Category Archives: Google Canada Blog

News and notes from Google Canada

How we connect Canadians to quality content and support the news ecosystem

Every day millions of Canadians come to Google to find answers to help make informed choices. At a time when access to reliable information is more critical than ever—from COVID-19 to changing political headwinds to taking a knee in support of diversity, equality and inclusion—our longstanding commitment to providing quality search results remains at the core of our mission to make the world’s information accessible and useful.

Helping journalism survive and thrive is of the utmost importance to us. Alongside other companies, publishers, governments and civic society groups, we play a significant part in building a better future for news. We also recognize that the news industry has faced challenges to their business model for decades -- first from radio, then television, and more recently from the internet which has dramatically transformed how and where each of us gets timely, relevant information.

With all of this in mind, we'd like to share how Google supports the news industry, which we believe is a fundamental pillar of every democratic society.

Value exchange:
In the pre-internet era, publishers paid to display their content at a newsstand or with a newsagent so that they could be discovered and attract an audience. Today Google Search sends Canadians to news sites millions of times a day for free -- providing news companies the opportunity to make money and grow their business and audience by showing people the publisher’s own ads, directing readers to other articles and to offers that convert people into new paying subscribers. Globally, on average, we send users to news sites 24 billion times a month.

We recognise the role news plays in educating and informing Canadians, but it may surprise some that it represents a very small proportion of the websites that people choose to visit from Google’s search results. Canadians come to Google for many things, whether it’s for home decorating videos, weather, fashion tips, or hiking trails. News is a very small part of this content, and represents a tiny number of queries - in the last year news-related queries accounted for just 1.5% of total queries on Google Search in Canada.

Further, we don’t run ads on Google News or the news results tab on Google Search. And looking at our overall business, Google last year generated around CAD$9 million in revenue—not profit—from clicks on ads against possible news-related queries in Canada. That is because the bulk of our revenue comes not from news queries, but from searches with commercial intent, such as when you want to buy “home gym equipment” and you type in the query and then click on an ad.

The value of news to Google is about informing and educating, not economics.

Investment in technology:
In addition to driving traffic, over the years we have invested in creating ad technologies and services that publishers can use to make money from their news content in a more efficient way. In addition to third-party tools, publishers can use our advertising platforms, including Ad Manager, AdSense and AdMob.

When you read a news piece online and click on a Google ad that you liked, most of the money paid by the advertiser goes to the publisher. In analyzing the revenue data of the top 100 news organizations globally, we found that on average, news publishers keep over 95 percent of the digital advertising revenue they generate when they use Google Ad Manager to show ads on their websites.

Paying for content:
People trust Google to help them find useful and authoritative information, from a diverse range of sources. To uphold that trust, search results must be determined by relevance—not by commercial partnerships. That’s why we don’t accept payment from anyone to be included in search results. We sell ads, not search results, and every ad on Google is clearly marked. That’s also why we don’t pay publishers when people click on their links in a search result. To operate in any other way would reduce the choice and relevance to our users—and would ultimately result in the loss of their trust in our services.

All websites can opt out of appearing in Search results, including news media sites, but we find not many news businesses take that step because they value the free referral traffic they get which they can then monetise through ads and new subscribers.

Just as we contribute to the Canadian economy with our pledge to help get 50,000 Canadian small businesses online by 2021 through a one million dollar commitment to expand Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program nationally, we are willing to pay to help news businesses too. And there already are instances where we do pay for content, where there is a product need -- like sports scores and more. So as part of our broader efforts to support a strong future for journalism, we recently launched a new licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience. We hope to bring this program to Canada soon as part of our overall efforts to help build a better future for the news industry in this country.

We‌ have ‌also‌ ‌committed‌ millions of dollars to‌ ‌support‌ ‌journalism‌ ‌and‌ ‌news‌ ‌publishers‌ ‌in‌ Canada through‌ the ‌‌Google‌ ‌News‌ ‌Initiative‌‌ ‌(GNI) with‌ ‌training,‌ ‌tools,‌ ‌and‌ ‌programs‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌news‌ ‌outlets‌ ‌innovate‌ ‌and‌ ‌thrive‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌digital‌ ‌world.‌ ‌This‌ ‌year‌ ‌alone,‌ ‌during‌ ‌the‌ ‌pandemic,‌ ‌we‌ ‌injected‌ ‌millions of dollars globally ‌in‌ ‌‌emergency‌ ‌funding,‌ ‌helping‌ ‌maintain‌ ‌the‌ ‌operation‌ ‌of‌ ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌5,600 publishers in 115 countries, including 150 news organizations in Canada.‌ We'll share more about the impact of GNI in Canada in the coming weeks.

