Tag Archives: Policy

Developer tips and guides: Common policy violations and how you can avoid them

By Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play App Safety

At Google Play, we want to foster an ecosystem of safe, engaging, useful, and entertaining apps used and loved by billions of Android users worldwide. That’s why we regularly update and revise our Google Play Developer Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement, detailing the boundaries of app content and functionalities allowed on the platform, as well as providing latest guidance on how developers can promote and monetize apps.

In recent efforts in analyzing apps for policy compliance on Google Play we identified some common mistakes and violations that developers make, and we’re sharing these with the developer community with tips and guides on how to avoid them, mitigating the risks of apps and developer accounts being suspended for violating our policies.

Links that take users back to other apps on the Play Store

One of the most common mistakes we see are apps that have buttons and menus that link out to the Play Store -- either to apps by the same developer, or other apps that may be affiliated with the developer, but not being clear that these are ads or promotional links. Without this clarity, apps may get enforced for having deceptive / disguised ads. One of the ways to avoid such mistakes is by explicitly calling these out by labeling the buttons and links as ‘More Apps’, ‘More Games’, ‘Explore’, ‘Check out our other apps’, etc.

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Spammy app descriptions

Another mistake we frequently observe is where developers ‘stuff’ keywords in the app description in hope for better discoverability and ranking against certain keywords and phrases. Text blocks or lists that contain repetitive or unrelated keywords or references violate our Store Listing and Promotion policy. Writing a clear app description intended and optimized for user’s readability and understanding is one of the best ways to avoid this violation.

Watch this video to learn how to avoid spammy store listings and efforts to artificially boost app visibility.

Abandoned and broken apps

There are apps that have been published by the developers a long time ago, and are no longer being maintained. Abandoned and unmaintained apps often create user experience issues -- broken app functionality, for example. Not only are such apps at risk of getting a low star rating and negative user reviews, they will also be flagged as violating the minimum functionality policy. To mitigate the negative impact to the developer reputation and app enforcement, consider unpublishing such apps from the Play Store. Note the updated unpublish action won’t affect existing users who already installed the app, and developers can always choose to re-publish them after addressing the broken experiences.

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the ‘Minimum and Broken Functionality Spam’ course on Play Academy



Apps vs. Webview

Lastly, we observe a large volume of app submissions that are just webviews of existing websites. Most of these apps are submitted with a primary purpose of driving traffic rather than providing engaging app experiences to Android users. Such apps are considered webview spam, and are removed from Play. Instead, consider thinking through what users can do or do better with the app than in a web experience and implement relevant features and functionalities that enrich the user experience.

Example of webview without any app functionality

Example of a webview without any app functionality

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the ‘Webview Spam’ course on Play Academy



While the above are one of the most frequent mistakes, make sure to stay up to date with the latest policies by visiting the Play Developer Policy Center. Check out Google Play Academy’s Policy training, including our new Spam courses, and watch our Play PolicyBytes videos to learn more about recent policy updates.

Developer tips and guides: Common policy violations and how you can avoid them

By Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play App Safety

At Google Play, we want to foster an ecosystem of safe, engaging, useful, and entertaining apps used and loved by billions of Android users worldwide. That’s why we regularly update and revise our Google Play Developer Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement, detailing the boundaries of app content and functionalities allowed on the platform, as well as providing latest guidance on how developers can promote and monetize apps.

In recent efforts in analyzing apps for policy compliance on Google Play we identified some common mistakes and violations that developers make, and we’re sharing these with the developer community with tips and guides on how to avoid them, mitigating the risks of apps and developer accounts being suspended for violating our policies.

Links that take users back to other apps on the Play Store

One of the most common mistakes we see are apps that have buttons and menus that link out to the Play Store -- either to apps by the same developer, or other apps that may be affiliated with the developer, but not being clear that these are ads or promotional links. Without this clarity, apps may get enforced for having deceptive / disguised ads. One of the ways to avoid such mistakes is by explicitly calling these out by labeling the buttons and links as ‘More Apps’, ‘More Games’, ‘Explore’, ‘Check out our other apps’, etc.

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Spammy app descriptions

Another mistake we frequently observe is where developers ‘stuff’ keywords in the app description in hope for better discoverability and ranking against certain keywords and phrases. Text blocks or lists that contain repetitive or unrelated keywords or references violate our Store Listing and Promotion policy. Writing a clear app description intended and optimized for user’s readability and understanding is one of the best ways to avoid this violation.

Watch this video to learn how to avoid spammy store listings and efforts to artificially boost app visibility.

