Category Archives: Australia Blog

News and notes from Google down under

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 (http://g.co/smallbiz-covid19) 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 g.co/smallbiz-covid19):

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

Celebrating Mardi Gras 2020

Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras brings together people from all over Australia and around the world to celebrate - this year was no exception with thousands coming together over the weekend to celebrate “what matters” (this year’s Mardi Gras theme).

We are proud to be a part of these celebrations with support for the Mardi Gras Community Grants Program and our Grow with Google digital skills training for small businesses.



Community Grants 
Through The Mardi Gras Community Grants Program we provided funding to individuals, community groups and not-for-profit groups to deliver their messages loudly and proudly during the Mardi Gras Parade. This is the third year we’ve supported the program.

Recipients include:

  • Haka For Life - a non-profit created to provide a platform to communicate and raise awareness of mental health  and suicide prevention through conversation, community, sharing, and the power of the Maori Haka. 
  • Jopuka Productions - a Central Coast youth arts company advocating for young artists who identify as LGBTQIA+. 
  • NSW Trans Youth Alliance - representing 200 young people who are mostly trans and aged 16 to 20. 
  • People with Disability Australia - representing people with disabilities through a strong ongoing connection with Mardi Gras. 
  • Aspect Conference Room - representing LGBTQIA+ people with Autism to increase disability awareness. 
  • Positive Life NSW - a state-wide peer-based organisation that speaks for and on behalf of all people living with HIV (PLHIV), partners, friends and family affected by HIV to promote the voice and diversity of PLHIV in NSW and break down stigma. 
  • Bentstix Hockey Club - Bentstix provides the LGBTQIA+ community an opportunity to learn and play hockey and promote acceptance of diverse sexuality and gender within the broader community. 
  • Runway Movement - a collective of LGBTIQ+ people of colour from all parts of Brisbane(Meanjin) aiming to close the gap from indigenous and first nation cultures and how we identify amongst these binaries of gender. 
  • The Institute of Many - a grassroots community group bringing together people living with HIV to provide peer support and advocacy and break down HIV stigma. 
  • Black Dog Institute - a mental health research institute dedicated to improving the mental health of all Australians, especially vulnerable and at-risk groups like the LGBTQI+ community. 
  • Out For Australia - providing visible role models and mentors to support aspiring LGBTIQ students and professionals. 
  • Central Coast Pride - volunteer run organisation that supports LGBTQIA+ communities on the Central Coast. 
  • Party Passport - representing the Northern Territory's LGBTQIA+ people. 
  • Selamat Datang Indonesian Community - representing the Indonesian LGBTI community and providing a networking environment for LGBTI Indonesians in Australia 
  • Trikone Australasia - providing social support and a safe, nurturing environment for LGBT+ people of South Asian origin. 
  • Trans Pride Australia - a social and support group for trans and gender diverse people and their loved ones in Australia, with a vision for all trans and gender diverse people to live their best possible life. 

Digital Skills training for LGBTIQ+ businesses 
We also hosted a Grow with Google for Mardi Gras 2020 skills training event at the Google office in Sydney in the lead up to Mardi Gras for LGBTQI+ individuals and allies who own or manage a SMB.

Partnering with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association, participants heard how to get started with digital marketing, including our free online skills training platform, and other digital tools to help their business be found online.




Putting Digital Skills training into action 
It was during a visit to the Northern Territory to see the work of the Fred Hollows Foundation that James Hill witnessed the impact the doctor shortages have on remote communities. It inspired him to create a medical recruitment agency, Prescript, focused on addressing inequality in health care access. Prescript helps to tackle the problem by placing permanent and locum doctors in regional hospitals and practices all around the country.

James has used online tools to grow his business. Since attending a Mardi Gras Grow with Google event in 2019, he’s engaged a Google Partner, optimised his Google My Business profile and improved the performance of his Google Ads campaigns. In just 6 months, the campaigns have attracted 700+ new leads and most importantly, placed eligible doctors in regional and rural communities, getting help to people who need it most.


Business owner, James Hill at Lumiere Cafe

We are proud to support Mardi Gras and help more individuals and communities get involved.

Supporting LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs and business owners with digital skills training

More than 100 entrepreneurs and business owners from the LGBTQIA+ community picked up vital new digital skills at a special workshop hosted at our Sydney office this week.

Google experts shared digital tips, tricks and tools to help attendees better connect with customers and grow their businesses — especially during the busy Mardi Gras season. The session covered topics like how to be found online and have a strong presence, how search works, and how to gain better insights into what their customers want.

 Caption: Google Australia’s Head of Small Business Marketing, Richard Flanagan opens the event. 

We are grateful to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Business Association who we partnered with us for the event — and which coincided with this year’s Sydney Mardi Gras Festival.

Research from Deloitte shows that there is a digital skills gap in Australia — with a divide between future opportunities and the digital skills Australians need to realise these. It found that Aussie small businesses with high digital engagement are 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue, seven times more likely to be exporting, and eight times more likely to be hiring. Despite this 90 per cent of small businesses aren’t taking the steps needed to realise this potential. The free workshop was designed to help address this gap for the LGBTQIA+ community.

