Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

Supporting quality reporting and information on vaccines



This is a guest blog post from Dr Susannah Eliott, CEO of the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC), which works to enhance the media's coverage of science, for the benefit of the public
.


The enormous impact of this pandemic has meant that scientists and pharmaceutical companies have had to go into overdrive to produce vaccines in record time. And with so many vaccines in various stages of development, it’s not surprising when journalists and the public find it difficult to get answers to critical questions.


Questions like what is herd immunity and how long will it take to achieve? Will the vaccines prevent infection as well as disease? And what is an mRNA vaccine and how is it different to traditional types of vaccines?


Answers to these questions, and access to clear and reliable information, has never been more important. And today we’re excited to announce a new initiative that aims to address this issue and equip journalists with solid information about COVID-19 vaccines as they are being developed and rolled out.


Journalists and fact checkers across the world will soon have access to our new COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub, a dedicated support service, to help them report on COVID-19 vaccines thanks to a global alliance of Science Media Centres (SMCs) and public health experts supported by a $1 million investment from the Google News Initiative.


This new media hub will bring together expert commentary, explainers and multiple sources of information from evidence-based sources on vaccines. And it will make information available in at least seven different languages to help journalists across the world to report on COVID-19 vaccines - and the science behind them.


As Alexios Mantzarlis, News and Information Credibility Lead at Google News Lab puts it: “Fighting misinformation about this topic will require both targeting harmful hoaxes directly and supporting the crucial work of science beat reporters and fact-checkers informing the public. It is with this in mind that we are thrilled to support the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine media hub to help journalists access expertise rapidly and reliably.”


The Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC) will lead the initiative together with Meedan, a technology not-for-profit, and in collaboration with SMCs and other organisations across Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa, and North America.


Science Media Centres are independent not-for-profit organisations that exist to help journalists report on the science behind daily news, whether that’s a pandemic, a natural disaster or a new scientific discovery. Although SMCs are independent of each other and work with journalists on local issues, they also collaborate on global topics and are aligned through a Charter of Independence.


This initiative represents the first time that the SMC network has been supported to work proactively on a specific globally important topic together with organisations like Meedan. We hope that this alliance will grow and continue to provide evidence-based information on a whole range of topics into the future.


Nat Gyenes, Director of Meedan’s Digital Health Lab has the last word – “recognising the threat of misinformation has become an additional vector for the spread of infectious diseases [and] we see a networked approach to addressing information equity challenges as a critical public health need… We are honored to work with the Science Media Centre of Australia and their partner Science Media Centres on this critical initiative.”


We look forward to the impact this important resource will have for journalists, providing around-the-clock access to scientific expertise and research updates.


For more information, please visit the Australian Science Media Centre and you can read more about the Google News Initiative’s work here.

Year in Search 2020: Here’s what Aussies searched for this year

From fires to facemasks and sourdough, this year’s top trending searches show our wide spectrum of curiosities, worries and cravings. 

2020 has been a year like no other, marked by blazing bushfires, a global pandemic – and cravings for comfort food. We sought definitions, made sense of restrictions and looked to help people in need. We were stood down from jobs, stood up for Black Lives Matter and stood behind Quaden Bayles. We hunted for hand sanitiser, stocked up on toilet paper and donated bales of hay. And looking abroad, we followed the US election, the Beirut explosion and said goodbye to some greats.

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the moments that made Aussies wonder, question and rally together. Here's a snapshot of five themes showing what caught Aussies' attention in Search in 2020:  

Health, safety and livelihood 

2020 began with smokey skies as Australia battled raging bushfires – prompting us to search for ‘fires near me’ and check the air quality. Not long after, COVID-19 rattled the world, steering our searches towards safeguards and lockdown kits. We were on a mission for hand sanitiser, face masks, antibacterial wipes and isopropyl alcohol. We asked how to get tested for coronavirus, how far we could travel and if we could go fishing. And as jobs were stood down or lost, we looked to apply for Centrelink and JobKeeper. 


A new language for our new normal 

We may have been lost for words this year, but it turns out we found some new ones too. Search shows we were looking to understand medical, scientific and political terminology – as we looked up the definitions of COVID, pandemic, lockdown and stimulus package. As people joined and watched the Black Lives Matter protests, we wanted to know what BIPOC stood for. And as “Karen” memes filled feeds, Aussies wanted to get across this new slang term. 

Buying and DIYing 

The top trending DIY queries show that Aussies were crafty, resourceful and ambitious in 2020. As protective and sanitary products flew off the shelves, we wanted to to know how to make hand sanitiser, face masks, toilet paper – and even ventilators. We were also inspired to treat ourselves to some much needed self-care, searching to buy neck hammocks, dumbbells and looking for DIY foot scrubs. 

