Category Archives: Google Canada Blog

News and notes from Google Canada

Canadian Tennis Star Leylah Fernandez joins #TeamPixel

U.S. Open finalist will be the face of Pixel 6 for French-speaking Canada



It’s 2001 and Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” is blaring from car radios, Drake made his debut on “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, we were all recovering from the shock of 9/11. And Harry Potter first appeared on movie screens giving us the license to believe in magic. Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian to do a space walk. And yet, we could only take fuzzy, grainy photos with our cell phones. 

Twenty years later, the world has changed, online and off. The Harry Potter crew are no longer children and we’ve moved from Nickelback to The Weeknd. The hit musical Come from Away is returning to the stage to remind us that human connection and kindness still define us as Canadians. And wow, can we ever take a high quality photo with our new cell phones (especially with the Pixel, naturally). 

Google Canada has changed, too. This month marks the 20th anniversary of Google’s arrival in Canada. And if you don’t remember the pomp and circumstance around the event, it’s because there wasn’t any. 

Google Canada began with a single hire in a small workspace in Toronto in 2001 and a few short years later, Google opened its Montréal office. In 2005, Google set up shop in Canada’s technology hub, Waterloo, Ontario, and over the years we have become a part of the Waterloo region technology community, contributing volunteer hours to STEM education programs and hiring engineers to build Google products that Canadians and people around the world use every day. And now, Google Canada is home to more than 2,500 employees. 

We’ve had our share of adventures - bringing maps to the north, helping Canadian businesses tap into the digital economy, opening Cloud regions in Montréal and Toronto to serve Canadian businesses, introducing the world to Canadian creators on YouTube and building new offices in Waterloo, Toronto and Montréal. For the past twenty years, we’ve been fortunate enough to help Canadians search, grow and connect to the world around them using Google products and services. 

Creating opportunity for all Canadians 
During our time here, Google Canada has been investing in the communities where we live and work, through Google.org Community Grants, Google for Startups Accelerator programs, and investments in digital skills training. Over the last 20 years, Google has invested $25 million in Canadian non profits, looking to expand economic opportunity and to help Canadians learn new skills, through commitments to organizations like NPower Canada and ComIT

And we have a long history of working closely with community partners and organizations across Canada to make STEM programs accessible to all students. In 2021, we reached more than 200,000 Canadian learners through STEM outreach and we trained approximately 4,000 educators in CS First. Our STEM and CS First outreach is orchestrated by Google Canada in conjunction with The Cobblestone Collective and supplemented by our Google Canada volunteers to support their local communities. 

 A home for Canadian engineering excellence 

Canada has been synonymous with top notch computer science and engineering for more than 50 years. And most recently, AI research and advancement. It’s for this reason that in 2013 Google welcomed Geoffrey Hinton, a pioneer in the field of deep learning, to the Google Toronto office. And in 2016, Google Research started a Canadian centre of AI excellence by bringing Google Brain to Montréal. Google Brain is a deep learning artificial intelligence research team dedicated to artificial intelligence and every day, these world-leading teams tackle some of the biggest technological challenges of our time. 

Google Canada engineers have conceived of, developed, and implemented innovative products that many Canadians might take for granted: 
  • In 2011, Google Canada engineers played a key role in the development of the first Gmail app for iOS, bringing a Gmail app to the world for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
  • The Cloud Healthcare API, developed by the Cloud Healthcare & Life Sciences team in Waterloo since 2017, allows healthcare customers to organize and analyze their healthcare data in a scalable, compliant and privacy sensitive way. In 2020, the Cloud Healthcare API became widely available to healthcare organizations around the world. 
  • Our Safe Browsing team in Montréal protects over 4 billion devices worldwide each year, delivering millions of warnings a month about phishing scams and other online threats. 
Providing platforms for Canadian success stories: 
For over 20 years, Google has helped Canadian businesses of all sizes use our digital tools to grow and reach customers across the globe. Before COVID-19, making the transition to digital was aspirational for most business owners. When the pandemic upended all of our lives, it became essential. To better understand how Google products helped Canadian workers and businesses in 2020, Google commissioned independent consultancy Public First to take a look and they found that Google’s search and advertising tools helped provide an estimated $26 billion in economic activity for over 600,000 businesses in Canada. And in 2020 alone, the total economic impact of Google products and services in Canada is equivalent to 1.3% of total GDP, or the equivalent of supporting 235,000 jobs. 