Our efforts to support Canadian businesses and the economic recovery efforts along with the work we are doing with publishers demonstrate we are deeply committed to Canada and the success of all our industries. We will continue to collaborate with all industry partners for a sustainable business model in the news industry, while protecting an open web directing users to diverse, high-quality and authoritative content.

Supplementing learning with Read Along, an early-age literacy app

By mid-September, most students across Canada will have begun their school year, either online or in the classroom. As families adjust to new learning models this year, many parents may be looking for ways to support and track their child's learning, especially in areas such as literacy - an important building block and element to a child's education.

Earlier this year, we made our early age literacy app, Read Along , available in nine languages ​​and in more than 180 countries to help families from around the world looking to improve their children's reading skills. Five year old Izzy was one of the many students who started using the app. We chatted with fellow Googler and father Craig Ranta about his experience teaching literacy during COVID-19 and any helpful tips he's learned along the way.

What's your reading ritual at home?
We keep up with regular reading through the day and every day before bed we pick a book and read together. Because of many of the changes with COVID-19, there's been less exposure this year to classroom activities around reading so Mommy and Daddy Teacher have tried to do our best!

Tell us about the Read Along App, did it fit well into your at-home reading experience?
What we loved about Read Along, is that it's a great way to explore reading in a uniquely interactive way. When you're reading with Diya (the reading helper), every time you read correctly you receive points, prizes and even praise. My daughter became motivated to learn more words, and practice pronunciations so that she could gain more prizes. Even though her speech isn't perfect, the app captured what she was trying to say and helped her walk through sentences. It was great exposure to new and longer words.

How can other families leverage Read Along for reading at home?
Read Along is a great break from the regular routine, and makes reading a more interactive experience. There are also games after finishing a story so it's a great way for kids to improve their literacy skills while having fun. For Izzy some of the stories were a bit more advanced than what she would typically be reading, but it still allowed her to see and hear more challenging words and read them aloud.

This year, we're inviting parents to read to their kids -both with and without Read Along- and share stories written by their children during the month of September. Read Along will publish some of the submissions on the app. We're also sharing a handbook for educators (even those in the most low-tech classrooms) with ideas to help them leverage Read Along in their lesson plans.

For parents looking for additional resources for at-home reading and learning, check out our Tech Toolkit for Families and Guardians, or the Teach from Anywhere hub.

Posted by the Google Canada Team

Introducing Market Finder, a new free tool to help Canadian businesses go global

Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. Not only are they the fabric of our communities, bringing neighborhoods together, but they employ 90% of the private sector workforce and make up roughly 97.9% of all Canadian businesses. 

These small business owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but can be less knowledgeable about finding new markets further afield, whether it be understanding the culture and buying trends, export legalities, or payment options for their product in other countries. In Canada, fewer than 10% of small and medium-sized businesses export , yet those that do are more likely to survive and scale. 

Export presents a huge potential for Canadian businesses. Thirty nine per percent of all clicks to Canadian Advertisers come from overseas ( Source: Google Data, Canada, Finance, Jan-Dec 2019)DECIEM , a collection of Canadian beauty brands knows firsthand the benefits of going global. They started in 2013 with one product in one market, and now they are a global business. “Globalization and localization has always been at the forefront of the growth strategy for DECIEM, enabling us to reach a wider audience than would be possible in Canada alone,” says Jordanne Dyck, Digital Director, DECIEM.“We start by leveraging established local partners as we enter new markets to propel awareness, which then translates to growth of our direct to consumer channels in those markets. Today our products are sold globally with about 90% of our sales generated outside of Canada. "

It's a similar story for Toronto-based, Inkbox , established by brothers Tyler and Braden Handley in 2015. The Handley's quickly took their business global, using Google Ads and platforms like YouTube , where they've built a community of over 30 thousand subscribers. Today, they have sold more than one million tattoos to over 150 countries, and the US accounts for 60% of their total sales. Going global from the start unlocked valuable venture capital investment for Inkbox, and they were able to prove that their business could be profitable in larger markets around the world. 

The internet has broken down international trade barriers, making it possible for even small and medium-size businesses to become truly global players. But taking those first steps into the wider world can be daunting. That's why today, we're introducing Market Finder , a free, one-stop-shop for everything that a business needs to grow internationally. The tool will not only identify the best markets for your product or service, but also tell you how to prepare for new markets and suggest the right digital marketing solutions. 

“This new tool aligns with Export Development Canada's efforts to help Canadian innovators connect with markets presenting the best opportunities for them. We are so pleased to see partners like Google Canada work alongside us to help small businesses seize the opportunity to reach new customers globally, "said Carl Burlock, Executive Vice-President and Chief Business Officer at Export Development Canada. 

Market Finder offers guides, videos, and tips making it as easy as possible for businesses to go global following three steps: 

Step 1: Market Finder recommends the best markets for your business 
Create your global business plan using detailed market insights. How do your potential customers use the internet? What's their disposable income? Market Finder recommends the best market for your business, and gives you all the insights you need to research your next global market.