Savoury, sweet and sanitary (!) recipes 

Food was a big feature of 2020, with many of us cooking up storms and eating at home more than ever before. Curiously, for the first time, a non-edible item has topped the list of top trending recipes: hand sanitiser. On a yummier note, baked goods were a stand out this year. Sourdough topped the list of (edible) recipes and we also kneaded donuts, crumpets, macarons, Anzac cookies and banana bread. Moving on to heartier, main meals, good ol’ spag bol and Beef Stroganoff also featured on the menu of top trending recipes. And finally, for a caffeine hit, we jumped on the Dalgona coffee bandwagon. 

Rising up and reaching out 

While 2020 brought many hurdles, our searches show that Aussies were looking for ways to help each other through the hardship. As many Aussies struggled in drought and fire bush affected areas, we looked to “buy from the bush,” “buy Aussie now” and “buy a bale.” And when Quaden Bayles shared his heartbreaking story as a victim of bullying, we stood behind him – making Quaden the top trending kid on Search in Australia in 2020. 

To dive into Australia's lists, check out the full trending lists for 2020: 

Overall Searches: 
1. US election 
2. Coronavirus 
3. NBA 
4. Zoom 
5. Coronavirus symptoms 
6. Kobe Bryant 
7. Weather tomorrow 
8. Fires near me 
9. Coronavirus Victoria 
10, Trump vs Biden 

News topics: 
1. US election 
2. Coronavirus 
3. Fires near me 
4. Coronavirus Victoria 
5. Toilet paper 
6. NSW fires 
7. Qantas share price 
8. Air quality Melbourne 
9. Beirut explosion 
10. NSW coronavirus 

Australian public figures: 
1. Dani Laidley 
2. Celeste Barber 
3. Gladys Berejiklian 
4. George Pell 
5.Quaden Bayles 
6. Pete Evans 
7. Nicola Gobbo 
8. Peter Dutton 
9. Richard Pusey 
10. Ben Cousins 

Global public figures: 
1. Joe Biden 
2. Kim Jong Un 
3. Boris Johnson 
4. Kamala Harris 
5. Tom Hanks 
6. Kanye West 
7. Joe Exotic 
8. Donald Trump 
9. Prince Harry 
10. Carole Baskin 

Loss: 
1. Kobe Bryant 
2. Naya Rivera 
3. Chadwick Boseman 
4. George Floyd 
5. Sean Connery 
6. Caroline Flack 
7. Kelly Preston 
8. Kenny Rogers 
9. Sushant Singh Rajput 
10. Shane Tuck 

Sport: 
1. NBA 
2. EPL 
3. State of Origin 2020 
4. Champions League 
5. IPL 
6. French Open 
7. ATP Cup 
8. Australia vs New Zealand 
9. Tennis Australian Open 
10. AFL scores

Recipe 
1. Hand sanitizer 
2. Sourdough bread 
3. Beef Stroganoff 
4. Spaghetti bolognese 
5. Donut 
6. Crumpet 
7. Macaron 
8. Anzac cookie 
9. Banana bread 
10. Dalgona coffee 

How to….? 
1. How to make hand sanitizer 
2. How to make a face mask 
3. How to use Zoom 
4. How to get tested for coronavirus 
5. How to make bread 
6. How to make self raising flour 
7. How to apply for Centrelink 
8. How to buy shares 
9. How to apply for JobKeeper 
10. How to make whipped coffee 

DIY
1. DIY hand sanitiser 
2. DIY face mask pattern
3. DIY neck hammock 
4. DIY ventilator 
4. DIY foot scrub 
5. DIY fire pit area 
6. DIY toilet paper
7. DIY pottery kit 
8. DIY antibacterial wipes
9. DIY scrunchie holder 

Definitions 
1. COVID 
2. Pandemic 
3. Branch stacking 
4. Stimulus package 
5. Stand down 
6. Portmanteau 
7. BIPOC 
8. Barre 
9. Lockdown 
10. Karen 

Goods and giving
1. Where to buy face masks 
2. Buy toilet paper online 
3. Buy from the bush 
4. Buy Ps5 
5. Buy Aussie now 
6. Where to buy hand sanitizer 
7. Buy isopropyl alcohol 
8. Buy a bale 
9. Buy Xbox Series X 
10. Buy dumbbells 

‘Can I….?’ 
1.Where can I buy toilet paper 
2. Where can I buy hand sanitiser 
3. Where can I get tested for coronavirus 
4. Can I access my super 
5. How many people can I have in my house 
6. When can I access my super 
7. Can I go fishing in NSW 
8. How much can I borrow home loan 
9. How far can I travel in QLD 
10. Can I leave Australia 

Year in Search 2020: Here’s what Aussies searched for this year

From fires to facemasks and sourdough, this year’s top trending searches show our wide spectrum of curiosities, worries and cravings. 

2020 has been a year like no other, marked by blazing bushfires, a global pandemic – and cravings for comfort food. We sought definitions, made sense of restrictions and looked to help people in need. We were stood down from jobs, stood up for Black Lives Matter and stood behind Quaden Bayles. We hunted for hand sanitiser, stocked up on toilet paper and donated bales of hay. And looking abroad, we followed the US election, the Beirut explosion and said goodbye to some greats.

