Tag Archives: #GoogleCanada

Google Cloud announces new Toronto region to support growing customer base in Canada

For more than a decade, we’ve been investing in Canada to become a go-to cloud partner for organizations across the country, from Vancouver to my hometown of St. John’s and every city in between. Whether they’re in financial services, media and entertainment, retail, or another industry, a rapidly growing number of Canada-based organizations are choosing Google Cloud to help them build applications better and faster, store data, and ultimately deliver awesome experiences to their own users.

To support our expanding customer base in Canada, we’re excited to announce a new Google Cloud Platform region coming to Toronto. We’re working constantly to bring you new cloud products and capabilities in Canada, and our goal is to allow you to access those services quickly and easily — wherever you might be in the country. That’s why we decided to build this new region in Toronto, complementing our existing one in Montréal, which marked Google Cloud’s official arrival in Canada when we opened it in 2018.

Like Montréal, the new region will have three zones, allowing organizations of all sizes and industries to distribute apps and storage to protect against service disruptions. It will also launch with our core portfolio of Google Cloud Platform products, including Compute Engine, App Engine, Google Kubernetes Engine, Bigtable, Spanner, and BigQuery.

And the benefits don’t stop there. The Toronto region will provide distributed, secure infrastructure to help you meet disaster recovery and compliance requirements—something our customers have been asking for, especially financial institutions, public sector organizations, e-commerce providers, and other businesses operating in highly regulated industries.

While we’re thrilled about this news, don’t take it from us. We asked some of our customers with Canadian roots for their take on the upcoming cloud region. Here’s what they had to say:

  • David Furlong, SVP Artificial Intelligence, Venture Capital and Blockchain, at Banque Nationale: “Paired with their existing Montréal region, Google Cloud’s Toronto region will benefit the Canadian financial industry, enabling highly regulated organizations to perform disaster recovery while meeting data residency requirements.”
  • Ken Pickering, CTO at Hopper, the popular travel booking app: “Having already collaborated closely with the Google Cloud team in Montréal, where we’re headquartered, we look forward to their Toronto expansion. Google Cloud services are allowing us to bring a lower-latency travel planning and booking service to our customers. The second Canada region will allow us to extend that experience to more people around the world.”
  • Andrew McCormack, CIO at Payments Canada, a national payment clearing and settlement system that uses Google Cloud solutions like Apigee to digitize and manage its hybrid cloud environment: “System performance and security are critical for us an organization that clears and settles hundreds of billions of dollars every day. Google’s new Toronto cloud region will help us continue to modernize our infrastructure, strengthen our resilience, and create a digital platform for innovation.”

Today, Google Cloud customers around the world are currently served by 22 cloud regions and 67 zones. When we complete it in 2021, Toronto—along with three additional cloud regions we announced today on the other side of the world, Delhi, Doha, and Melbourne — will be part of our worldwide network of secure and reliable infrastructure.

For the latest and greatest updates on service availability, visit Google Cloud locations. Just getting started with Google Cloud? You can contact our sales team or find a local partner.

Posted by Jim Lambe, Managing Director, Google Cloud Canada

Google.org Grant recipient Arctic Eider Society, launches by Inuit, for Inuit platform

In 2017, we launched the Google.org Impact Challenge, a nationwide competition to identify and fund organizations that are using technology to tackle Canada’s biggest social challenges.

Following several weeks and several rounds of evaluation, over 900 of these hopeful non-profits refined their pitches and 10 winners were awarded a collective $5M to bring their ideas to life. These organizations received not only funding from Google.org, but also mentorship from Google volunteers, as well as capacity building and strategic support from LEAP Pecaut Centre for Social Impact (a venture philanthropy firm incubated by BCG) to drive deep impact across the country.

Among those 10 finalists, the Arctic Eider Society, an Inuit-driven non-profit based in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, stepped forward with a compelling mission to develop a living archive of Inuit knowledge called SIKU (meaning ‘sea ice’ in Inuktitut), that helps communities adapt to climate change.

The changing face of sea-ice and Inuit knowledge

For tens of thousands of Inuit in Canada, sea ice represents a map of the north and is integral to their way of life, but changing conditions make navigation unpredictable and limits access to traditional foods for Arctic communities. “The weather is changing, the ice conditions are changing. When we are driving a snowmobile or walking, we have to think before we get on that ice.” states Puasi Ippak, a youth from Sanikiluaq.