Abandoned and broken apps

There are apps that have been published by the developers a long time ago, and are no longer being maintained. Abandoned and unmaintained apps often create user experience issues -- broken app functionality, for example. Not only are such apps at risk of getting a low star rating and negative user reviews, they will also be flagged as violating the minimum functionality policy. To mitigate the negative impact to the developer reputation and app enforcement, consider unpublishing such apps from the Play Store. Note the updated unpublish action won’t affect existing users who already installed the app, and developers can always choose to re-publish them after addressing the broken experiences.

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the ‘Minimum and Broken Functionality Spam’ course on Play Academy



Apps vs. Webview

Lastly, we observe a large volume of app submissions that are just webviews of existing websites. Most of these apps are submitted with a primary purpose of driving traffic rather than providing engaging app experiences to Android users. Such apps are considered webview spam, and are removed from Play. Instead, consider thinking through what users can do or do better with the app than in a web experience and implement relevant features and functionalities that enrich the user experience.

Example of webview without any app functionality

Example of a webview without any app functionality

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the ‘Webview Spam’ course on Play Academy



While the above are one of the most frequent mistakes, make sure to stay up to date with the latest policies by visiting the Play Developer Policy Center. Check out Google Play Academy’s Policy training, including our new Spam courses, and watch our Play PolicyBytes videos to learn more about recent policy updates.

Developer tips and guides: Common policy violations and how you can avoid them

By Andrew Ahn, Product Manager, Google Play App Safety

At Google Play, we want to foster an ecosystem of safe, engaging, useful, and entertaining apps used and loved by billions of Android users worldwide. That’s why we regularly update and revise our Google Play Developer Policies and Developer Distribution Agreement, detailing the boundaries of app content and functionalities allowed on the platform, as well as providing latest guidance on how developers can promote and monetize apps.

In recent efforts in analyzing apps for policy compliance on Google Play we identified some common mistakes and violations that developers make, and we’re sharing these with the developer community with tips and guides on how to avoid them, mitigating the risks of apps and developer accounts being suspended for violating our policies.

Links that take users back to other apps on the Play Store

One of the most common mistakes we see are apps that have buttons and menus that link out to the Play Store -- either to apps by the same developer, or other apps that may be affiliated with the developer, but not being clear that these are ads or promotional links. Without this clarity, apps may get enforced for having deceptive / disguised ads. One of the ways to avoid such mistakes is by explicitly calling these out by labeling the buttons and links as ‘More Apps’, ‘More Games’, ‘Explore’, ‘Check out our other apps’, etc.

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Example of app content that link out to app listing on Play

Spammy app descriptions

Another mistake we frequently observe is where developers ‘stuff’ keywords in the app description in hope for better discoverability and ranking against certain keywords and phrases. Text blocks or lists that contain repetitive or unrelated keywords or references violate our Store Listing and Promotion policy. Writing a clear app description intended and optimized for user’s readability and understanding is one of the best ways to avoid this violation.

Watch this video to learn how to avoid spammy store listings and efforts to artificially boost app visibility.

Abandoned and broken apps

There are apps that have been published by the developers a long time ago, and are no longer being maintained. Abandoned and unmaintained apps often create user experience issues -- broken app functionality, for example. Not only are such apps at risk of getting a low star rating and negative user reviews, they will also be flagged as violating the minimum functionality policy. To mitigate the negative impact to the developer reputation and app enforcement, consider unpublishing such apps from the Play Store. Note the updated unpublish action won’t affect existing users who already installed the app, and developers can always choose to re-publish them after addressing the broken experiences.

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Example of an abandoned app that provides a broken app experience

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the ‘Minimum and Broken Functionality Spam’ course on Play Academy



Apps vs. Webview

Lastly, we observe a large volume of app submissions that are just webviews of existing websites. Most of these apps are submitted with a primary purpose of driving traffic rather than providing engaging app experiences to Android users. Such apps are considered webview spam, and are removed from Play. Instead, consider thinking through what users can do or do better with the app than in a web experience and implement relevant features and functionalities that enrich the user experience.

Example of webview without any app functionality

Example of a webview without any app functionality

Play icon with graduation cap

Take the ‘Webview Spam’ course on Play Academy



While the above are one of the most frequent mistakes, make sure to stay up to date with the latest policies by visiting the Play Developer Policy Center. Check out Google Play Academy’s Policy training, including our new Spam courses, and watch our Play PolicyBytes videos to learn more about recent policy updates.