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the moments that made Aussies wonder, question and rally together. Here's a snapshot of five themes showing what caught Aussies' attention in Search in 2020:  

Health, safety and livelihood 

2020 began with smokey skies as Australia battled raging bushfires – prompting us to search for ‘fires near me’ and check the air quality. Not long after, COVID-19 rattled the world, steering our searches towards safeguards and lockdown kits. We were on a mission for hand sanitiser, face masks, antibacterial wipes and isopropyl alcohol. We asked how to get tested for coronavirus, how far we could travel and if we could go fishing. And as jobs were stood down or lost, we looked to apply for Centrelink and JobKeeper. 


A new language for our new normal 

We may have been lost for words this year, but it turns out we found some new ones too. Search shows we were looking to understand medical, scientific and political terminology – as we looked up the definitions of COVID, pandemic, lockdown and stimulus package. As people joined and watched the Black Lives Matter protests, we wanted to know what BIPOC stood for. And as “Karen” memes filled feeds, Aussies wanted to get across this new slang term. 

Buying and DIYing 

The top trending DIY queries show that Aussies were crafty, resourceful and ambitious in 2020. As protective and sanitary products flew off the shelves, we wanted to to know how to make hand sanitiser, face masks, toilet paper – and even ventilators. We were also inspired to treat ourselves to some much needed self-care, searching to buy neck hammocks, dumbbells and looking for DIY foot scrubs. 

Savoury, sweet and sanitary (!) recipes 

Food was a big feature of 2020, with many of us cooking up storms and eating at home more than ever before. Curiously, for the first time, a non-edible item has topped the list of top trending recipes: hand sanitiser. On a yummier note, baked goods were a stand out this year. Sourdough topped the list of (edible) recipes and we also kneaded donuts, crumpets, macarons, Anzac cookies and banana bread. Moving on to heartier, main meals, good ol’ spag bol and Beef Stroganoff also featured on the menu of top trending recipes. And finally, for a caffeine hit, we jumped on the Dalgona coffee bandwagon. 

Rising up and reaching out 

While 2020 brought many hurdles, our searches show that Aussies were looking for ways to help each other through the hardship. As many Aussies struggled in drought and fire bush affected areas, we looked to “buy from the bush,” “buy Aussie now” and “buy a bale.” And when Quaden Bayles shared his heartbreaking story as a victim of bullying, we stood behind him – making Quaden the top trending kid on Search in Australia in 2020. 

To dive into Australia's lists, check out the full trending lists for 2020: 

Overall Searches: 
1. US election 
2. Coronavirus 
3. NBA 
4. Zoom 
5. Coronavirus symptoms 
6. Kobe Bryant 
7. Weather tomorrow 
8. Fires near me 
9. Coronavirus Victoria 
10, Trump vs Biden 

News topics: 
1. US election 
2. Coronavirus 
3. Fires near me 
4. Coronavirus Victoria 
5. Toilet paper 
6. NSW fires 
7. Qantas share price 
8. Air quality Melbourne 
9. Beirut explosion 
10. NSW coronavirus 

Australian public figures: 
1. Dani Laidley 
2. Celeste Barber 
3. Gladys Berejiklian 
4. George Pell 
5.Quaden Bayles 
6. Pete Evans 
7. Nicola Gobbo 
8. Peter Dutton 
9. Richard Pusey 
10. Ben Cousins 

Global public figures: 
1. Joe Biden 
2. Kim Jong Un 
3. Boris Johnson 
4. Kamala Harris 
5. Tom Hanks 
6. Kanye West 
7. Joe Exotic 
8. Donald Trump 
9. Prince Harry 
10. Carole Baskin 

Loss: 
1. Kobe Bryant 
2. Naya Rivera 
3. Chadwick Boseman 
4. George Floyd 
5. Sean Connery 
6. Caroline Flack 
7. Kelly Preston 
8. Kenny Rogers 
9. Sushant Singh Rajput 
10. Shane Tuck 

Sport: 
1. NBA 
2. EPL 
3. State of Origin 2020 
4. Champions League 
5. IPL 
6. French Open 
7. ATP Cup 
8. Australia vs New Zealand 
9. Tennis Australian Open 
10. AFL scores

Recipe 
1. Hand sanitizer 
2. Sourdough bread 
3. Beef Stroganoff 
4. Spaghetti bolognese 
5. Donut 
6. Crumpet 
7. Macaron 
8. Anzac cookie 
9. Banana bread 
10. Dalgona coffee 

How to….? 
1. How to make hand sanitizer 
2. How to make a face mask 
3. How to use Zoom 
4. How to get tested for coronavirus 
5. How to make bread 
6. How to make self raising flour 
7. How to apply for Centrelink 
8. How to buy shares 
9. How to apply for JobKeeper 
10. How to make whipped coffee 

DIY
1. DIY hand sanitiser 
2. DIY face mask pattern
3. DIY neck hammock 
4. DIY ventilator 
4. DIY foot scrub 
5. DIY fire pit area 
6. DIY toilet paper
7. DIY pottery kit 
8. DIY antibacterial wipes
9. DIY scrunchie holder 