The SIKU platform will provide a set of open-source tools that help Inuit communities map changing sea ice, and build a living archive of Inuit knowledge to help inform decision making for stewardship and sustainable development. “By using novel techniques to document and access land-use observations in real time, SIKU supports Inuit self-determination in research, education and environmental stewardship.” states Joel Heath, Executive Director of the Arctic Eider Society.
SIKU’s technology enables Inuit knowledge to be recorded in a variety of ways

SIKU enables Inuit communities, people on the frontlines of the negative impacts of climate change, to record their knowledge and observations of the land in ways that elevate their recordings to a status far beyond anecdote. “Oral history has been a big part of our lives especially in the Inuit tradition, where nothing was written - everyone just had a good memory of what was handed down to them.”, explains Lizi Kavik, from Sanikiluaq. Furthermore, this oral history is laden with subtle influences of traditional Inuktut languages, “The water on the bottom of the snow, it’s called 'aputainaq'. It’s important to learn about the ice conditions in Inuktitut.”, says Puasi.

A novel and coordinated approach to technology

At its core, SIKU is a social media technology platform and mobile app developed by and for Inuit. It includes timelines, maps, profiles and commenting/sharing as well as a GPS with traditional place names, weather, tides, satellite imagery and ice safety services, all in one place. “Through SIKU, we are building new ways to show how Inuit knowledge and science can work together”, explains Lucassie Arragutainaq, Manager of Sanikiluaq Hunters and Trappers Association and member of Arctic Eider’s Board of Directors. “SIKU helps us gather all of this information in one place, and is a safe place for our hunters and elders to share our knowledge and stories, which is important for our youth.”

An Elder and Hunter review SIKU community stories that have been shared as posts

Improving communication and ice-safety with data

SIKU leverages the power of Google Earth Engine for geospatial analysis and satellite imagery to help build the Inuit ‘map of the north’. Jonassie, a local hunter, encountered a small crack in the ice one day while travelling, a crack which was also visible through satellite imagery. Using the SIKU app, he took a photo of the cracked ice, marked its location on the satellite image layer, and tagged it as ‘siqummaq’, a type of ice formation that can drastically change with wind direction.

A screenshot from SIKU depicting ‘siqummaq’ ice and other observations
This dangerous ice observation was then visible to all SIKU users, and the next day, Sentinel 2 satellite imagery served through Google Earth Engine showed the crack had indeed expanded and was impassable. Simeonie Kavik, a hunter from Sanikiluaq, commented on another observation in SIKU, “This sea ice is no good, if you try and pass by through this, you’ll lose your snowmobile.”

By Inuit, For Inuit

SIKU is an Inuit-driven platform, and today counts among its users communities from all around Canada’s Hudson Bay and Arctic coastline. The SIKU app can be downloaded to Android and iOS devices, and is available as an online platform at SIKU.org.

Google believes technology can make a better world, faster. The Arctic Eider Society is emblematic of this belief, and we’re excited to witness the impact SIKU will undoubtedly have for Inuit communities across Canada.

The public launch livestream of SIKU’s launch at the ArcticNet conference in Halifax can be viewed here.

Posted by James Henry, Sustainability Lead for Google Canada

Google News Initiative partners with CJF to help tackle fake news

Editor's Note: today's post is guest authored by Natalie Turvey, President and Executive Director of The Canadian Journalism Foundation 

What role will fake news play in our democracy? Even as we celebrate World News Day and recognize the important role Journalism plays in our lives, this question weighs on the minds of Canadians as we prepare to head to the polls in the fall.

40% of Canadians report finding it difficult to distinguish between truth and misinformation in the news, according to a new poll commissioned by the Canadian Journalism Foundation (with research conducted by Earnscliffe Strategy Group). It also shows that more than half of respondents (53%) have come across stories recently where they believe facts were twisted to push an agenda.

Looking to address concerns over Canadians’ capacity to identify authoritative information online, today the Google News Initiative announced a grant of $1 million to the Canadian Journalism Foundation to bring NewsWise to voting-age Canadians. The goal is simple: help all Canadians understand the difference between fact-based journalism and fake news in the digital world.

