Category Archives: Google New Zealand Blog

New Zealand news and notes from Google

Backing Asia Pacific’s emerging newsroom leaders | Google News Initiative

Across Asia Pacific, a new generation of journalists is telling the region’s stories and tackling the challenges facing the news industry. The Google News Initiative (GNI) Newsroom Leadership Program, a collaboration between GNI and the Columbia School of Journalism, was established to develop the business and product expertise of these emerging newsroom leaders. Today we’re announcing the 2019-2020 Program fellows and sharing more about their projects.

The projects they chose are as diverse as their backgrounds. These journalists hail from Pakistan to Japan, India to Australia. They’ll be looking at how digital tools can make great storytelling even better, championing socially-conscious reporting and investigating new approaches to political polling. And they’ll explore new membership and revenue models for news, helping fund the future of journalism in their countries.

Kiwi Editor Phillip O’Sullivan has been chosen as one of the 12 Fellows, and will research new methodologies and technologies in political polling ahead of New Zealand’s 2020 elections.
Phillip is Editor of Newsgathering at TVNZ’s 1 News where he oversees all of TVNZ’s news reporters across New Zealand, including its political team and overseas correspondents in Sydney, London and New York. O’Sullivan is a former TVNZ news reporter and worked for CNN for 15 years in Hong Kong and the Middle East.

As they work on their projects, the fellows will take part in seminars and develop professional networks across the region. To find out more, we spoke to Raju Narisetti, the Director of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia, who helped develop the program.

What are the skills you think emerging newsroom leaders need to be successful today?

The most critical skill is an understanding of the business of journalism and the forces shaping the industry. They also need to hone the ability to think of content as a product, and the willingness to let data inform their decisions. These “hard” skills need to be coupled with “power skills” like developing diverse teams, leading with purpose and managing relentless change.

How do you think the GNI Newsroom Leadership Program addresses this?

The fellows will experience a mix of theory and practice in seminars during their in-residence weeks at Columbia School of Journalism. Practitioners as well as academics will deliver the sessions, which are specifically designed for the media industry. Topics will range from revenue streams and media sustainability to building video, audience and analytics frameworks and teams for the next decade. They’ll also get hands-on workshops on developing leadership and “managing up.”

What words of advice do you have for the fellows as they prepare to go through the program?

Be really present during the in-residency classroom weeks, because your day job will still be waiting for you. Think of the other participants as a learning and sharing opportunity that can become a professional support network during the year and beyond. And have strong beliefs (about your project or the news business), but hold them loosely, so you can embrace new ideas and solutions.

Caption: Our 2019-2020 Fellows, as pictured from left to right, starting from the top left: Gyanu Adhikari, Phillip O’Sullivan, Akane Imamura, Betina Hughes, Danielle Cronin, Marium Chaudhry, Nitya Thirumalai, Hyuntaek Lee, Ragamalika Karthikeyan, Yusuf Wijanarko, Anisa Menur Maulani, and Lynn D’Cruz.

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Indigenous speakers share their languages on Google Earth

Of the 7,000 languages spoken around the globe, 2,680 Indigenous languages—more than one third of the world's languages—are in danger of disappearing. The United Nations declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages to raise awareness about these languages and their contribution to global diversity. To help preserve them, our new Google Earth tour, Celebrating Indigenous Languages, shares audio recordings from more than 50 Indigenous language speakers.

“It is a human right to be able to speak your own language,” says Tania Haerekiterā Tapueluelu Wolfgramm, a Māori and Tongan person who works as an educator and activist in Aotearoa--the Māori name for New Zealand--and other Pacific countries. “You don’t have a culture without the language.”

Tania is one of several dozen Indigenous language speakers, advocates and educators who helped create the tour. Thanks to their contributions, people can click on locations meaningful to Indigenous speakers and hear people offer traditional greetings, sing songs, or say common words and phrases in their languages.

The healing power of speaking one’s own language
The people who recorded audio in their languages and connected Google with Indigenous speakers each have their own story about why revitalizing Indigenous languages strikes a chord for them.

For Arden Ogg, director of Canada’s Cree Literacy Network, and Dolores Greyeyes Sand, a Plains Cree person and Cree language teacher, the focus is on providing resources for language learners. For Brian Thom, a cultural anthropologist and professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, the interest grew out of his work helping Indigenous communities map their traditional lands.