Definitions 
1. COVID 
2. Pandemic 
3. Branch stacking 
4. Stimulus package 
5. Stand down 
6. Portmanteau 
7. BIPOC 
8. Barre 
9. Lockdown 
10. Karen 

Goods and giving
1. Where to buy face masks 
2. Buy toilet paper online 
3. Buy from the bush 
4. Buy Ps5 
5. Buy Aussie now 
6. Where to buy hand sanitizer 
7. Buy isopropyl alcohol 
8. Buy a bale 
9. Buy Xbox Series X 
10. Buy dumbbells 

‘Can I….?’ 
1.Where can I buy toilet paper 
2. Where can I buy hand sanitiser 
3. Where can I get tested for coronavirus 
4. Can I access my super 
5. How many people can I have in my house 
6. When can I access my super 
7. Can I go fishing in NSW 
8. How much can I borrow home loan 
9. How far can I travel in QLD 
10. Can I leave Australia 

Powering innovation and efficiency in Australia’s public sector

Across the board, Australia’s public sector is progressing digital transformation to innovate, drive efficiency, and ultimately deliver more value to the communities it serves. While many public sector bodies historically relied on legacy IT systems at the beginning of the pandemic, spikes in demand meant they needed to quickly scale up capabilities.


Earlier this year we shared how we were working to support organisations in Australia and around the world by providing services like expanded capacity, powerful remote working tools, shared datasets and healthcare APIs to support research.


We’re proud to continue to play a key role in powering the pandemic response, partnering with a number of government agencies to empower scientific breakthroughs, enable more effective joint critical responses, and facilitate high-impact constituent engagement.


Here’s a look at how government agencies in Australia are transforming services for constituents and how Google Cloud is supporting.


Improving customer service and experience


As citizens and businesses grapple with widespread uncertainty, it is critical that government service delivery is seamless, dynamic, and in line with citizen needs, with data analytics playing a key role in this.


For example, the Digital Transformation Agency  (DTA), which helps government agencies improve services to make them simple, clear and fast, is working with Google Cloud on its gov.au Observatory. The Observatory’s goal is to measure how people interact with government services, empowering and supporting teams to provide better services and outcomes for everyone. With Google Cloud, the DTA is using data from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and the whole-of-government web crawl to quantify and visualise government websites, and show how users move through online services. This data is then analysed via BigQuery, which handles over 1.2 billion data points per month.


Service NSW, which provides access to government services in New South Wales, is using Google Cloud’s API management platform Apigee to improve business agility. With Apigee, the agency is able to continuously innovate, launching new features every single day. Performance and availability are key criteria for the agency as it runs digital services across the entire state and downtime isn’t an option. In addition, the ability for Service NSW to meet governance and security standards is central to its use of Apigee, as Google Cloud acts as the first line of defence against cyber-threats.


The importance of innovation during this time is greater than ever and at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, who are making a difference in everyday lives by empowering scientific breakthroughs. Their innovative approach to analytics, machine learning and containers is a key advantage in helping researchers to spin up resources on major cloud providers, such as Google Cloud, and gain faster access to compute for their projects. Our cloud solutions also enable CSIRO to define security requirements for the cloud, including authentication and authorisation, to ensure that research run or stored in the cloud is protected.


Looking ahead as Australia emerges from COVID-19

There’s no denying 2020 has been a challenging year but it’s inspiring to see that Australia is taking tentative steps to get its economy back on track and determine what the new normal for citizens’ personal and working lives looks like. Our government agencies are central to this effort.


Google Cloud is committed to driving the digital transformation of our public sector forward. We’re continuing to expand our capabilities locally, including the launch of our Melbourne region in 2021. Our aim is to work with our government partners at a state and federal level to power a platform of innovation, digitisation and efficiency to ultimately improve the lives of all Australians.


Tune into the Google Cloud Public Sector Summit on Dec 8-9. Registration is free so don’t delay!



by Mark Innes, Vice President, ANZ at Google Cloud

Celebrating the Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders of 2020

Diversity, inclusion and equity have always been important parts of what we do at Google. They are values at the heart of everything from building our products, to developing our workforce. 


And it’s an important part of our mission: ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’. That one word - ‘universal’ - says everything about how we think when we’re designing products that aim to be useful and helpful to everyone. 


That’s why Google is extremely proud to once again partner with Deloitte and EnergyAustralia in supporting the Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders Report - recognising and celebrating remarkable role models across the country. 


2020’s list is incredibly inspiring and it’s been humbling to read through the stories and achievements of leaders in so many diverse industries - from business and corporate Australia, to public service, diversity and inclusion, the not-for-profit sector, and social justice. 


This year, we are especially proud to support the initiative because our very own Googler, Tara Mckenty, has been recognised amongst the esteemed field. This is the second time a Googler has received the honour, following Tea Uglow’s recognition in 2018


Tara is Google’s Creative Director and Founder of Rare, Google's diversity and inclusion initiative for the creative industries. Her tireless efforts to increase diversity and inclusion, and ensure advertising represents diverse perspectives, inspire many at Google and have rightly earned her a place on this Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders Report.    