The project will support Canadian publishers in educating their audiences on how to understand and navigate an increasingly complex information environment. Developed in collaboration with experts and educators, NewsWise will deliver journalistic context that can help Canadian citizens gauge the reliability of the information they're consuming.

NewsWise builds on the success of its namesake student news literacy program, launched last year by the CJF and CIVIX (the team behind Student Vote). NewsWise is already reaching students in 98 of Canadian school boards.

Google and CJF’s commitment to fact-based journalism comes at a pivotal time for Canada. When asked if this confusion is leading people to not know which politicians to trust, 85% strongly agreed or agreed; up from 56 per cent in 2018. When asked if the average person does not know how to tell good journalism from rumors and falsehood, 74% strongly agreed or agreed; compared to 63% last year. The stakes are high.

Understanding what’s real and what’s not when it comes to the information we consume is essential to a functioning democracy. NewsWise provides Canadians the tools to be engaged and informed citizens of the digital age.

How Canadians are shopping this holiday season

Are you a last-minute shopper? Well, you’re not alone. With only 10 days until the holidays, a new study tells us that Canadians have completed less than half of their holiday shopping!1 But these last-minute shoppers aren’t panicking.

We partnered with Ipsos to survey Canadians on how they’ve used technology to shop this holiday season, and we found that holiday shoppers are using their smartphones, search and online video to be savvier than ever. This year, 34 percent of Canadian shoppers say they always do research or check digital sources before going to the store. Canadians may be last-minute shoppers, but they certainly have a game plan for when they hit the mall.

Today we’re sharing three trends that surfaced during Canada’s peak shopping season:

Smartphones are the ultimate shopping companion

The smartphone is a ubiquitous part of Canada's shopping experience, and when Canadians incorporated smartphone searches into their holiday shopping activities it resulted in a purchase 49 percent of the time. Savvy shoppers are turning to their smartphones to make purchases. Of the transactions that were made online this holiday season, 33 percent were purchased via smartphone.

While more people are willing to buy on mobile, we know that mobile is still used as a personal research assistant in and out of the store. This year, 38 percent of Canadian shoppers that bought in-store used their smartphone to search for products and services, and 74 percent used mobile apps as part of their holiday shopping experience.

Digital research influences purchases

Digital tools like smartphones and online search are friends, not foes, to in-store shopping. Canadian shoppers are conducting online research before they hit the mall to determine what they want to buy, the best products in a given category and which stores to visit to find that they need. We’ve seen mobile searches related to “best” products in the top retail categories grow by more than 44 percent in the last year.2

This year, shoppers are prepared, as one in five Canadian holiday shoppers say they’ve checked prices online before going in store. Almost half (43%), wish retail stores would do a better job of sharing inventory information.

YouTube is the new gift guide

Whether it’s watching a product review or learning how to bake gingerbread cookies, Canadian shoppers look to video in countless moments throughout to the day to help get things done. And this includes shopping. This holiday season, shoppers will turn to devices to learn more, make a decision or purchase a product. This year, 26 percent of holiday shoppers used online video to look at products and services

Whether you’re a last-minute shopper or you’ve checked off your whole list, have a happy holiday!

Posted by Sarah Bradley and Naumi Haque, Research and Market Insights Managers, Google Canada.

1 Google/Ipsos, 2016 Holiday Shopping Study, Nov 17 to Dec 9, 2016, with n=1,387 Canadian shoppers

2 Google internal data, Canada searches related to apparel, home & garden, beauty & personal care, computer & electronics, and gift (excluding terms “best buy,” “best man,” and “best friends”). Jan-March 2015 vs. Jan-March 2016

Official Google Canada Blog 2016-08-18 12:34:00

From Bobcaygeon to the Paris of the Prairies, this Saturday Canadians from across the country and around the world are celebrating an amazing moment in our shared history.

On Saturday, August 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET, CBC Music will broadcast and livestream The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration, the band’s sold out concert in their hometown of Kingston, Ontario, on YouTube.

For over three decades Gord Downie and the Hip have sung of uniquely Canadian moments, memories and places that span Canada’s geography. From Ahead by a Century to At the Hundredth Meridian, the songbook of The Tragically Hip feels at times like an intimate narration of our country’s history.