 And YouTube has facilitated the rise of the Canadian creator economy, helping content creators build sustainable businesses on the platform. A report by Oxford Economics estimates that in 2020, YouTube’s creative ecosystem contributed approximately $923 million to Canada’s GDP. In that same period YouTube supported the equivalent of 34,100 full-time employment jobs across Canada. Access to YouTube’s open platform continues to create a real and positive impact on the wider Canadian economy, and we can’t wait to watch the next generation of Canadian creators grow, create and connect on the platform. 

This month, Google Canada is officially 20 years old and more than 2,500 Googlers strong. We’re working, living, and growing in communities across this country. We’re delivering innovations that are helping people through the toughest times of their lives. And we’re doing all of that as we stay committed to the same goal we were founded on: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. 

It only seems fitting that to celebrate the past 20 years, we take a look back at the most interesting searches over these two decades, to reflect back what Canadians have been curious about. And it turns out, what we’re most curious about is us. At its heart, Google is a place for people to ask questions – about ourselves, current events, and the world we are striving to create. So, after 20 years of Googling, we just wanted to say to all Canadians: thanks for asking. 

Here’s to everything that comes next. 

Our $600,000 commitment to reskill Indigenous job seekers for new careers in technology





Research shows there’s a significant skills and education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada, particularly when it comes to connectivity, graduation rates and digital literacy. And the economic impact of the pandemic has increased this divide, disproportionately impacting the employment rates of Indigenous populations. As Canada rebuilds post COVID-19, we have an opportunity to build back a more inclusive and resilient economy. 



That’s why today, Google Canada announced a $600,000 commitment to provide free digital skills training to Indigenous job seekers across Canada. The support includes a $500,000 Google.org grant towards ComIT’s Recoding Futures IT training program, an additional $100,000 in funding to support Indspire with their education and job training programs and an allocation of Google Career Certificate scholarships for Indigenous job seekers. 



ComIT’s Recoding Futures program was created last year with the support of Google.org to provide IT training to Indigenous learners across Canada. In the first year of the Recoding Futures program, we saw overwhelming interest, with over 800 applicants, double than what was expected. Our additional support of the program moving forwards will allow ComIT to expand the program and accommodate as many applicants as possible. The program runs virtually and covers topics like Design Thinking, HTML, CSS, Javascript .NET, Python, React and Node. 



Google Canada’s $100,000 commitment to Indspire will support their existing job training programs, and we will also provide an allocation of dedicated Google Career Certificate scholarships for Indigenous job seekers. The scholarships can be used towards Google Career Certificate courses, which are delivered through NPower Canada and equips learners with theoretical and practical knowledge to be successful in an entry-level technology job. 



Applications are now open for ComIT’s Recoding Futures program. Interested applicants can visit ComIT.org to register. 



For more information on Google Career Certificates visit g.co/certificates-canada. To find out more on scholarships available, visit Indspire’s website



Today’s support is in addition to Google Canada’s $2 million commitment to reskill job seekers for new careers in technology in under six months, announced earlier this year. We look forward to working alongside ComIT and Indspire to help bridge the longstanding digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, increase free access to digital skills education and support economic growth within Indigenous communities. 


Our $600,000 commitment to reskill Indigenous job seekers for new careers in technology





Research shows there’s a significant skills and education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada, particularly when it comes to connectivity, graduation rates and digital literacy. And the economic impact of the pandemic has increased this divide, disproportionately impacting the employment rates of Indigenous populations. As Canada rebuilds post COVID-19, we have an opportunity to build back a more inclusive and resilient economy. 