Throughout her seven years’ with Google, Tara has also led the creative execution of Google’s Mardi Gras initiatives (Places of Pride and Love by Numbers), ensured diverse talent is represented in all communications, and built a platform to help remove unconscious bias from machine learning algorithms (Project Respect). Tara’s passion about diversity, inclusion and equity in the creative industries and using advertising as a medium for social good shines through in her work at all times. 


“I’ve tried to be open and out about my identity, to ensure that the generation behind me has visible LGBTI+ role models, so they can see what they want to be, and know that there is a place in our industry for people like us,” Tara says. 


You can read more about Tara’s experience and those of the other inspiring leaders in the Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders Report here


Congratulations to all nominees and finalists - thank you for continuing to inspire LGBTI+ communities and allies. 

Posted by Aisling Finch, Director of Marketing, Google Australia

Reflecting on our Google News Initiative work in Australia

Today, we reflect on the past two years of the Google News Initiative as we publish our first GNI Impact Report. We’re proud of our efforts across Australia and the work we’ve accomplished in this time with our news industry partners, right across the country and the world. While facing a challenging regulatory process in the shape of a problematic News Media Bargaining Code, we've worked positively with news publishers since 2004 and are pushing for a workable code to build on that foundation. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and long-term shifts in consumer behaviour that have upended traditional business models, there is reason for hope and optimism. We’ve seen Australian journalism demonstrate its incredible resilience, entrepreneurship and diversity. 


We’ve also learned that crises can be unexpected and require unprecedented support. That’s why when the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world, we refocused our efforts. Through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, we were able to provide financial support to 97 news organisations across the country, with recipients able to use the funds in whatever way would help them. For example, The Murray Pioneer adapted their entire workflow to a remote working situation, while building ways to maintain business relationships with advertisers. 


Our work in Australia during the pandemic also tackled misinformation. Because access to primary expert sources during an evolving public health crisis is both challenging and fundamental for journalists covering the story, we provided funding to the Australian Science Media Centre, creators of Scimex.org. They worked with more than 85 COVID-19 experts and organised 60 expert reactions from leaders in the fields of science and health, explainers, briefings and myth busters on COVID-19, all of which informed more than 30,000 news stories in Australia and overseas. GNI funds also allowed the Centre to hire an additional media officer for six months. 


As we look back beyond this year, here are the highlights of our work in Australia, which spanned three key areas: 


Elevating quality journalism 
Supporting newsrooms in delivering quality reporting sits at the heart of the GNI’s mission, and our work in Australia was deeply rooted in supporting editorial talent in that endeavour. We have appointed Teaching Fellows and partnered with the Walkley Foundation to provide training across Australia to help make sure that journalists and media organisations have the digital skills to succeed at their craft. Since the program launched in February 2019, we’ve been able to train thousands of journalists across more than 200 newsrooms in the country. 


It’s when citizens have to vote that they rely the most on quality news content. To navigate last year’s Federal Election, the Google News Lab supported the Australian Associated Press (AAP) in its election verification service, sending alerts to newsrooms and offering workshops to help journalists access the latest tools and technology to tackle disinformation and support their coverage of the elections. Ahead of the election, we also helped First Draft launch its first bureau in Asia Pacific (APAC) to assist journalists and publishers unearth and expose misleading, false and untrue claims. 


But our work doesn’t stop at how news is being reported on, we also deeply care about who is writing the news, because diversity and inclusion in newsrooms impact the reporting made available to citizens. That’s why we partnered with Media Diversity Australia to release a landmark report on diversity in Australia’s broadcast news. “Who Gets To Tell Australian Stories?” found that almost 76 percent of those on Australian screens were of an Anglo-Celtic background, while just six percent were from Indigenous or non-European backgrounds. We’re confident that by sharing these findings, newsrooms will be able to consider more closely their diversity and inclusion practices.

 
 


Empowering sustainable business growth 
Readers’ consumption habits have changed, and media have had to adapt to this ever-evolving environment. That’s why since late 2019, we have worked on a News Lab pilot program in Australia to build digital skills and capacity among regional publishers, and to research and test new small-scale digital publishing models. The programs, such as Project Kookaburra, focus on specific publishers but share common themes, namely optimising revenue, increasing use of audience engagement data and insights, and supporting organisational transformation. Through this work, publications have been able to achieve goals such as increasing their advertising revenues, better understanding their audiences, and expanding their news coverage. 


We also work with bigger media organisations like Nine to implement Subscribe with Google into their publications, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Subscribe with Google makes it easier for readers to subscribe to premium content online in a seamless way. 


At Google, we work to increase the value of our partnership to publishers by ensuring their content reaches as many people as possible. As part of the YouTube Player for Publisher program, we worked with Junkee Media and Southern Cross Austereo to reduce complexity and increase audience reach. 