Step 2: Prepare to go global 
Once you've decided on your next market, use our tools, guides, and resources to plan the next steps of the journey to your new global market. Market Finder will help you navigate areas like localization, international payments, and logistics. 

Step 3: Reach global customers looking for what you sell 
Every successful global business needs a watertight marketing plan. What is the best language to advertise in? Which devices are your customers using and what's the best way to reach them? Market Finder helps you make marketing decisions with data and customer insights, and suggest the best tools to put it all into action. 

Android 11’s Pixel-first features are here

A few times a year, your Pixel receives a boost with software updates that send new features, tricks, and apps to your phone. And this time, with new Pixel-first features on Android 11, your Pixel has even more smarts to make it better and more helpful—like giving you new ways to control your media and organize your apps, and making it easier to communicate with friends and family. And it all comes with privacy as a priority. Everything happens over the air, so you get that new-phone feeling over and over again.

Prioritize people, with Pixel
Beginning today, new Android 11 features are hitting Pixel first to help you focus on connecting with those close to you, whether you’re meeting in a park for a socially distant picnic, or quickly responding to your loved ones’ texts.

You can now use Live View* with Location Sharing in Google Maps to easily meet up with friends IRL. If your friends have chosen to share their location with you, simply tap on their icon and then on Live View   on the right side of your screen. You’ll see where they are in relation to you, along with how far away they are. Tapping on will then show you arrows and directions placed right on top of your world so you can see exactly which way to go.

The new Smart Reply on your Pixel’s keyboard makes typing effortless by giving you helpful suggestions when you’re using chat apps. And it’s all processed on your phone to protect your privacy. (Right now this is available in English only and requires use of Gboard. It’s not available for all chat apps.)

Get more control over your phone
Now your Pixel can make app suggestions based on your daily routines so you can quickly get to tools you need, when you need them. Your phone will recommend apps you use at different times of the day, like Messages for your daily check-ins, Google Maps for your afternoon stroll or the media apps you use in the evening to help you wind down from a busy day. 

Your Pixel will also give you more convenient ways to select text and images, or take a screenshot with new overview actions. So whether you’re copying and pasting, saving or sharing the content you want, you’ll have more options over how you select and engage with content on your Pixel. 

Make your Pixel as unique as you are, starting with your home screen. Now, your Pixel can help organize your phone with new intelligent suggestions for folder names. Quickly group apps by theme, like Photography, News, Navigation, Fitness and more.

Pixel x Android 11
In addition to everything coming to Pixel first, you’ll also get all of the great new Android 11 features as well, giving you easier ways to manage your conversations, connected devices, privacy and beyond.

Android 11 begins rolling out to Pixel devices today; learn more about all of the Android 11 updates here.

* Not available in India. Requires up to date Google Street View imagery, a working data connection and bright outdoor light. Maps and navigation may not be available in all areas. See for more details.

Introducing the first cohort of the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders

In a time of so much socio economic uncertainty, one thing is clear: when more women build their own businesses, economies grow. In Canada, only 16% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women. Yet research shows that by advancing gender equality and women’s participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP.

In order to provide women with high-quality mentorship opportunities and the support that they need to successfully scale, we launched the first Google for Startups Accelerator for Women Founders, a three-month virtual program for seed to Series A technology startups based in North America.

After receiving hundreds of applications, we’re excited to welcome the below twelve startups into our inaugural cohort, including five Canadian companies from across the country:

  • Coconut Software (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) Customer engagement solutions that modernize how banks and credit unions engage, creating a streamlined experience for both staff and customers

  • COI Energy (Tampa, Florida) Brings together utilities and businesses to detect and eliminate energy waste in buildings to optimize the electric grid - creating a climate friendly economy for future generations to live, work, play and thrive

  • CultivatePeople (Arlington, Virginia) The company’s compensation software, Kamsa, provides global market compensation data and helps companies make data driven pay decisions so they can eliminate pay gaps.

  • CurieAI (Santa Clara, California) Transforming care for respiratory illnesses like Asthma and COPD through AI-based models that help physicians understand respiratory health, disease progression, and treatment effectiveness at an individualized and population level.

  • Fairygodboss (New York City, New York) The largest career community for women and provides free resources like career connections, job listings, virtual recruiting events, community advice, and the hard-to-find information about how companies treat women.

  • Heirlume (Hamilton, Ontario) Making trademark registration as easy and accessible as domain registration by providing the first self-serve professional-quality trademark search and application platform.

  • Kapwing (San Francisco, California) A company on a mission to enable digital storytelling via an online image, video, and GIF editing platform.

  • Livestock Water Recycling (Calgary, Alberta) A machine learning enabled nutrient recovery technology (PLANT) and myPLANT data dashboard creates value for food producers by digitizing their waste outputs, allowing reduced expenses and environmental impact.