 Caption: Kate Wickett and Adrian Phoon, Co-Chairs of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

We know that digital tools and skills can open up new opportunities for members and businesses of the LGBTQIA+ community. But many people are unsure what to do or where to begin, so we created these ‘Grow with Google’ workshops to help close this gap.

 Caption: Google Yash Godbole provides advice to a small business owner. 

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.

Grow with Google aims to provide all Australians with access to digital skills training online and in-person, to help them make the most of the Internet and help close the digital skills divide. It includes an online learning hub accessible from anywhere, on any device, with hundreds of handy training modules.

Posted by Jake Evan, Small Medium Business Marketing Manager, Google Australia

Ten tips to help you and your family stay safe online

Safer Internet Day provides a timely reminder to check your privacy settings and speak to your family about staying safe online. Below are some simple tips for you to create stronger passwords, manage your settings, and browse the Internet securely.

1. Take control of data saved in your Google Account 
You can find your info, privacy, and security settings all in one place – your Google Account gives you transparency over data collected from your activity across Google services.

2. Choose the settings that are right for you with Privacy Checkup 
In just a few minutes, you can manage the types of data we collect, update what you share with friends or make public and adjust the types of ads you would like us to show you with Privacy Checkup.

3. Take the Security Checkup 
A step-by-step tool to give you personalised and actionable security recommendations to help you strengthen the security of your Google Account.

4. Manage your ads preferences with Ad Settings 
In Ad Settings, you can control what data is used to personalise ads to you.

5. Take your content anywhere with Download Your Data Your photos
Your emails. Your contacts. Even your bookmarks. You are in control of the data saved in your Google Account. That is why we created Download Your Data – so you can make a copy, back it up, or even move it to another service.

6. Create family rules about what to share 
Set clear expectations for your family about what not to share online, like photos or private info.

7. Establish boundaries for your children online with Family Link 
Family Link helps parents manage their child's Google Account and Android device so they can set digital ground rules that work for their family. You can keep an eye on screen time, limit daily access, remotely lock your child’s device.

8. Set a timer on YouTube Kids 
To put limits on how long your kids can spend watching videos with YouTube Kids and allow them to watch only collections of channels selected by trusted third parties or the YouTube Kids team.

9. Manage your child’s access to websites with Chrome 
You can manage your child’s access to websites when they are using the Chrome browser on their Android or ChromeOS device and block sites that you don’t want them to visit.

10. Discover our safety programs
The eSmart Digital Licence program, provided by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation with funding from Google. helps to prepare children for the best and worst of the web.

To find out more, visit the Google Safety Centre for updated resources, easy security tips and information dedicated to educating and empowering people on important topics like data security, privacy controls and how to use technology in a way that is right for your family.

Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness about online safety and encourages everyone to help create a better internet. We hope that you take the opportunity today and regularly throughout the year to use these tools to stay safe online.

Data Privacy Day: Seven ways we protect your privacy

Keeping you safe online is a top priority at Google, especially for the thousands of Googlers who work on privacy and security around the world. Marking Data Privacy Day, we’re sharing some of the many ways we keep you safe online and across our products—from built-in protections to easy-to-use tools that keep you in control of your privacy.

1. Keep your passwords safe 

Password Manager in your Google Account helps you remember and securely store strong passwords for all your online accounts. With Password Checkup, one click will tell you if any of your passwords are weak—whether you’ve reused them across multiple sites, or if we've discovered they’ve been compromised in a third-party data breach—and we’ll give you the link to change them.

2. Let Google automatically delete your data
With auto-delete for Location History, Web and App Activity and YouTube History, you can choose to have Google automatically delete your activity and location history every 3 or 18 months. You can also control what data is saved in your account with easy on/off controls in your Google Account, and even delete your data by date, product, and topic.

3. Browse the web safely with Chrome 
Safe Browsing in Chrome automatically protects you from malicious ads and warns you before you visit dangerous sites or download suspicious files. If you use Chrome, your password protections are automatically built-in. We’ll warn you if your username and password have been compromised in a known breach as you log into websites.

4. Use your favourite Google apps in Incognito mode 
Incognito mode has been one of our most popular privacy controls since it launched with Chrome in 2008, and last year we added it to YouTube and Google Maps. Tap from your profile picture to easily turn it on or off. When you turn on Incognito mode in Maps, your activity—like the places you search or get directions to—won’t be saved to your Google Account. When you turn off Incognito mode, you’ll return to a personalised Google Maps experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you.

5. Try hands-free privacy controls with the Google Assistant 
You can also manage your privacy settings with help from the Assistant. Just say, “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week” to delete Assistant activity from your Google Account, or “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you,” to tell the Assistant to forget what it heard if the Assistant responds to something that wasn’t actually a question or request. And to learn how Google keeps your data private and secure, just ask, “Hey Google, how do you keep my data safe?”

