaghan and Tim Hall made the green change in 2014, moving from the city to a ‘blank canvas’, 100 acre property in Margaret River, Western Australia. Their goal -- to try to improve the health of the land, their family, and ultimately, the planet.
The couple, understandably, was daunted when they bought the property as they were starting from scratch with nothing on the parcel of land and knowing very little about farming. Both Cree and Tim recall that every single thing required having to learn something new and that they had absolutely no idea how much work goes into growing food.
“We had input from other people, but our farmer friends are not always alongside us every time something goes wrong. And that’s when we turn to YouTube. How to build a chicken coop, how we increase the fertility of the soil, pruning the orchard, how to set up electric fencing, how to move pigs around.”
But creating their farm wasn’t enough. Inspiring and educating others was critical, so the next step was One Table Farm -- a cooking school to teach people about regenerative farming, whether that be starting to make their own bread, composting differently or knowing how to grow a tomato.
“If we run this farm in isolation and don’t share it with anybody, then it doesn’t reach its full potential.”
Soon, the journey will come full circle with Cree and Tim starting their own YouTube channel to share what they have learned with the world.
This is just one example of the many learning stories on YouTube where we can see the ripple effects of online connections make their way into the real world. Watch more of our YouTube Learning Stories, or start your own learning journey now with YouTube Learning

Further help for Aussie small businesses affected by recent crises

Aussies are known for our mateship both at the best of times and at the worst of times. In light of the recent bushfires and the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it’s been wonderful to see Australians band together to help each other. It’s therefore unsurprising yet very humbling to see that search results on Google for “help small business” tripled in late March as many businesses were forced to alter operations and general uncertainty was mounting in response to COVID-19 (1).

 While we have seen this rise in Aussies’ eagerness to back their local businesses through this period - for business owners, it’s no doubt been a challenging time as they’ve dealt with this evolving and uncertain situation.

For Barney Martin, it’s been incredibly disruptive for his hair salon business. He’s had to deal with closure, time limits on appointments, and strict distancing protocols. To help keep his business running and customers informed, Barney implemented strict new health and safety measures in his salon and uploaded videos of these to his Google My Business profile to give his customers peace of mind they were in good hands.

Barney’s hair salon is just one of thousands of Aussie businesses who have turned to online tools — some for the first time — to help them keep their business ticking over, and to continue to keep their customers informed. We want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to adopt new ways of working and manage through the uncertainty - whether that be from COVID-19 or from the recent Aussie bushfires.

To help them in this, Google Australia has been working to provide businesses not only with direct funding assistance but with access to timely information, tools and resources. I’m pleased to share an update on some of these resources and information on how we’re continuing to help.

Delivering digital skills training to SMBs in bushfire-impacted communities 

While our planned Grow with Google bushfire recovery roadshow had to be postponed, the team wasn’t going to let physical distance laws stop them. Our Google small business experts conducted numerous one-on-one small business consultations with a number of business owners from fire impacted communities throughout NSW and Victoria from Bega to Bermagui and other towns in between. The calls enabled our Google small business experts to answer questions relating to the business owner’s Google Business Profiles and questions about how to help them improve their online presence.

Supporting small businesses with free resources

Thanks to partnerships with authorities like Bega Valley Innovation Hub, Northern Beaches Council, Business Australia and ACCI, Grow with Google team have been able to scale free small business resources like our Small Business Pack widely. The team further partnered with community groups such as Bega Valley Innovation Hub to host group training webinars led by one of our Grow with Google trainers, Yash Godbole.

We also launched a new Google for Small Business ( hub to provide helpful resources to local businesses as they navigate these challenging times.

New support links for Google My Business profiles 

Establishing a free Business Profile with Google My Business is one of the quickest and easiest ways a small business owner can help their business show up in Search results. I’m really pleased to share the rollout of new support links that let business owners add a donation link, gift card link or both to their profile, giving customers options to support them at this challenging time. They can also share a personal message in a post to inform customers how funds will be put to use.