Brian asked yutustanaat, a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and a language teacher in British Columbia, to record the hul’q’umi’num’ language. “Our language is very healing,” says yutustanaat. “It brings out caring in our people and helps our students be strong, because the language comes from the heart.” In her recording, yutustanaat speaks the traditional hul’q’umi’num’ greeting: ‘i ch ‘o’ ‘uy’ ‘ul’ or “How are you?”

By using their languages—and sharing them with the rest of the world—Indigenous people create closer connections to a culture that is often endangered or has outright disappeared.

Wikuki Kingi, a Māori Master Carver, recorded traditional chants in Te Reo Māori, an Eastern Polynesian language indigenous to New Zealand. He says, “Speaking Te Reo Māori connects me to my relatives, to the land, rivers, and the ocean, and it can take me to another time and place.”

Ensuring that generations to come will hear their languages
“I do this not for myself, but for my children and grandchildren, so that in the future, they’ll hear our language,” says Dolores, who recorded audio in her native Plains Cree.

To ensure that future generations hear and speak Indigenous languages, more needs to be done to support their revitalization. Tania Wolfgramm suggests checking out how her nonprofit organization, Global Reach Initiative &; Development Pacific, uses technology to connect far-flung Indigenous people to their traditional communities—like bringing Google Street View to the remote island of Tonga. Arden Ogg directs people interested in Indigenous languages to the Cree Literacy Network, which publishes books in Cree and English to facilitate language learning. And a video from the University of Victoria suggests five ways to support Indigenous language revitalization, such as learning words and phrases using smartphone apps, and learning the names of rivers, mountains and towns in the local Indigenous language.

This initial collection of audio recordings in Google Earth only scratches the surface of the world’s thousands of Indigenous languages. If you’d like to contribute your language to this collection in the future, please share your interest.

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New Zealand’s Global Finalist in this year’s Google Science Fair

Not many 19 year olds could explain the technique of biomimetic fog collection for gathering atmospheric water in high altitude and arid environments - let alone define the word “biomimetic”.

Enter budding scientist Jonathan Chan, who has pioneered a piece of study in this field and succeeded in making it into the list of global finalists for the 2018-2019 Google Science Fair.

The Google Science Fair celebrates the next generation of scientists from around the world. Aiming to inspire teens to solve real-world problems with science, technology, engineering and math. The competition is run online, and open globally to 13-18 year old students to share their ideas with the world. Jonathan is one of 24 global finalists.

Like most young Kiwis participating in their annual science and technology fair, Jonthan developed his project in his final year of high school. He is currently studying Biochemistry at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.

Jonathan will now travel to Google’s head office in Mountain View, his first time travelling to the US, to participate in the final round of judging with the Google Science Fair team. This will culminate with an awards ceremony on 29th July to announce the Grand Prize winner.

Google Science Fair is supported by Scientific American, LEGO® Education, National Geographic, and Virgin Galactic.

More about Jonathan’s Project:
Fog collection is a method of atmospheric water collection used in less economically developed areas of the world located in high-altitude and arid environments. It involves the collision of fog droplets with a mesh, which then coalesce to form larger droplets that drain away and are collected. Certain organisms have directional water-collecting properties that would facilitate this process, such as the cribellate spider web and the cactus spine. Thus, this project aims to incorporate such biomimetic properties into reproducible, industrially applicable 3D-printed fog-collecting meshes and to investigate the fog-collecting efficiency of such meshes.

New Street View Cars to Start the Ultimate Kiwi Roadtrip

This week three new Street View vehicles will hit the streets in New Zealand, starting with the South Island, to gather updated, higher quality 360-degree imagery.

It’s been nine years since we’ve updated our camera technology, and just as smartphone cameras have dramatically evolved since then, we now have access to improved 360-degree camera technology. These new cutting-edge cameras fitted to our Street View cars will allow us to capture higher quality, sharper imagery and in low light conditions across New Zealand.

Google Maps’ Street View - a global collection of 360 degree imagery - is used millions of times every day by people looking to explore the world, to preview places before they go, or experience places virtually they might never have the chance to visit in person.

Keep your eyes peeled and you may see one of the new cars in your neighbourhood in the coming months. To see where they’ve been and where they’re headed next, check out this link. Imagery from their journeys will be made available via Street View later this year.

Privacy Awareness Week 2019

Editor’s note: Privacy Awareness Week is an initiative by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA). It is held annually to promote awareness of privacy and personal data protection issues.

Whether it’s delivering search results you’re looking for or recommending the quickest route home, data can make Google products more helpful to you. We think it’s important that you have the information you need, to make the choices you want, about your data. That’s why we build easy-to-use privacy features and controls into our products.