That’s why today, Google Canada announced a $600,000 commitment to provide free digital skills training to Indigenous job seekers across Canada. The support includes a $500,000 Google.org grant towards ComIT’s Recoding Futures IT training program, an additional $100,000 in funding to support Indspire with their education and job training programs and an allocation of Google Career Certificate scholarships for Indigenous job seekers. 



ComIT’s Recoding Futures program was created last year with the support of Google.org to provide IT training to Indigenous learners across Canada. In the first year of the Recoding Futures program, we saw overwhelming interest, with over 800 applicants, double than what was expected. Our additional support of the program moving forwards will allow ComIT to expand the program and accommodate as many applicants as possible. The program runs virtually and covers topics like Design Thinking, HTML, CSS, Javascript .NET, Python, React and Node. 



Google Canada’s $100,000 commitment to Indspire will support their existing job training programs, and we will also provide an allocation of dedicated Google Career Certificate scholarships for Indigenous job seekers. The scholarships can be used towards Google Career Certificate courses, which are delivered through NPower Canada and equips learners with theoretical and practical knowledge to be successful in an entry-level technology job. 



Applications are now open for ComIT’s Recoding Futures program. Interested applicants can visit ComIT.org to register. 



For more information on Google Career Certificates visit g.co/certificates-canada. To find out more on scholarships available, visit Indspire’s website



Today’s support is in addition to Google Canada’s $2 million commitment to reskill job seekers for new careers in technology in under six months, announced earlier this year. We look forward to working alongside ComIT and Indspire to help bridge the longstanding digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, increase free access to digital skills education and support economic growth within Indigenous communities. 


You Can’t Stop The Beat – Apple Music now available on Nest Devices in Canada

We’ve got the music covered for your next holiday party! As of today, you can now ask Google Assistant on Google Nest and other Assistant-enabled smart speakers and displays to play your favorites on Apple Music in Canada. 

Apple Music subscribers can search and play songs, albums and playlists just by using their voice. Not sure what you want to listen to? You can also use your Google Assistant to play music by genre, mood or activity. 

To set up Apple Music on your device, first link your Apple Music account in the Google Home app. After it is set up, you can easily queue up your favorite playlist, artist, or any of the award-winning Apple Music Radio stations live streaming today’s hits, classics, and country to play over your connected device. 

Users also have the ability to set Apple Music as your default music streaming service in the Google Home App for a seamless integration and playback experience. 

With Apple Music now available on Nest devices such as Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, Apple Music subscribers now have more choices when it comes to where they can utilize their Apple Music service. 

Australia, Canada, India, S. Korea and Mexico are the latest regions to offer Apple Music on compatible devices. Last year, Apple Music began rolling out on Nest and other Assistant-enabled smart speakers and displays in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan.

A look back at Canada’s #YearInSearch: 2021

In 2021, Canadians searched for how to recover, and ways to come back stronger.

We searched for “COVID vaccine near me”, “vaccine passport” and “What percentage of Canada is vaccinated?”. We looked inward and tried to better understand Canada’s history when we searched for Residential schools, and asked “Why were they created?”. We were engaged voters, searching for “Federal Election” and “How to register to vote in Canada”. And from local to global, Canadians searched for ongoing current events to find information and answers.

Canada’s 2021 Year in Search:





Top Searches in Sports

With the return of live sporting events in 2021, it’s no surprise that top searches were for NBA and NHL. We found ways to re-connect through games, as we searched and celebrated Canadian athletes like Leylah Fernandez, Andre De Grasse, Penny Oleksiak, and so many other local heroes.
Top Searches in Entertainment

Like last year, people continued to search for ways to stay connected and entertained at home. The South Korean success, Squid Game, was the most searched TV show, while also appearing on several other lists this year. Canadians also came out in full force to search and support Simu Liu as this year’s superhero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.