$20 million to support small businesses and government crisis response 

Our CEO Sundar Pichai announced additional support for small businesses, and community and government organisations, in March - so it’s great to see this support being rolled out locally.

We’re providing A$20 million of free Google Ads to our Australian ads customers, government agencies, and to support community organisations. Already we’ve begun passing on ad credits to our Australian customers, with notifications appearing in Google Ads accounts and which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our advertising platforms. We hope this will help alleviate some of the costs for Aussie businesses of staying in touch with their customers.

We’re also providing support to Many Rivers through a global response and recovery program being coordinated by Youth Business International and funded by Google’s philanthropic arm,, to support under-served small and medium businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Many Rivers will use the funds to increase the accessibility of its online business support tools. We’ll continue to partner with businesses, government, industry groups and the wider community to help all Australians get through COVID-19 and back on to the road to recovery.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates to be announced shortly.

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia

 1) Source: Google Trends, May 2019 - May 2020

YouTube Music is Making it Simple to Transfer Over Your Google Play Music Library

Over the past few years, we have enhanced YouTube Music to deliver a comprehensive listening experience, and have also added features to make Google Play Music users feel right at home. Starting today, we’re excited to officially begin inviting Google Play Music listeners to effortlessly transfer their music libraries, personal taste preferences and playlists to YouTube Music, their new home for music listening and discovery.
For now, users will continue to have access to both services. We want to ensure everyone has time to transfer their content and get used to YouTube Music, so we’ll provide plenty of notice ahead of users no longer having access to Google Play Music later this year.
Easy Transfer and Transition 
We know many listeners have spent a lot of time creating their perfect music and podcast libraries in Google Play Music, so we’ve made it simple to move both to their new homes. All Google Play Music users will soon receive an email with detailed instructions on how to begin transferring your full Google Play Music history and content, as well as podcasts, to their new homes.
Music fans will be able to start the transfer process of their music library to YouTube Music by following these simple steps:

  • Download the YouTube Music app (iOS/Android). 
  • Click on the transfer button in YouTube Music, and your uploads, purchases, added songs and albums, personal and subscribed playlists, likes and dislikes, curated stations and personal taste preferences will move right over. 
  • Your updated recommendations will appear immediately on the YouTube Music home screen, and we’ll notify you via email and notifications when your music library transfer is complete and your music is in the “Library” tab. 

You can also check out the video with transfer details HERE.

And if you’re a podcast listener, you can visit this web page and transfer your subscriptions and episode progress to Google Podcasts with a single click. Google Podcasts is our dedicated podcast player available for free on Android and iOS, and accessible from Google Assistant, Google Search, Google Home and more.
We’re looking forward to Google Play Music users transferring their libraries, so they can begin listening and exploring on YouTube Music and Google Podcasts.
Your New Home For Music: YouTube Music
For listeners new to YouTube Music, the streaming service is your personal guide to the world of music, simply organised in an app and web player. A bit more on what YouTube Music has to offer:

  • Catalogue: YouTube Music offers over 50 million official tracks, albums and high quality audio, as well as deep cuts, B-sides, live performances, and remixes you can’t find anywhere else. 
  • Listen everywhere: Explore YouTube Music’s audio-first music app, desktop and smart speaker experience. 
  • Recommendations: Discover new music through YouTube Music’s home screen recommendations and personalised mixes - My Mix, Discovery Mix, and New Release Mix - based on taste, location, time of day and Play Music preferences after transferring. 
  • Official Playlists: Listen to thousands of official playlists from both YouTube Music and Google Play Music. 