We made some privacy related announcements last week that we want to highlight during Privacy Awareness Week:

One-tap access to your Google Account from all our major products
A few years ago, we introduced Google Account to provide a comprehensive view of the information you’ve shared and saved with Google, and one place to access your privacy and security settings. Privacy controls should be easy to find and use - today you’ll see your Google Account profile picture appear in the top right corner across products like Gmail, Drive, Contacts and Pay. To quickly access your privacy controls, just tap on your picture and follow the link to your Google Account.

Auto-Delete Options
We’re also introducing automatic deletion options, which will enable Google users to set a time limit for how long they want some data to be saved. They can choose to automatically delete data from their account after 3 or 18 months. These controls are available now for Web & App Activity and they will be launched for Location History in the coming weeks.

Your Data in Maps, the Assistant, and more
Late last year, we launched a new feature called Your Data in Search, which puts privacy and security front and centre in Google Search. We’re now making this feature available in Google Maps and the Assistant, with YouTube coming later this month. This provides quick and easy access to the most relevant privacy controls. Any data older than that will be automatically and continuously deleted from your account.

Incognito mode in Google apps
Incognito is a very popular feature in the Chrome web browser and we are bringing this functionality to additional surfaces this year. It’s available in YouTube and is coming soon to Maps and Search. Tap from your profile picture to easily turn it on or off. While using Incognito, a user’s activity - for example the places they search for or navigated to - won’t be linked to their Google account. When users turn off Incognito mode, their apps and devices will be cleared of this history, enabling them to confidently share screens with friends or family.

Chrome privacy enhancements
We’re also updating Chrome to provide users with improved controls for managing cookies and stepping up our efforts to restrict “fingerprinting,” to ensure that users’ privacy choices are respected. You can read more about these changes here.

Personalised ads
As part of our work to improve privacy in the ads-supported ecosystem, Google will provide better visibility into personalised advertising, and tools for others to do the same. We believe that we can build products and privacy for everyone and we are working to bring a thoughtful and thorough approach to improving user privacy in the ad-supported ecosystem.

Our work on privacy is never done and we will continue to explore new ways for our users to manage their privacy. You can learn more about these updates in our blogpost and check out these 5 things you can do right now to stay safer online.

Computer science grants for New Zealand educators

Computer science skills are important across a wide range of industries, from health and science to agriculture or the arts. Equipping teachers with the knowledge, resources, and support to teach computer science has never been more important.

Google continues its support of CS education through the Digital Technologies curriculum in Australia and New Zealand with the 2019 Educator Professional Development Grants. Past awardees have reached over 15,600 teachers throughout Australia and New Zealand, which in turn, impacts over 390,000 students.

CORE Education have been providing quality professional development (PD) to teachers around New Zealand since 2003. In 2018, their Google funded PD project used their expertise to run online, accessible workshops for teachers focusing on digital technologies in years 7-10.

Workshop organiser Catherine Johnson said: “For educators to upskill in computational thinking for digital technologies is incredibly challenging”. CORE’s webinars and community of practice “presented both the digital capability, and the curriculum understanding to support this challenging 'middle school' sector, to be able to take the first steps to adopting these future focused pedagogies.”

Over four weeks, 400 teachers from around NZ participated in online webinars and joined a global community, learning how to implement the digital technologies curriculum content and learning to share with their communities and schools more broadly.

One teacher attending the program is now planning to “encourage other subject teachers at the secondary level to do more with digital technologies, and be actively involved in supporting our feeder primary schools to improve the learning of my future students.”

We’re excited to announce the following Awardees, who will continue to motivate and inspire educators around New Zealand.

2019 CS Educator Grants Funding Recipients New Zealand
Congratulations to this year's awardees - we can't wait to see how you make an impact!

YouTube Music is Celebrating New Zealand Music Month

NZ Music Month is about celebrating Kiwi music and the incredible artists behind it--so, for May, we’ve decided to join the party and have launched a ‘NZ Music Month 2019’ shelf on YouTube Music to make it easier to find and discover homegrown talent.

When listeners visit the YouTube Music app in New Zealand, they will now see Kiwi playlists and artists right on their Home screen. This includes the ‘New Kiwi Cool’ playlist, featuring brand new local releases and favourites.

Highlighting Kiwi artists across all genres, you can easily journey from soulful Broods to the achingly cool JessB, and uncover the best in budding Kiwi artists here to change the face of Kiwi music, including rising star Bene (who was also named as one of our Artists to Watch in 2019) and emo pop group Openside.