6. Check in on your privacy settings across your apps and devices 
Data Privacy Day is a great time to check in on your privacy and security settings. Take a Privacy Checkup and we’ll walk you through key privacy settings step-by-step. You can do things like choose what data—such as your location and search history—gets saved to your Google Account or control what ads you see. When you’re finished, head over to Security Checkup for personalised recommendations to help protect your data and devices, like managing which third-party apps have access to your account data.

7. Control what ads you see from Google 
We do not sell your personal information to anyone and give you transparency, choice and control over how your information is used. If you’re curious about why you’re seeing an ad, you can click on Why this ad for more information. If you no longer find a specific ad relevant, you can choose to block that ad by using the Mute this ad control. And you can always control the kinds of ads you see, or turn off ads personalisation any time in your Ad Settings.

No matter how you use our products, it’s our responsibility to keep your data private and secure. That’s why we work every day to build the best privacy experiences and strongest protections, and we’ll continue our ongoing efforts to make privacy and security simpler for you.


Celebrating community and resilience

Resilience and a sense of community have long been part of Australia’s national identity. We’ve seen that on display in spades in recent weeks and months as people across the country have battled horrific bushfires.

Countless communities have been impacted, with more than 10 million hectares burned, many lives tragically lost and thousands of homes damaged. An estimated billion animals have perished or been seriously injured. The impact on our landscape, flora and fauna has been devastating.

26 January means different things for different Australians, but we are united in our respect and admiration for our Australian firefighters, emergency services personnel and to all those who volunteer to help people in need.




Today’s Doodle recognises their contribution across the nation. Inspired by their bravery, resilience and efforts in the midst of crisis, we chose to honour and celebrate them with a Doodle featuring three firies and a koala, highlighting the volunteers and the people, places and wildlife they are trying to protect.

With several months of summer to go, more bushfires are expected. While searches for “fires near me” were already the top trending Search query in Australia in 2019, finding information about fires nearby continues to be top of mind for many Aussies. We hope that tools like the crisis map can be helpful when people are looking for timely information about the bushfires, and that support like our digital skills training can help communities get back on their feet in the months and years to come.

To all the fire and emergency services personnel and volunteers across Australia - thank you for all that you do.

Note: As the recovery continues, you can find out more and contribute to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund here

Tools for small businesses impacted by bushfires

The devastating bushfires have impacted communities across Australia. Countless small businesses have been affected - both directly through damage to premises and as customers can’t reach their business in the way they usually would.

Online tools can help to get information out and reach these audiences. We’re working to assist small businesses to help address immediate issues with their online presence.

Businesses impacted by the bushfires may want to consider taking the following steps on their Google My Business profile to provide the most timely and accurate information on Google Search and Maps:

  • Editing your hours of operation so customers can know if they are open, closed, or have modified hours on Google Search and Maps. 
  • If you’re unable to be at your physical business location, update your business phone number to your mobile phone, so you can answer business calls remotely. 
  • Create free posts to communicate timely information like service changes or inventory updates directly on the Google My Business profile. 
  • Download the free Google My Business app, and activate messaging on your Business Profile to allow customers text you directly from Google Search and Maps. 

Businesses impacted by bushfires can seek assistance related to their Google Ads campaigns by contacting the bushfire support hotline on 1800 287 850. We can help you pause campaigns, get help with payments, or start new campaigns as your business picks up.

We are also hosting free digital skills training sessions for small businesses in impacted communities to help them get back on their feet. Our first training will be in Shellharbour on 10 March 2020 and you can find more details about upcoming events at Grow with Google.

Support for bushfire relief efforts

Australians and people around the world have watched in horror as the recent bushfire crisis unfolded. Communities right across Australia have been impacted, with more than 10 million hectares burned, thousands of homes damaged, wildlife injured or killed and 27 lives tragically lost to date. Our thoughts are with all those suffering.

Throughout the bushfire crisis, Australians have searched for updates on fire conditions near them, as well as safety information. In 2019, “fires near me” was the highest Search query in Australia, highlighting the demand for accurate and timely information. We’ve provided support to help ensure people can access information from fire and emergency services authorities when they need it most. 

In December, we announced Google staff in Australia had led a fundraising effort for the Australian Red Cross for bushfire relief. This campaign with staff donations, matched contributions and a grant from Google’s charitable arm Google.org has raised more than $3 million (AUD) to date for the Australian Red Cross, WWF and bushfire response and long-term recovery efforts. We hope this can play some part in helping affected communities.

More immediately, we’ve worked with Infoxchange to add a bushfire services section to the Ask Izzy website, which lists over 370,000 support services across Australia to connect people with help in times of need.

Australians are renowned for helping each other in times of need and our thoughts are with everyone impacted and those still at risk.

In coming months we will offer Grow with Google digital skills training for small businesses in impacted communities to help them get back on their feet and connect with customers. Our first free training for small businesses and nonprofits will be in Shellharbour on 10 March 2010.

More details to come about the training available near you. And stay tuned for updates as we continue to work with fire and emergency services to connect Australians with information when they need it most.