We’ve listened to Google Play Music user feedback and recently introduced additional new features to YouTube Music for fans to enjoy. Some of the YouTube Music features we’re most excited to share include the following (with more updates on the way!):

  • Playlist Creation: We’ve increased playlist length from 1,000 to 5,000 songs to make room for even more of your favourite songs. 
  • Uploads: You can listen to your uploaded and purchased music from Google Play Music after your transfer, or add up to 100,000 personal tracks to your library in YouTube Music (an increase of more than 50,000 compared to Google Play Music). 
  • Offline listening: Paying members can download any song, playlist, music video or let smart downloads (Android only for now) do it for you so you always have something to listen to, even when you don’t have service. 
  • Lyrics: Lyrics offer highly visible access to follow along to tracks. 
  • Explore Tab: An all-new Explore tab offering one go-to place to discover new music and YouTube Music’s vast catalogue of playlists through New Releases and Moods & Genres sections. 

Existing pricing is the same between Google Play Music and YouTube Music. Fans can enjoy the ad-supported version of YouTube Music for free, or enjoy YouTube Music Premium, a paid membership that gives listeners background listening, downloads and an ad-free experience for $11.99 a month. Or you can try YouTube Premium to extend ad-free, background listening and offline playback across all of YouTube for $14.99.
Google Play Music Unlimited members will be automatically granted the equivalent tier of YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium based on the level of benefits with their current subscription, at the same price*.
We can’t wait for you to start exploring YouTube Music features and discovering new music favourites along the way. Have more questions or need help? Check out all of our support resources here.
*Some users may see a price difference upon transfer. Learn more here.

Responding to the revised publisher code process in Australia

Over the past two years, the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry explored the dynamics of the rapidly changing digital ecosystem, with a specific focus on the impact on businesses that include news media interests.

One thing was clear at each stage of the process: consumer behaviour has evolved rapidly and there have been wide ranging benefits through improved access to information (as noted in the DPI Final Report). Consumers now can and expect to access information anywhere, anytime. Looking specifically at news, these shifts have increased the range of sources available, improving choice, discovery and access - including to smaller and independent publishers, local and global news sources. In parallel, this has also enabled news media businesses to reach global audiences.

These changes in consumer behaviour, combined with advances in technology, have contributed to both challenges and opportunities in the economics of news media. Technology has significantly increased the availability of news and other content and increased competition among publishers - at the same time enabling new digital classified businesses that benefit from car, real estate and job advertisements.

The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry considered many of these dynamics. In response, the Government recommended a voluntary code to govern the relationship between digital platforms and companies that have news media interests. Google welcomed the recommendation and was advancing a code, based on extensive and continuing consultation with news media businesses.

The Government has now announced it will move to a mandatory code and has accelerated the original timeline. In light of this, we want to respond to some misconceptions and explain how we work with a wide range of publishers, large and small.

Did Google engage with the voluntary code process? 
From the outset, Google actively engaged in the voluntary code process. Google acted in good faith, working constructively by consulting with more than 25 news media businesses - broadcasters, print and online publishers from metro and regional areas. We met with some publishers on multiple occasions to work through and understand complex issues. The ACCC asked Google to deliver a progress report by the end of April, which we were on track to deliver before the Government changed the deadlines and shifted focus to a mandatory code. We have sought to be constructive in our approach from the outset and have provided our update to the ACCC this week.

Is Google making money from publishers’ content? 
Google Search doesn't make any money when a user clicks on a news search result, rather when users click on ads. has no ads, nor does the news results tab on the search page. And even more broadly, searches for journalistic related queries are a very small proportion of all searches and very rarely return ads. When a search query does return an ad, it’s up to the user to decide if they click on the ad - Google does not get paid for showing the ad, only if the user clicks on it.

People have come to Google for reliable information for more than twenty years. On Google Search, we show a range of results based on a user’s query and provide links to the relevant website. In the case of news, publishers can determine how those results appear, setting the length of the short snippet from a story or turning snippets off entirely. Studies show that snippets encourage people to click through to websites, meaning that publishers get more visitors seeing ads on their sites.