YouTube Music is a music streaming service with official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio, plus YouTube’s vast catalogue of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos that you can’t find anywhere else--all simply organised, personalised and in one place.

Head to YouTube Music to further explore the world of music. The NZ Music Month shelf will be live for all of May for NZ Music Month.

New Zealand tech startup to benefit from Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge

Last year, we launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) Asia Pacific Innovation Challenge, aimed at strengthening our support of digital innovation and new business models in news organisations.

Through our work and partnership with publishers, it’s clear that reader revenue is key to their financial stability. We want to support innovators in this space—those who are pioneering approaches that involve everything from granting digital currency to subscription-based membership models.

Today, I’m delighted to announce that New Zealand’s very own PressPatron will be supported as part of the Innovation Challenge. PressPatron is a platform that aims to support the future of journalism, through a mix of crowdfunding, membership payments and donations. By simplifying the process for supporters to make contributions to their favourite media sites, this kiwi organisations is ensuring the support of readers allows publishers to expand their capacity to report on the stories that matter most.

Within two months of opening up the Innovation Challenge, we received 215 applications from 18 countries. After a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a thorough jury selection process, we ended up providing support to 23 projects in 14 countries—amounting to a total of $3.2 million.

When we called for applications, we listed four criteria: impact, feasibility, innovation and inspiration. The winners demonstrated a combination of each.

There were 23 applications that received GNI support, all equally impressive in their own right. Check them out here.

Thank you to every organisation who applied. There will be a second round of the APAC GNI Innovation Challenge later this year, and we encourage you all to re-apply. Watch out for details on our website.

Ethique Changes Consumer Behaviour and helps the planet – one plastic bottle at a time

In 2012, Brianne West had a dream to reduce the amount of single use plastic in the cosmetic industry. After experimenting from her kitchen in Christchurch, she formulated, mixed, and moulded by hand the first batches of shampoo and conditioner bars. And that was the beginning of Ethique.

Soon after successfully selling her first products in a local community forum, Brianne realised they had potential to reach a global audience through online advertising. Fast forward to 2019, Ethique now sells worldwide via its website and in retail stores in nine countries, employs ten people, and has prevented more than three million plastic bottles - a total of 82.5 tonnes of plastic - from ending up in landfills and our oceans.

Scientists have established that if we continue as we have been, by the year 2050, we’ll have more plastic in the ocean than actual fish. Igniting her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the environment, Brianne has raised their ambition to save six million plastic bottles in 2019. Significantly contributing to both her local community and the world.

Watch Brianne’s story to learn more about how Ethique started reaching international customers looking for environmentally friendly products, and check how you can also grow your business and reach new customers with Google Ads.

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Trekker Waka Maps New Zealand’s Longest River

The Google Street View Trekker has travelled down the Venetian Canals, the Colorado River and London’s River Thames, and now it has traversed the length of New Zealand’s longest river. All 425 kilometres of the Waikato River will launch today on Google Street View.
To capture the Waikato River and all its beauty, the Google Street View Trekker was installed on a number of boats to get a unique water perspective. The trip started on board the “Poutiaki” (kindly provided by Waikato Tainui) and concluded with the support of the Taupo Coast Guard RIB.

With training and guidance from our local intrepid trekker and Google Street View Ops Lead in NZ, Matt Jenke, the Waikato River Festival – He Piko He Taniwha team carefully mounted the Trekker system, which weighs around 18 kilograms, onto each boat used throughout the project; then spent over a month collecting imagery from Port Waikato all the way to Lake Taupo.

With 15 camera lenses taking photos every 2.5 seconds, panoramic imagery was captured to create an interactive 360 degree virtual tour now visible for aspiring or armchair travellers across the globe via Google Street View.

Weather, logistics, rapids and hydro dams were some challenges navigated along the way - but with the support of boat owners, volunteer skippers and crew (including the Upper and Lower Waikato Regional Council Harbour Masters), the Waikato River Festival team (and Trekker) were kept safe. With eight dams along the river and at least three sets of rapids making sections of the river inaccessible by boat, supplementary 360 aerial imagery was collected by drone to make sure you don’t miss a centimeter of scenery.

“The realisation of this project required a real collaborative effort from various community stakeholders along the length of the river,” said Craig Muntz, Waikato River Festival Director. “We are extremely thankful for the community support received which has in turn resulted in the production of a community resource that also offers a great platform for sharing the story of the river and our region with nearly every bend on the river having a rich story to tell.”

Take a peek at the full Waikato River gallery here before your next trip to the region or to simply learn more about this fascinating stretch of the North Island.
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