This December also marks 20 years of Google in Canada. We took a look back at the top searches over 20 years, and found that the most searched topic in Canada is, well, Canada. While on the surface this is pretty funny, there is something very special about a country in search of itself. We searched “What it means to be Canadian,” “How to immigrate to Canada,” and “What native land am I on?” Canadians continue to question, research and understand how we can be the best version of ourselves. Looking back, we at Google are so proud to be a small part of the lives of Canadians - businesses that come to the platform to grow their business, new Canadians that use Translate for day-to-day interactions, or parents trying to understand what their kids mean when they keep saying “YOLO”.

As Canadians continue to find ways to heal, to connect, and to build back stronger, search on. 
Explore more of the 2021 Canadian trending lists here.
Hibaq Ali and Alexandra Klein, Google Canada



Google, MLSE and the NBA extend partnership through to 2026

Here at Google, we believe progress happens through the power of the ‘we’, not the ‘I’. That’s why we create truly open and helpful products that bring people together, while partnering with organizations that share this same vision. 

With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and the NBA to make Google Pixel the official smartphone of the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the NBA for the next five seasons. 

This partnership will leverage the strengths of MLSE’s full ecosystem of sports brands, including the Raptors, Maple Leafs, Toronto FC and Argos, reaching millions of fans across Canada. 

The beginnings of this partnership date back to October 2017, when we collaborated with the Raptors for the launch of Google Home. As part of this deal, Google Nest will remain the official smart home technology partner of both MLSE and the NBA through to the 2025-2026 season, and Chromebook will become the official laptop of the Raptors, Leafs, TFC and Argos. 


Why is this important? The answer is simple. Having an open ecosystem of accessible and friendly smartphones, home computing, powered by Google software and connected objects helps Canadians reach their goals while staying connected. 

We think human progress, big and small, can only happen when technology speaks to everybody, for everybody, in the most inclusive, open, friendly and human way. This aligns with MLSE’s commitment to establish partnerships with organizations and co-create purpose-driven programs. 

This partnership will further showcase the innovation and helpfulness that Google hardware and products bring through a series of advertisements, entertaining content and fresh activations featuring exciting sports talent from our own backyard. 

This is bold and changemaking, just like our culture and our communities. Together, we’re better - and we can’t wait to share more in the coming months.

Google Maps holiday trends worth mulling over

Now that we’re in the final stretch of the year, we can’t help but get excited for the holidays! And this holiday season, many of us are feeling more comfortable traveling to see loved ones, shopping in person, getting our hair done, dining out and hitting the town. 


As we continue to navigate through this continuously evolving new normal, we took a look at Google Maps trends in Canada to determine the busiest times to visit popular places like malls, airports and hair salons, along with transportation and shopping trends for when you get to your destination. We also looked at the top cultural attractions to help you make your list, check it twice and get through the holiday season safely, efficiently and joyfully. 


Crowded spaces not your thing? 

Maps can help you skip the line. Whether you’re stocking up for an upcoming feast or refilling your hand sanitizer supply, no one likes waiting in line. Using Google Maps data, we’ve compiled the best and worst times to visit the grocery store, based on the live busyness information in Google Maps: 



Last year we saw popular gift stores like Toys R’ Us, LCBO, SAQ and Indigo get a lot of attention in December, with Maps searches for these places almost doubling when compared to the previous month. If you leave your shopping to the last minute and missed online shipping cut-off dates, here are the best and worst times to fill your sleigh at shopping centres and department stores, according to Google Maps data: 




Some Canadians are still travelling for work, others are counting down the days to buckle up and take to the skies to either reunite with family or to escape to a snowy or sunny destination. If travel is in your future, take a look at these least busy airport times: 


New feature helps you navigate malls, airports and transit stations in a snap 🏃 

There’s nothing quite like running through the mall in search of a last-minute gift or dashing across the airport to catch your flight. To help you find your way around large buildings fast, we’re launching the Directory tab globally on Android and iOS for all airports, malls and transit stations around the world. This new feature allows you to quickly locate stores inside a large shopping mall or find amenities in airports like lounges, car rentals and parking lots. For each of these categories, you can see additional helpful information, including opening hours or business reviews. 