Is Google driving traffic away from publisher sites? 
The fact is Google drives traffic to news sites more than 24 billion times a month globally. When someone types a query into Google Search, they receive a list of search results relevant to their query. These results respond to the intent of the query -- for example someone searching for fitness tips may be shown a range of results, from workout ideas to healthy recipes, from millions of online publishers in Australia and around the world. Depending on the query, the search results may also include news results, which link through to news publisher websites.

All publishers on the internet want to be found by new users, alongside businesses that include news media interests. Publishers have always been able to decide whether their content shows up in Google Search. Most choose to be found via Google to attract more visitors to their sites. This is traffic they say is important for their businesses, allowing them to build relationships and make money by showing people ads or opportunities to subscribe to their publications. News media businesses recognise the economic value they receive from this referral traffic.

Why doesn’t Google pay news publishers for displaying their sites in Search results? 
In the offline print world, publishers have long paid retailers, newsstands and kiosks to distribute their newspapers and magazines - acknowledging the value of acquiring audiences to a publishers’ content and the advertising publishers sell alongside it. Publishers provide posters with headlines for newsagents to display in their windows to help draw customers to buy papers.

In contrast, Google Search sends readers from Australia and all over the world to the publishers’ sites for free - helping them to generate advertising revenues from those audiences and convert them into paying subscribers. The traffic we send has substantial value. In 2018 alone, Google sent more than two billion visits to Australian news sites from Australian users, and a further billion visits from users outside Australia.

Everyone benefits from this exchange. While news content has significant social value, it is often difficult to make money from. And primarily news-seeking queries make up only a tiny percentage of queries we see. But by including news results next to other search results, we encourage users to click to view stories they might not have otherwise read, giving publishers the ability to show ads against those stories.

People trust Google to help them find useful and authoritative information, from a diverse range of sources. To uphold that trust, our Search results, including links to news stories, have always been determined by relevance—not by commercial considerations. Google does not accept payment to appear in organic search results nor does it pay for sites to appear in search results.

Next steps 
The Government’s response to the Digital Platforms Inquiry acknowledged the substantial two-way value exchange between news media businesses and digital platforms. We’ve worked closely and constructively with news media businesses, the ACCC and the Government and will continue to do so to ensure we can continue to support publishers, help the wide variety of Australian businesses who advertise with us, and deliver relevant and helpful information for Australian consumers.

2020 Computer Science grants for Australian educators

Now, more than ever, it’s important that teachers have the tools and resources they need to undertake their work. Understanding, creating and using technology are critical skills for all students and teachers, regardless of where they live.

This year our annual Computer Science (CS) Educator Professional Development (PD) Grants program is focused on bringing digital technologies training to teachers in regional and remote communities and to those who might otherwise miss out on such opportunities.

Google’s Educator PD Grants program has been running in Australia since 2011 and, in that time, has trained over 20,000 teachers. The program aims to equip teachers through practical professional development workshops, giving them the skills and tools to confidently teach computational thinking and computer science concepts. 

We’re excited to announce the following recipients of the 2020 CS Educator Grants:

This year all funded workshops have a focus on access and inclusion, aligning with Google’s global diversity commitment. Some workshops will be delivered virtually, given current movement restrictions, and others will take place later in the year.

The impact of PD Grants for educators 
These grants help to expand CS skills for more educators and we’ve heard from past winners about the positive impact. At James Cook University in Northern Queensland, Leanne Cameron is excited to build on the work done with last year’s grant, forging relationships with local Indigenous communities to develop new resources for their Teacher Education subject and share curriculum expertise with Indigenous educators.

This year they’ll expand on that work, offering Primary, Early Childhood teachers and trainee teachers a workshop that addresses the content of the Digital Technologies curriculum and the Outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework to help them feel comfortable about teaching with technology.

The workshops will draw teachers from all over Northern Queensland and offer 'train-the trainer' sessions to assist those who feel confident in teaching Digital Technologies to mentor others in their area. These 'trainers' will provide ongoing support and resources for their schools and build capacity in the communities that need it most.