Empowering newsrooms through innovation 
While the media may face many challenges today, continuous innovation is the key to sustainable business models. We have seen that innovative spirit shine through our interactions with many Australian publications and journalists. Last year, two Australian editors from the Brisbane Times and Australian Community Media (ACM) were chosen among 12 Fellows for the Google News Initiative Newsroom Leadership Program, a collaboration between GNI and the Columbia School of Journalism, to develop the business and product expertise of emerging newsroom leaders from the APAC region. 


Seven Australian media outlets (Crikey, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia, Women's Agenda, Guardian Australia, Mamamia, The Conversation, and Australian Community Media) are recipients of our GNI APAC Innovation Challenges, and Junkee Media and Nine News Australia received GNI YouTube Innovation Funding. Both programs fund projects that inject new ideas into the news industry, and we hope to be able to share the successes soon. 




What’s next? 
Despite the enormous progress that's been made to help create a sustainable future for journalism in Australia, there is still much work to be done. We’ve recently launched the GNI Digital Growth Program in Australia, which has been designed with industry experts and news publishers across the world to help small and medium-sized news organisations grow their digital businesses. We invite Australian media to course through a range of free playbooks, interactive exercises, digital workshops and labs. We look forward to continuing our important work with local publishers across the country.

 Posted by Nic Hopkins, News Lab Lead, Australia and New Zealand.

Passion takes precedence: reaching engaged audiences with YouTube Select

YouTube viewers are a passionate bunch. In Australia, they love to be inspired, empowered, and to achieve things - and in recent months, Aussies have certainly been getting stuck in. 



We’ve seen their passion reflected in significant watchtime increases across a range of content categories. Watchtime for home improvement videos has doubled. (1) Tourist destination videos have jumped by 70% (2), and there’s been a swell of 45% in watchtime for surfing videos (3). Engaged audiences are using YouTube to learn, discover ideas, and shape their real world experiences in new and interesting ways. 





Australian advertisers have been searching for ways to better connect with audiences for years, but with the launch of YouTube Select, the game has changed. Advertisers and agencies now have direct access to the best content and most passionate audiences YouTube has to offer. 



Driving the best Return of Investment (ROI) 
YouTube Select is about personalisation, not programming. Brands can deliver precise messaging to audiences who are watching videos on topics they are passionate about, in the time and place that works for them. Through powerful, unique tools and signals, YouTube Select helps advertisers access more of the most relevant and contextual content with: 
  • Lineups: YouTube generated packages that engage viewers through content and topic. 
  • Programmes & Packages: Key moments and sponsorships across Sports, Music and YouTube Kids that spark interest and deepen brand association. 


By building deep connections through shared interests and powerful moments, advertisers and agencies can drive exceptional ROI. In 2019, global lineups delivered an average awareness lift of 13% and an average purchase intent lift of 9% (4), with a US study also showing YouTube Select lineups drove greater ROI than TV in 73% of Marketing Mix Models that measured YouTube Select lineups, Other Digital, and TV in 2016-2018 (5). 



The power and the passion 
We know the days of the family sitting down around the TV after dinner to watch a show together are gone. These days, primetime is personal. Primetime is anytime. And primetime is about passion. In fact, Aussies’ number one criteria for valuable content is whether it aligns to their personal passions and interests (6). 



YouTube Select’s content packaging approach empowers brands to connect with those passions and show up in primetime, whenever it may be. With precise audience curation tools across a diverse range of high-quality, brand safe content, advertisers can be sure their products will be seen when and where it matters. So instead of your hair spray product showing up with just any beauty video, you can speak to the eager at-home stylists that are watching hair tutorials specifically, at the time that is best for them. 


As the beating heart of YouTube content, our creators continue to deliver the goods. In Australia there are now 100 channels with over one million subscribers, and a further 1,000 with 100,000+ (7), and Aussies pull their weight amongst the one billion people around the world who watch a music video on YouTube each month (8). Artists like Tones and I, who was busking in Byron in 2019, and now has over a billion views of Dance Monkey on YouTube, can now connect with fans through unique digital experiences like her intimate live performance in April. 



For the sports nuts (and I most definitely include myself in this category), YouTube is the place for sport and fitness content that can’t be found anywhere else - a fact that 79% of YouTube sports viewers have noted (9). It just goes to show that YouTube is able to provide niche, personal content experiences for sports fans that they truly value and will come back to time and time again. 



An interested audience that can’t be found anywhere else 
YouTube is the most loved video content platform in Australia, and it shows. With 16 million monthly visitors and 7.5 million in the 18-39 demographic (10), YouTube has an expansive, connected viewer base that can’t be found anywhere else. And that base continues to grow. 



Content consumption, as well as the use of SVOD services, jumped sharply in April and May, with 72% of Aussies now able to access at least one SVOD (11) service (2.6 million more than before COVID-19) and seven million people are streaming YouTube through connected TV - with a 65% jump in watchtime on TV screens since last year (12). 




YouTube Select now offers you more capabilities on the TV screen, and gives you more choice in how you buy. In Australia, YouTube Select lineups are available via Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and reservation. 