Let someone else do the dishes 

Planning to take advantage of your time off to dine out on the town? Are you due for a romantic tête à tête or a catch up with friends? We’ve got you covered, here are the busiest times for restaurants: 



Maybe you’re considering changing things up this year by foregoing the entire holiday cooking stress? According to Google Maps data from last year, on Christmas Eve, Chinese food was the most popular cuisine that Canadians turned to on Google Maps. On New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, Japanese food is the top searched cuisine in Maps. 


Sugar and spice and everything nice 

With all that holiday hustle and bustle, make sure you take the time to treat yourself! According to Google Maps searches, people look for nail salons more than three times as much as they search for gyms in December. If you’re looking to get pampered at the salon, consider making your appointment at a less busy time: 


Holiday Activities Not exactly pine-ing to see a big tree? No problem. Here are 10 of the most popular cultural attractions across Canada, according to your reviews in Google Maps: 

The Orpheum, Vancouver 
Winspear Centre, Edmonton 
Fort Edmonton Park, Edmonton 

Regardless of how you plan to plan and celebrate the season, we hope you do so safely with a little holiday help from Google Maps. 

Canadian Actor Simu Liu named ambassador for Google Pixel 6

Liu working on ad and social media projects to promote Google’s flagship smartphone 




Google Canada has recruited film and TV star Simu Liu to act as the spokesperson for their latest smartphones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro

Liu, fresh off his star-making role playing superhero Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, will now collaborate with Google to create content for Canadian audiences that celebrates the latest generation of Pixel smartphones, which launched in Canada on October 28. In the same way that Simu has helped spearhead conversations about representation in film and TV, Simu’s vision seamlessly lines up with Google’s values of helpfulness and inclusivity. Liu will now shoot a series of digital ad and social media spots that contextualize some of the new phones’ most interesting features in a style that puts Simu’s personality front and centre. 

“In my industry, everyone tends to gravitate towards one way of communicating. But I think it’s time for me to make a change and shake things up with Google.” says Liu. “I’ve been trying out the Pixel 6 Pro for a couple weeks now, and I’m excited to share my thoughts on Pixel with the world.” 

Born in China before moving to Canada at the age of five, Liu first gained acclaim on the CBC comedy series Kim’s Convenience. In both his acting career and personal life, Liu has broken barriers around Asian representation, serving as a champion for his community. Google Canada has identified Simu’s important role in the space of representation, making him a perfect fit for the Pixel 6. 

“Simu Liu has captured the hearts of Canadians with his inspirational story and newfound stardom, and we’re excited to continue telling that story through the Pixel 6,”says Laura Pearce, Head of Marketing, Google Canada. "The Pixel 6 is our most progressive phone, bringing out what makes people unique and connecting them to those around them; perfectly aligned with the message that Simu is bringing to fans in Canada and across the world." 

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are a culmination of Google’s long-term investments in AI and machine learning, featuring its first System on a Chip (SoC), the Google Tensor. With the Pixel 6 being the first true all-Google phone inside and out, the powerful Google Tensor chip unlocks the full potential of the phone’s camera system, Android user interface and AI that Google is known for. 

Google Tensor allows the Pixel 6 to adapt to each individual user and provide some of the most accommodating and inclusive features ever offered on a Pixel phone. This includes Real Tone technology, which uses camera tuning models and algorithms to help more accurately highlight the nuances and details of darker skin tones, and Live Translate, which combines Pixel’s speech recognition with Google’s translation capabilities to help users to communicate in languages other than their own across a number of applications². 

Liu will film the new spots and social media content later this month, with the content beginning to appear in Canada and his social media channels (@simuliu) this holiday season. The Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are now available on the Google Store

1 Based on a survey conducted by Google using pre-production devices in early September 2021. 
2 Not available in all languages or countries. Not available on all media or apps. See g.co/pixel/livetranslate for more information.