We’re pleased to support the CS Educator PD Grants program once again and look forward to seeing how these amazing educators apply their new skills.

How we’re supporting Aussie AI talent

Whether it’s preserving Australia’s indigenous languages, helping marine biologists track endangered dugongs, or supporting doctors to detect prostate cancer more quickly, more and more Aussie researchers, organizations and businesses are using artificial intelligence (AI) to help tackle big problems.

In fact, we believe that there are numerous other challenges that could be addressed with AI and have made it our mission to make the benefits of these technologies available to everyone. Helping foster AI talent with programs like online AI courses for teachers is a key component of that.

Today, we’re excited to announce the Australian recipients of two global research grants.

Google TensorFlow Faculty Award 
Mary-Anne Williams, Distinguished Research Professor of the School of Computer Science at UTS has been awarded a “Google TensorFlow Faculty Award" for 2019 to develop educational content with TensorFlow 2.0, Google’s open-source machine learning platform. She’ll be receiving financial support and technical mentorship from the Google TensorFlow team to help her develop a machine learning course, as well as Google Cloud credits and access to Tensor Processing Units, custom-built computer chips made for machine learning.

Google Faculty Research Awards
In Spring 2019, we opened our annual call for the Google Faculty Research Awards, a program focused on supporting world-class technical research in Computer Science, Engineering and related fields at some of the world’s best computer science departments. Five researchers from University of Adelaide and Monash University will now be supported with funding for one year to help them advance their research in areas like algorithms and security:

  • Sebastian Baltes, Markus Wagner and Christoph Treude, University of Adelaide. The team is working on developing and evaluating techniques that can automatically detect issues in software documentation to remove barriers, biases, and obstacles for non-native speakers and open up the software development community to a more diverse group of participants. 
  • Graeme Gange and Peter J. Stuckey, Monash University. Graeme and Peter aim to extend multi-threaded constraint solvers, which search for solutions to complex combinatorial problems faced in many industries. This research will enable these solvers to learn efficiently, not only from each thread's own mistakes, but from each other's, too. 
  • Marcel Böhme, Monash University. Marcel is working on ‘fuzzing’, a technique to automatically discover security vulnerabilities in software. 
For the 2019 awards, we received 917 proposals from about 50 countries and over 330 universities, with all proposals undergoing an extensive review process involving 1100 expert reviewers across Google who assessed the proposals on merit, innovation, and alignment with our research philosophy.

Congratulations again to Mary-Anne, Markus, Sebastian, Christoph, Graeme, Peter, and Marcel!

Posted by Marie Efstathiou, Program Manager, Computer Science Outreach and University Relations, Google Australia

How we’re responding to COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the health, jobs and lives of millions of Australians and people around the world. We’ve all had to make fundamental changes to the way we live and work, and businesses everywhere have been impacted. Yet we’ve also heard inspiring stories of health care workers on the front lines, businesses providing vital resources and support, and families and communities being there for one another—showing us that if everyone plays their part, we can and will get through this together.

The “Stay home, Save lives” Doodle on the Google Australia homepage 3-5 April 

Overcoming a crisis of this scale will take a sustained effort, and we want to do everything we can to help. Since the virus first began to spread, our focus at Google has been on making sure people have the information and tools they need. But we know there’s much more work ahead.

Today, we’re sharing the actions we’re taking to support Australia both in the ongoing short-term response to the virus and in the longer-term, concentrating on three priorities:

  • Promoting authoritative and reliable information; 
  • Supporting education and learning; and 
  • Contributing to business continuity and economic recovery. 

We’re working closely with government, business, the health and education sectors, not-for-profits and community organisations to ensure people can get help when they need it most. We want to build on our existing partnerships and programs to support Australians, while responding to the urgent challenges we now face.