  • My Intelligent Machines [MIMs] (Montreal, Quebec) Helping life-science companies use their big data and AI to maximize food and drug production.

  • Possip (Nashville, Tennessee) Using text-message based pulse checks in over 100 languages to allow schools and districts to quickly and routinely hear from their community of families and staff, and act on the insights they learn.

  • Wisy (San Francisco, California) Developing technology to bring digital efficiency into the physical world, supporting consumer products businesses and making them thrive in the new economy.

  • Zennea Technologies (Vancouver, BC) Aiming to be the first clinically-proven medical device for chronic snoring and mild OSA - so people who snore won’t have to worry about ineffective solutions ever again.

This cohort brings together a diverse set of women-led startups from across Canada and the US. Collectively, these founders are solving many of the world's largest challenges - from access to education to global environmental sustainability.

We’re proud to support women founders and connect them with the best of Google’s products people and technology. In addition to mentorship and technical project support, the accelerator also includes deep dives and workshops focused on product design, customer acquisition and leadership development for founders. Our cohort will also join our global Google for Startups Women community; a peer-led community of women entrepreneurs from around the world. Accelerator programming begins September 28 - we can’t wait to get started. 

Find high-quality apps for kids on Google Play

We’ve heard from parents that it’s difficult to dig through all the content that's out there for kids. Today, we’re making it easier for parents to find the good stuff, with a new Kids tab on Google Play filled with “Teacher approved” apps that are both enriching and entertaining. We decided to launch the Kids tab a bit earlier than planned because parents who have tried it out told us that it’s been helpful, especially now with their kids home from school and spending more time with screens. Because it’s early, you may not see some of your favorite apps in there just yet, but we’re adding new content as quickly as possible.

“Teacher approved” kid-friendly app content
Great content for kids can take many forms: Does it spark curiosity? Does it help your child learn? Is it just plain fun? To share the best apps for kids on the Play Store, we've teamed up with academic experts and teachers across the country, including our lead advisors, Joe Blatt (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and Dr. Sandra Calvert (Georgetown University). Apps that have been rated by teachers and meet our quality standards receive a "Teacher approved" badge. 

Apps are rated on factors like age-appropriateness, quality of experience, enrichment, and delight. We include information in the app listing about why the app was rated highly to help parents determine if the app is right for their child.

How to find “Teacher approved” apps in Google Play
Whenever parents search the Play Store, they can look for the “Teacher approved” badge to quickly see which apps have been reviewed and rated highly by teachers. If you want to browse content that's been "Teacher approved", simply go to the "Kids" tab. And, if you’re a Google Play Pass subscriber, a great selection of “Teacher approved” content is available within "Apps and games for kids."

Today’s announcement wouldn’t be possible without teachers who’ve been working closely with us for the last few years to curate apps that can help kids develop, grow and have fun. We trust teachers to enrich our kids while they’re in school, and we’re grateful they’ve shared their expertise to rate the apps kids use when they’re not in school as well.

The new Kids tab with “Teacher approved” apps will roll out in Canada on Google Play over the next few days, and we’ll be expanding to new countries in the coming months. We’d love to hear what you think as we continue to make the Play Store more helpful for parents. You can share your thoughts by opening the menu in the Play Store and tapping “Help and feedback.” And don’t forget—for parents who want to set digital ground rules for their kids, like setting time limits on the apps your child has on their device, check out our Family Link app (not available in Quebec).

Explorer Kids Space: A way to nurture your kid’s curiosity

Parents have told us that they’re constantly wrestling with the role of technology in their children’s lives, and this is especially true for the many families who are spending more time at home. But kids are natural explorers and when they have access to great content, it can be a magical experience--they can read up on their favourite dinosaur, watch videos on how to bake a treat or discover new hobbies.

Family Link was created and built into our core products to give parents the tools they need to stay involved and help manage their child’s online experiences, from setting screen time limits to content safety filters, privacy controls and more. But we’ve heard that parents want more than just parental controls; with so much content out there, they also need help finding things that are enriching and engaging for their kids. To help meet this request, we took a first step with the launch of a new kids tab in Google Play that helps parents easily find and pick “teacher-approved” apps for their kids.

Today, we’re continuing to build upon these efforts with Kids Space, a new kids mode on select Android tablets that features apps, books and videos for your kids to explore, learn and have fun*. Kids Space will be available globally on certain Lenovo™ tablets first, including the new Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD Gen 2, and will be coming to more Android tablets soon.†

Designed for nurturing your kid’s curiosity and creativity
Kids Space is designed with your kid at the center of the experience and made for them to become explorers of the things they love. By selecting their interests, your kids will see new and engaging content to read, play and make. Kids can even customize their experience by creating their own character.