Small businesses and Australia’s Media Bargaining Code

In what has been an incredibly tough year, Australia’s small and medium businesses have kept our economic engine going—protecting jobs and providing vital services in their communities. 



Throughout this time, we’ve made sure business owners know Google’s tools and services are there to help. Small businesses are using our affordable ad services to advertise where they couldn’t before, and connecting with new customers via free listings on Search and Maps. We’ve also helped businesses operate online through national digital skills training



As Australia starts to look towards economic recovery, we’re concerned that many of these businesses will be affected by a new law being proposed by the Australian Government—the News Media Bargaining Code—which would put the digital tools they rely on at risk. 



While we don’t oppose a code governing the relationship between digital platforms and news businesses, the current draft Code has implications for everyone, not just digital platforms and media businesses. We wanted to explain our concerns and how we believe they can be addressed in a way that works for all businesses. 



How does the Code impact small businesses? 



The draft code affects small businesses because it would weaken Google services like Search and YouTube. These services created more than 130 million connections between business and potential customers in 2019, and contributed to the $35 billion in benefits we generated for more than 1.3 million businesses across the country. But they rely on Search and YouTube working the same for everyone—so that people can trust that the results they see are useful and authoritative, and businesses know they’re on a level playing field. 



Under the draft code, we’d be forced to give some news businesses privileged access to data and information—including about changes to our search algorithms—enabling them to feature more prominently in search results at the expense of other businesses, website owners and creators. 




For example, a cafe owner might have made their way to the top spot in Search results for a particular query over time, thanks to popularity, search interest and other signals. But if the draft code became law—giving some publishers an advanced look at algorithm changes—they could potentially take advantage of this and make their web content appear more prominently in search results. 



Likewise, if you ran an independent travel website that provides advice to people on how to plan local holidays, you might lose out to a newspaper travel section because they’ve had a sneak peek at changes to how Search works. 



That’s an unfair advantage for news businesses. Businesses of all kinds would face an additional hurdle at a time when it’s more important than ever to connect with their customers. 



A bad precedent 



The draft code would also create a mandatory negotiation and arbitration model that only takes into account the costs and value created by one party—news businesses. The code’s provisions mean costs are uncapped and unquantifiable, and there is no detail on what formula is used to calculate payment. 



Regulation framed in this way would set a bad precedent. Most businesses support sensible regulation—but not heavy-handed rules that favour one group of companies over all others. Australian entrepreneurs like Mike Cannon-Brooks, Matt Barrie and Daniel Petrie have made the point that a market intervention like this would deter international companies from operating in Australia, risking jobs and investment just as we need to be focusing on the recovery from COVID-19. 



And it’s not just business leaders who’ve spoken out. Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard a cross-section of Australia’s business community, from local retailers and restaurants to YouTube creators, and we’re deeply grateful for their support. 



The way forward 



The issues with the draft code are serious, but we believe they can be worked through in a way that protects full and fair access to Search and YouTube for every Australian business. We’ve made it clear that we want to contribute to a strong future for Australian news, and we’re engaging constructively with the Government and the ACCC to try to find a resolution — making proposals for changes that would support a workable code



Throughout 2020, we’ve worked with business owners across Australia to help them get through the challenges of the fires and the pandemic, whether by providing digital tools, direct assistance, skills training or advice, and we hope to continue providing that support long into the future. 



We know how tough this year has been, and we’re going to keep doing everything we can to make sure that the final version of the code supports Australia’s amazing businesses.

13 things you need to know about the News Media Bargaining Code

Last week, we shared an open letter about our concerns with the News Media Bargaining Code. We know many of you have lots of questions, so we’re taking this opportunity to address the top ones we’ve heard since publishing our letter. 


Question #1: Why is Google against this proposed law? 
We are not against a law that governs the relationships between news businesses and digital platforms. But the current draft Code is unworkable. Our concerns include: 
  1. An obligation to share details about our algorithm changes that would provide an unfair advantage to large news businesses and help them feature more prominently in organic search results at the expense of other businesses, creators and website owners. 
  2. An obligation to tell news media businesses what user data Google collects, what data it supplies to them, and how they “can gain access to the data” which Google does not supply to them, with a lack of detail on safeguards for demands from news businesses for access to sensitive data.
  3. An unfair arbitration process that ignores the real-world value Google provides to news publishers and opens up to enormous and unreasonable demands

Question #2: If this law is just about news, why are you talking about Search? 
The proposed law is not limited to Google News, or the news results tab. It covers “every digital platform service” of Google and Facebook that makes available news content of registered news businesses (s52B, s52L). This means it directly impacts Google Search itself. 