Promoting authoritative and reliable information sources 
It's crucial that people have access to health information they can trust online, so they can make the right decisions to protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19. We've surfaced the latest updates and health advice from government and health authorities, promoted awareness campaigns, shared travel advisories, and provided regular updates on the Search trends we are seeing as Australians look for help and information.

We’ve also provided ads credits to the Australian Government to help communicate information to the public, while the Department of Health’s Coronavirus Australia App, built on Google Cloud, provides real-time information and advice about the fast-changing pandemic.

To ensure Australians have access to all the latest information in one spot, we’ve launched a local COVID microsite featuring the latest updates and health resources. And we’re providing Community Mobility Reports that analyse aggregate, anonymised location history and provide local insights on the impact of social distancing.

Alongside our work to promote authoritative sources, we’ve stepped up our efforts to curb misinformation spreading on Google, YouTube or through apps on the Play Store. We have already taken down thousands of YouTube videos featuring dangerous or misleading coronavirus information since early February 2020, and continue to remove videos that promote medically unproven methods to prevent coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment.

We're building on these efforts in the months ahead to ensure people have access to reliable information. In Australia, we’re supporting the Australian Science Media Centre to connect fact-checkers and reporters to expert individuals and organisations around the COVID-19 crisis. We’re also supporting the Walkley Foundation as it provides crucial training and resources for journalists working remotely, and expanding our global investment in fact checking organisation First Draft to strengthen efforts to combat misinformation.

Supporting education and learning across Australia 
Millions of Australian students are out of school because of restrictions on movement and gatherings. That’s putting pressure on families, schools and the incredible teachers who foster our children’s passion for learning.

To help teachers get the support they need to teach remotely, we’ve made tools like Hangouts Meet and Google Classroom available for free, provided training and tips through both Google and YouTube (and YouTube creators are getting on board too -- check out the latest tips from Eddie Woo), and launched Teach from Home with UNESCO as a central hub for teachers around the world.

We’ve also built a remote work hub on the Grow with Google Australia site to help people work, teach and learn from anywhere, along with a distance learning website that includes training materials and a new YouTube Learning Hub to help schools, teachers, parents and students. And we launched a local #StayHome #WithMe campaign on YouTube to help people feel more connected, entertained and informed during social distancing.

All schools in Australia have access to expedited G Suite for Education domain sign-ups (free) and we are working with education departments around the country to pre-approve school domains to help educators and learners continue their teaching and learning remotely and explore further opportunities for support.

We all know the power of great teachers and inspiring lessons, and we hope these steps will help our kids continue to learn from home, and return energised when school returns.

Contributing to business continuity and economic recovery 
Small businesses are the heart of our economy and communities, from retailers to restaurants, and they've been among the hit hardest by the outbreak.

Google recently announced an $800 million commitment to support small businesses, health organisations and governments with access to finance, ad credits and grants to help meet the costs of the virus (small businesses can find more information here).

At the same time, we will be expanding our programs to train local small businesses in digital skills, provide them with cloud-based tools, and enable their employees to work remotely. We have launched a website to help Aussie businesses navigate through the uncertainty of COVID-19 and are working with business organisations such as the Business Council of Australia, ACCI and COSBOA to share resources that may be of assistance.

We have made the premium version of our video conferencing software Meet free to all of our Australian and global G Suite customers until September 2020, to allow large meetings, livestreams and meeting recordings.

More than 8,000 Australian not-for-profits enrolled in our Google for Nonprofits program also have access to these facilities. And we will be working with governments and NGOs to support relief initiatives and build economic resilience in the community, as well as matching our employees’ individual donations to charitable organisations.

Upholding our responsibility 
COVID-19 puts intense demands on us all, and we’re determined to uphold our responsibility in this unprecedented time: to enable access to trusted information, support remote learning, back small businesses, and more. These initiatives are just the start. We continue working to help Australians deal with COVID-19 and shape a stronger future.