83% of the total Aussie adult population turns to YouTube (13) when they want to get deeper into their interests, to grow as people, to solve problems or achieve their goals. And with that in mind, we’re incredibly excited to offer YouTube Select to Australian advertisers and agencies. By partnering with some of the best content on YouTube through lineups and programmes, brands can deliver exceptional ROI by building deeper connections in more powerful moments than ever before. We remain committed to delivering engaging videos to everyone, everyday, and we look forward to seeing how these exciting new tools can help our advertisers grow! 



Posted by Rhys Williams, Director Media Sales, Google Australia & New Zealand

Sources:
(1) Google Data, AU, Apr 20 - Jun 20 vs. Apr 19 - Jun 19
(2) Google Data, AU, Apr 20 - Jun 20 vs. Apr 19 - Jun 19
(3) Google Data, AU, Apr 20 - Jun 20 vs. Apr 19 - Jun 19
(4) Google Preferred Lineups (now part of YouTube Select) Brand Lift, 2019, Google Preferred launched countries (across all studies measured).
(5) Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2016-2018. Base: a list of studies selected and compiled by Nielsen, consisting of all available CPG studies completed in 2016-2018 that contain Google Preferred, Other Digital, and TV results. This list includes 45 studies for US Brands across all CPG categories. ROI is “Retail ROI,” defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. Incremental offline retail sales measured for TV represents average across all TV broadcasters.
(6) [Google/Nature, Primetime is Personal study, AU, Aug 2019. n=1500 people age 18-65.] 
(7) Google data, AU, Jan 2019.
(8) Source: YouTube Internal Data June 2020
(9) Source: Google/Ipsos Connect, Sports Viewers Study, U.S. among adults aged 18-54 who watch sports/fitness content on YouTube at least monthly, n=1,501, Feb. 2016.
(10) Source: Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Total, Platform C/M, Video 0 seconds,  Brand: YouTube, Unique Audience, Apr '20.
(11) The Lab/Nature COVID Brand Navigator, Media Deep Dive, April – May 2020 (n=1600 Australians) 
(12) YouTube Internal Data, March 2020.
(13) Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Total, Platform C/M, Video 0 seconds, Ppl 18+, Brand: YouTube, Unique Audience, Apr '20.


Magpies, masks and a mullet: 5 trends that show what inspired Aussies to search, cheer and learn this footy season

Over the past few years, we’ve been working to help Aussies connect with all things footy – whether we’re delving into our rich sport heritage, following live footy scores and fixtures or voting for the Mark of the Year directly in Search. 

2020 has thrown us all kinds of curve balls – from pausing the season to putting clubs in hubs – but our spirit hasn’t been shaken. Search shows we Aussies have stayed dedicated to our game. 

As we get ready for Saturday’s blockbuster AFL Grand Final between Geelong and Richmond, we’re looking back at what and how we searched this footy season: 

 1. Power to AFL Women  



A clear standout in Search is the growing interest in AFLW – which hit a new all time high in 2020. With four new clubs entering the league in 2020, the rapid expansion of AFLW prompted uptick in Searches for clubs such as West Coast Eagles, which was the most Searched AFLW team this season. 



2. Teams on top (in Search) 

While the Collingwood Magpies won’t be on the field this Grand Final day, they topped the ladder for the most searched for clubs in 2020. Here are the top AFL teams ranked by Search interest in Australia in 2020 so far: 
1. Collingwood Magpies
2. Essendon 
3. Carlton 
4. Richmond 
5. West Coast Eagles 
6. Geelong Cats 
7. Port Adelaide 
8. Adelaide Crows 
9. St Kilda 
10. Fremantle Dockers 

3. Should the AFL bring back State of Origin in 2021? 

Footy fans were fixated on the return of State of Origin footy, as the match was the top trending moment of the season related to AFL. Searches for the match, which was dedicated to bushfire relief, spiked 2000% this year


4. Moments (and a mullet) to remember 



This footy season graced us with iconic kicks and hair-dos that piqued our Search interest. Searches for “goal of the year” spiked +600% this season. Josh Daicos’ goal of the year also spurred an increase in searches for his dad, Peter – who was known as the Macedonian Marvel due to his wonder goals in the 80’s.

Meanwhile, Bailey Smith’s mullet drove a 5000% increase in searches year on year. And unsurprisingly, the pandemic also came into play – as Searches for “AFL coronavirus” and “AFL face masks” have also risen this year. 

5. Tuning in, finding tickets and refining our ball skills 

Aussies came to Search to get help with a range of AFL related queries this season. We wanted to know how to bounce an AFL ball and dreamed of being an AFL player. We tuned in online – and as some cities began to welcome AFL fans back to games, we went looking for tickets. Here’s the list of trending “how to” searches for AFL in Australia in 2020 so far: 
1. How to bounce an AFL ball 
2. How to watch AFL online 
3. How to handball AFL 
4. How to bet on AFL 
5. How to get a job in the AFL 
6. How to score in AFL 
7. How to tackle in AFL 
8. How to kick a football 
9. How to get tickets to AFL grand final 
10. How to be an AFL player 

We're proud to continue our partnership with the AFL through 2022 to help you make the most of each season – from kick off to Grand Final Day. And as you gear up for this weekend, check out this Great Sporting Land collection to relive some of the classic Grand Final moments in Australian history! 