Question #3: Is YouTube included in the proposed law? 
Yes. The Code covers “every digital platform service” Google and Facebook provide that make available news content of registered news businesses (s52B, s52L). Australian media companies upload content to YouTube, which means YouTube will be impacted by the Code. The ACCC Chairman has also said so


Question #4: Why shouldn’t Google give notice of changes to your rankings and algorithms? 
We share general tips on ranking with all website owners already, but this new law would require us to give special notice and explanations to news businesses. This would dramatically worsen how you experience Google Search and YouTube: 
  1. If we are required to give one group special advice about how to get a higher ranking, they’d be able to game the system at the expense of other website owners, businesses and creators, even if that doesn’t provide the best result to you. If we want to keep our algorithms fair for everyone, we would have to stop making any changes in Australia. This would leave Australians with a dramatically worse Search and YouTube experience. 
  2. Additionally, 28-day advance notice is really a 28-day waiting period before we can make important changes to our systems. That’s 28 days before we can roll out defences against new kinds of spam or fraud. 28 days of extra delay before we can launch new features that are already available to the rest of the world. And 28 days before we can fix things that break. To illustrate: in order to give you the most relevant results when you use Search, last year, we launched 3,620 algorithm updates

Question #5: Will Google have to share my Search and YouTube data with news businesses? 
The Code requires us to tell a registered news business how it can “gain access to” data (s52M(2)(e)). This is data that we do not supply to them at the moment. As a reminder, you currently have control over your personal data thanks to easy-to-access tools in your Google Account. If we are required to hand that data over to news organisations, there’s no way to know what controls they will give you, nor how your data will be protected—or how it might be used by news businesses. 


Question #6: Why the sudden move to speak out publicly against this? 
We have been engaged with the Government, the ACCC and news businesses in good faith since a publisher code was first brought up last year. You can read more about the key issues we raised in our submission to the ACCC concept paper and blog posts here and here

Initially this new law was going to be a voluntary code of conduct, and we were making good progress on discussions with news publishers. But in April the Government shifted the goal posts and moved to a proposed mandatory Code. On July 31, the proposal became a new law. We have continued to raise our concerns and make submissions, but unfortunately these have not been reflected in this proposed law. In addition, we thought it’s important to let you know directly about the draft Code and potential harm this would cause to the services you love and rely on - including Search and YouTube. We’ve since heard from thousands of Australians who share our concerns. 


Question #7: Doesn’t the Code contain a negotiation and arbitration process to sort this out? 
Put simply, it's extremely one-sided and unfair––so unfair that no company should be asked to accept it. Just before this law was proposed we had reached agreements with several Australian news organisations to pay them to license their content. 

We're happy to pay more to license content, and want to support journalism as it transitions to a digital future, but a fair negotiation or arbitration should factor in the value both parties provide. 

Under this law the arbitrator is not required to take into account the value we provide news businesses (s52ZP(2)). Google Search referred more than 3 billion visits to news businesses’ websites last year, which is estimated to be worth around $218 million—and this doesn’t include the many other ways we support publishers. The arbitrator is also not required to look at the significant costs we incur in providing our services, or the value of comparable deals, which would be the starting point for any standard arbitration. 

All it looks at is the news organisation’s costs, its content’s value to Google, and whether the payment would put an undue burden on the digital platform. That means bigger news organisations with higher costs and more content will get paid more. Because of all this, the law is set up to encourage enormous and unreasonable demands


Question #8: Are you going to charge for your services? 
No. We never said that the proposed law would require us to charge Australians for Search and YouTube. What we did say is that Search and YouTube, which are free services, are at risk in Australia. 


Question #9: Why are you saying your services are at risk? 
First, the very nature of our search engine and YouTube is to surface the best information. If one group is given special information and notice, and can game the rankings at the expense of others, we can’t provide the best service. Having to disclose information about ranking would harm our services in Australia and around the world. 

Second, the proposed law contains provisions that are difficult to comply with while providing a useful service, and if we can’t, the law imposes ruinous fines and liability - up to 10 percent of our turnover for each breach of the law. 

Third, the arbitration is set up to encourage news businesses to make unreasonable and exorbitant financial demands. News queries account for just over 1% of our total search queries in Australia. We have news partners in other countries, as well as countless other categories of websites and content that people search for. It simply isn’t viable for us, or any digital platform, to pay unreasonable and exorbitant amounts to one group in one country. 