Resources to help Aussie businesses manage through COVID-19 uncertainty

Small businesses are the backbone of Australia. They power the economy, keep people in jobs, and support local communities. But right now, these businesses are facing some significant challenges as they respond to the recent devastating bushfires and now disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Today, Google Australia launched a new Google for Small Business ( online hub to provide helpful resources to small and medium businesses as they navigate these challenging times for them, their employees and customers.

The resources are designed to help business owners communicate effectively with their customers and employees, and maintain business operations and continuity planning in response to fast changing external conditions.

It includes step-by-step advice and links so business owners can adjust their existing arrangements as needed - for example, in response to having to temporarily close shopfront operations or moving employees to remote working arrangements.

COVID-19 and the recent bushfires have created unprecedented challenges for Aussie businesses and we’re keen to make sure the best of Google’s business resources are available to help these businesses get through this period.

The new resource builds on steps we’ve already taken including making video conferencing and productivity tools available free of charge for customers working remotely and for educational purposes, and providing online tips to small businesses and all Australians through the existing Grow with Google digital skills training program.

A summary of the tips and resources are below (available at

Communicating with your customers 

  • If you have moved business operations to online, takeaway or delivery, edit your Business Profile on Google so customers know how to buy from you. 
  • If your business or one of your locations has temporarily closed, mark the location as temporarily closed on Google Maps and Search. 
  • Use Posts to tell customers on your Business Profile what is happening and if there are changes to how you are operating - for example, if you are now offering online sales or delivery or special offers. 
  • If you have a shopfront which is closed but you’re still taking phone calls, update your business phone number to your mobile phone, so you can answer business calls remotely. 
  • Set an email auto-reply to share your latest updates with customers - for example, if you are temporarily closed, or taking phone, online or delivery orders. 

Communicating with your employees 

  • Put contact information for your employees, vendors, and clients online in a system like Google Contacts so it’s accessible from any location. 
  • Make a business continuity plan, and share it with employees via an email address they can access it outside of the office. 
  • If you have more than one business location, provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions in your business continuity plan based on outbreak conditions at their location. 

Working remotely 

  • Help you and your team to effectively work from home with these tools and resources from Grow with Google. 
  • Collaborate with your co-workers using online tools and platforms - for example using a shared document, a quick conference call, or by creating an email list or a chat room
  • Make sure you’re able to access important documents from anywhere by uploading them to the Cloud through tools like Google Drive or downloading to your mobile phone or computer for offline access. 
  • If you’re using Chromebooks, ensure they have the right policies in place to access company resources from home and to keep devices and data secure. 

Modifying your advertising (if necessary) 

  • Edit your ads as needed to let customers know whether you're open for business and if you offer helpful services like expedited shipping. 
  • Pause campaigns if your product availability is impacted by supply chain issues or increased demand.  
  • If your business relies on customers from countries most affected by the virus, consider prioritising your ad budget to other locations

This is a challenging time for Aussie businesses and our wider community - we’ll continue to explore ways we can work together to provide help and support.

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Small Business Marketing, Google Australia 

Please note: 
For the most timely information and guidance on COVID-19 for businesses, please refer to the relevant Australian Government resources; for economic assistance, to understand workplace obligations and for coronavirus information and support.

Grow with Google takes digital skills training to the Illawarra community

Grow with Google has headed out on the road again for 2020, taking our specialist digital skills training program to the Illawarra region of New South Wales for the first time.

More than 250 Illawarra locals joined special training workshops at Shellharbour Civic Centre where they learned tips and tools from Google’s own digital experts to help them grow their businesses, careers and education.

Caption: Google Australia’s Richard Flanagan with Stephen Jones MP and Mayor Marianne Saliba 

We were joined by Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones MP, and City of Shellharbour Mayor, Marianne Saliba - who officially opened the event.

The Grow with Google program - which features in person training and online resources - is designed to help address the digital skills gap in Australia.