The band has been flooded with love by fans from Canada and abroad. The Kingston show this Saturday is the last stop on the band’s 15-city tour - one more chance for fans to show their deep appreciation.  And it is this show that the CBC Music is broadcasting and livestreaming on YouTube.

As Canada's national broadcaster, CBC Music is proud to share this celebration of the Tragically Hip with Canadians -- and the world.  No matter where you are this Saturday, tune in to CBC Music’s YouTube livestream to celebrate The Tragically Hip in what is sure to be another beautiful moment of Canadian history.

Posted by: Mark Steinmetz, Senior Director of CBC Music

Meet Google Duo, a simple 1-to-1 video calling app for everyone

Video calling is the next best thing to being with someone in person, but too often it can be a frustrating or complicated experience. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your call will connect, or if your friend is using the same type of device as you are.

Today, we’re releasing Google Duo — a simple 1-to-1 video calling app available for Android and iOS. Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are.
Google Duo works across Android and iOS - all you need is a phone number

Simple interface
Duo is simple from start to finish. To get started, all you need is your phone number and you’ll be able to reach people in your phone’s contacts list. No separate account is required, so you can sign up in just a few steps. From there, you can instantly begin a video call with a single tap.

Fast and reliable
We all know how it feels when a call fails to connect or when video gets choppy. We’ve built Duo to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks. Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected -- when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly. For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door.

Human design
We designed Duo to feel warm and inviting, focused on just you and the person you’re calling. To make calls feel more like an invitation rather than an interruption, we created a feature in Duo called Knock Knock which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they’re up to and why they want to chat. Knock Knock makes video calling more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up.
Knock Knock in Duo lets you see who’s calling before you pick up

Finally, we built Duo with an emphasis on privacy and security, and all Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted.

Give your friends a wave with Duo! We’re beginning to roll out Duo for Android and iOS today, and it will be live worldwide in the next few days.

Posted by Justin Uberti, Principal Software Engineer

Get ready to explore our national parks and historic sites on #ParksDay!

Editor’s note: Today’s blog is authored by Michael White who works in the Brand Experience Branch at Parks Canada and leads the Agency’s collaboration with Google Maps

Outdoor adventures are the heart and soul of the Canadian summer and there’s no better way to get outside and experience the wonder of our country than with a trip to one of our national parks, national marine conservation areas or national historic sites.

Once again we’ve teamed up with Google to capture more 360 degree imagery from these amazing Parks Canada places. New Street View imagery of  dozens of National Parks and Historic Sites  launches today on Google Street View just in time for Parks Day (July 16th), the annual celebration of Canada’s amazing natural and historic places.

Parks Canada employee collecting Street View imagery from the Bullion Plateau in Kluane National Park and Reserve

Whether you’re planning to spend a day hiking and swimming, planning a week of camping, canoeing and portaging, or travelling back through time in one of Canada’s national historic sites, our parks and historic sites from coast to coast to coast will remind you why Canadian summers are the best summers.

Many Canadians enjoy camping in the great outdoors while visiting one of Canada’s national parks, and when it comes to camping, Canadians have got a lot of questions…


Luckily, Parks Canada has resources to help you plan your camping adventure!

Get started with our Learn to Camp program, which is available in French, English, Chinese (standard and simplified), Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog. From what to wear and what to bring, to tasty, trail-tested recipes, we’ve got you covered. In the spring of 2017 Parks Canada will also launch an expanded Learn to Camp program that will ensure more low and middle-income families will have an opportunity to experience Canada’s outdoors.  Stay tuned for more information.You can also download the Learn to Camp app for Android and iPhone to reference onsite as needed.

Before you get packed, you can also check out our YouTube channel in both English and French to learn how to set up a tent, how to build a campfire and our tips for planning your trip and camping with wildlife.

Then head over to Google Street View to check out the new images of places like Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site and Kluane National Park in the Yukon, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida Heritage Centre or Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in British Columbia, Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Batoche National Historic Site in Saskatchewan, Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Pukaskwa and Georgian Bay Islands National Parks in Ontario, Forillon National Park and Saguenay St. Lawrence Marine Park in Quebec, Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, Kejimkujik National Park Seaside or Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia or L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador, and get excited about the great Canadian outdoors this Parks Day!

Posted by Michael White, Parks Canada