Magpies, masks and a mullet: 5 trends that show what inspired Aussies to search, cheer and learn this footy season

Over the past few years, we’ve been working to help Aussies connect with all things footy – whether we’re delving into our rich sport heritage, following live footy scores and fixtures or voting for the Mark of the Year directly in Search. 

2020 has thrown us all kinds of curve balls – from pausing the season to putting clubs in hubs – but our spirit hasn’t been shaken. Search shows we Aussies have stayed dedicated to our game. 

As we get ready for Saturday’s blockbuster AFL Grand Final between Geelong and Richmond, we’re looking back at what and how we searched this footy season: 

 1. Power to AFL Women  



A clear standout in Search is the growing interest in AFLW – which hit a new all time high in 2020. With four new clubs entering the league in 2020, the rapid expansion of AFLW prompted uptick in Searches for clubs such as West Coast Eagles, which was the most Searched AFLW team this season. 



2. Teams on top (in Search) 

While the Collingwood Magpies won’t be on the field this Grand Final day, they topped the ladder for the most searched for clubs in 2020. Here are the top AFL teams ranked by Search interest in Australia in 2020 so far: 
1. Collingwood Magpies
2. Essendon 
3. Carlton 
4. Richmond 
5. West Coast Eagles 
6. Geelong Cats 
7. Port Adelaide 
8. Adelaide Crows 
9. St Kilda 
10. Fremantle Dockers 

3. Should the AFL bring back State of Origin in 2021? 

Footy fans were fixated on the return of State of Origin footy, as the match was the top trending moment of the season related to AFL. Searches for the match, which was dedicated to bushfire relief, spiked 2000% this year


4. Moments (and a mullet) to remember 



This footy season graced us with iconic kicks and hair-dos that piqued our Search interest. Searches for “goal of the year” spiked +600% this season. Josh Daicos’ goal of the year also spurred an increase in searches for his dad, Peter – who was known as the Macedonian Marvel due to his wonder goals in the 80’s.

Meanwhile, Bailey Smith’s mullet drove a 5000% increase in searches year on year. And unsurprisingly, the pandemic also came into play – as Searches for “AFL coronavirus” and “AFL face masks” have also risen this year. 

5. Tuning in, finding tickets and refining our ball skills 

Aussies came to Search to get help with a range of AFL related queries this season. We wanted to know how to bounce an AFL ball and dreamed of being an AFL player. We tuned in online – and as some cities began to welcome AFL fans back to games, we went looking for tickets. Here’s the list of trending “how to” searches for AFL in Australia in 2020 so far: 
1. How to bounce an AFL ball 
2. How to watch AFL online 
3. How to handball AFL 
4. How to bet on AFL 
5. How to get a job in the AFL 
6. How to score in AFL 
7. How to tackle in AFL 
8. How to kick a football 
9. How to get tickets to AFL grand final 
10. How to be an AFL player 

We're proud to continue our partnership with the AFL through 2022 to help you make the most of each season – from kick off to Grand Final Day. And as you gear up for this weekend, check out this Great Sporting Land collection to relive some of the classic Grand Final moments in Australian history! 

Google Play Points: a rewards program for the ways you Play


Since 2012, Google Play has been your place to find and enjoy apps, games, movies, TV shows, and books. More than 2 billion people in 190 countries use Google Play to discover blockbuster movies, apps that help you be more productive, and books that inspire imagination. 
To show our appreciation, we created a new rewards program called Google Play Points that lets you earn points and rewards for the ways you already use Google Play. Over the two years, millions of people in Japan, South Korea, the US, Taiwan, and Hong Kong have joined the program. Starting this week, Google Play Points is launching in Australia, as well as UK, France and Germany. 

It’s free to join, and you can earn Play Points to use for special items and discounts in top games like Candy Crush Saga and Pokémon GO, or for Google Play Credit to use on movies, books, games, and apps. 


Play your way and earn points 
With Google Play Points, you’ll earn points on everything you buy with Google Play, including in-app items, movies, books, subscriptions and more. You can also earn Play Points by downloading featured free apps and games. Weekly points events can boost your earning rate on movies, books, and select games. 

Google Play Points has four levels, from Bronze to Platinum. Your level depends on how many points you’ve collected, and higher levels have perks like weekly prizes. 


Redeem your Play Points how you’d like 
We’re partnering with developers of some of the top apps and games on Google Play so that you can redeem points for special in-app items like characters, gems and more. You can also use Play Points for Google Play Credit and rent an award-winning movie or buy a best-selling audiobook. 


Join for free 
Google Play Points will be available over the next week. It’s free to join, there is no recurring or monthly fee, and you’ll earn three times the Play Points on everything you buy your first week. To get started, visit Google Play. Tap menu, then Play Points. Learn more about Play Points--and get ready to earn points and rewards.