 Caption: Local Illawarra businesses picked up online tips and tricks 

At today’s small business workshop, Illawarra businesses learned how to have a strong presence online to attract new customers and gain better insights into what their customers wanted - and individuals at all stages of the digital journey picked up new skills.

We know that digital tools and skills can open up new opportunities for communities and businesses across the Illawarra. But many people are unsure what to do or where to begin, so we created Grow with Google to help bridge this gap.

One Illawarra business that is using digital tools to help grow their business is catering and fine foods company Culinarius. Business owner Rebecca Armstrong said they’ve focused on updating their online profile, responding to customer reviews, and learning insights from their web traffic.

Since 2014, Google has trained more than half a million people across Australia through online and in-person digital skills training, as well as curriculum integrated through school and partner programs.

We look forward to taking Grow with Google to every state and territory in 2020.

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Small Business Marketing

Investing in the Aussie cloud with the launch of a new cloud region in Melbourne

At Google Cloud, we’re committed to building the most secure, high performance and intelligent public cloud for regulated industries, businesses and government agencies across Australia.

Since opening our first cloud region in Sydney in July 2017, we’ve continued to invest in secure and sustainable infrastructure to support our growing customers.

From new regions across the globe to cables under the sea, we’re dedicated to building infrastructure that helps our customers connect with more people than ever before.

Regions are the cornerstone of our cloud infrastructure, enabling customers such as Australia Post, Macquarie Bank, Optus and Woolworths to deliver high performing, low latency cloud-based services to their users, no matter where they are around the world.

Today, we take another step forward by announcing that a new Google Cloud Platform (GCP) region is coming to Melbourne. Projected to come online in 2021, the Melbourne region will have three zones to protect against service disruptions, and will launch with our portfolio of key products.

The opening of the new Melbourne region strengthens our long-standing investment in Australia. Our services are designed for millions of users and the new region will bring lower latency to businesses and offer the infrastructure to support disaster recovery and regulatory needs. Our infrastructure is certified for a growing number of compliance standards and controls and has undergone several independent third party audits to test for data safety, privacy and security.

A great example of this is the work we’re doing with financial services institutions in Australia to advance their multi-cloud strategy:

“We aim to shape a world where people and communities thrive and Google Cloud is key to the transformation that enables us to achieve this purpose. Google Cloud’s Melbourne region presents opportunities to further enhance a cloud-based technology environment that incorporates integrated governance controls and service management, as well as consistent security controls,” said Gerard Florian, Group Executive, Technology, ANZ Bank.

“At NAB, we’re in the midst of a company-wide digital transformation to simplify our business and improve the experience customers have with us. Technology is both an enabler and foundation in our transformation and our multi-cloud approach, incorporating Google Cloud services, is a key differentiator for us. Having a GCP region in Melbourne will certainly help our availability, durability and resilience requirements,” said Steve Day, Executive General Manager Infrastructure, Cloud & Workplace at National Australia Bank.

In addition to security, latency and openness, we believe that sustainability is important. At Google, we match 100% of the energy consumed by our global operations with renewable energy and maintain a commitment to carbon neutrality. That includes our data centres and cloud regions. When customers choose Google Cloud to run their compute, store their data and develop their applications, their digital footprint is offset with clean energy, making the services they run in our Cloud net carbon neutral.

Catering to the cloud demand 
The demand for cloud services across Australia continues to grow. Recent research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) commissioned by Google Cloud revealed that locally the public cloud is gaining significant momentum.

Cloud adoption in Australia is expected to contribute a sizable US$108 billion of GDP and create as many as 26,000 jobs over the next five years. However, these benefits can only be realised with the investment of supporting infrastructure.

Our Google cloud regions in Australia will play an instrumental role in facilitating this growth, and will empower businesses and governments to securely and sustainability digitally transform and create value for years to come.

Posted by Rick Harshman, Managing Director, Google Cloud Asia Pacific Mark Innes, Vice President, Google Cloud in ANZ and APAC Industry Verticals