Question #10: Why won’t you just shut down Google News like you did in Spain, or remove Australian news websites? 
This proposed law is written extremely broadly. If we show Australians any content from any “news publisher” (defined to include any “website”) in the world, we must also show all news content of news businesses registered under the Code. For this purpose, "news" is defined very broadly - way beyond what most of us would consider “news”. This includes covering issues that are of ‘interest to Australians’, including foreign news and citizen journalism - which go well beyond traditional journalism to capture all kinds of information, blogs, videos and websites. That means we’d have to undertake a mass cull of content globally to stop them being visible to Australians - we’d have to remove all foreign newspapers, bloggers, YouTube citizen reporters, but also sports reporting, discussions of global health issues, tweets about current events, and literally endless other types of content from all sources around the world. 


Question #11: Shouldn’t news businesses get a say on how their content is used? 
Of course. All websites can opt out of appearing in Search results, including news media sites, and we share guidance on how to do this. 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. If they want to be featured in Search, they can customise how they show up - decide the length of the short summary (called a snippet) of their content, add or remove images or videos. The snippet is then automatically generated from the content, designed to emphasise and preview the page content that best relates to a user's specific search. We've also been working on a new product in which we would pay news publishers for content that they would curate, while still driving traffic to their websites. 


Question #12: What next? 
We help more than 20 million Australians and over one million businesses in Australia. We have invested significantly in this country. We are proud to work with the Government and others to contribute to our economic recovery and a growing digital economy. So we want to make the law workable. At the moment it’s simply not, for the reasons we outlined in our Open Letter and above. We’ll keep working to impress this upon the Government and will keep raising our concerns so Australians know where we stand. 


Question #13: Where can I read more? 
It’s good that there’s now a robust public discussion about this important issue. 
As a start, here is the ACCC’s Draft Legislation
And here is a thorough article by an independent media analyst.

Google Supports Scams Awareness Week

This year, #scamsweek2020 comes at a time where many of us are spending more time at home, and are using a plethora of new apps and communications tools to work, learn, access information, and stay connected with loved ones.  We are joining the ACCC Scamwatch team this week to promote the importance of identifying and managing online security risks - some of which we do on your behalf without you even realising and some of which we ask you to make an informed decision about. 


When people first started staying home due to COVID-19 earlier this year, our advanced, machine-learning classifiers saw 18 million daily malware and phishing attempts related to COVID-19, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-related spam messages globally. Our security systems have detected a range of new scams circulating, such as phishing emails posing as messages from charities and NGOs, directions from “administrators” to employees working from home, and even notices spoofing healthcare providers. Our systems have also spotted malware-laden sites that pose as sign-in pages for popular social media accounts, health organisations, or even official coronavirus maps. 


To protect you from these risks, we've built advanced security protections into many Google products to automatically identify and stop threats before they ever reach you. Our machine learning models in Gmail already detect and block more than 99.9 percent of spam, phishing and malware. Our built-in security also protects you by alerting you before you enter fraudulent websites, by scanning apps in Google Play before you download, and more. But we want to help you stay secure everywhere online, not just on our products, so we’re providing these simple tips, tools and resources.



Know how to spot and avoid COVID-19 scams
With many of the COVID-19 related scams coming in the form of phishing emails, it’s important to pause and evaluate any COVID-19 email before clicking any links or taking other action. Be wary of requests for personal information such as your home address or bank details. Fake links often imitate established websites by adding extra words or letters to them—check the URL’s validity by hovering over it (on desktop) or with a long press (on mobile).

Tips to Avoid Common Scams

Use your company’s enterprise email account for anything work-related
Working with our enterprise customers, we see how employees can put their company’s business at risk when using their personal accounts or devices. Even when working from home, it’s important to keep your work and personal email separate. Enterprise accounts offer additional security features that keep your company’s private information private. If you’re unsure about your company’s online security safeguards, check with your IT professionals to ensure the right security features are enabled, like two-factor authentication.



Secure your video calls on video conferencing apps
The security controls built into Google Meet are turned on by default, so that in most cases, organisations and users are automatically protected. But there are steps you can take on any video conferencing app to make your call more secure:
  • Consider adding an extra layer of verification to help ensure only invited attendees gain access to the meeting.
  • When sharing a meeting invite publicly, be sure to enable the “knocking” feature so that the meeting organiser can personally vet and accept new attendees before they enter the meeting.
  • If you receive a meeting invite that requires installing a new video-conferencing app, always be sure to verify the invitation—paying special attention to potential imposters—before installing.



Install security updates when notified
When working from home, your work computer may not automatically update your security technology as it would when in the office and connected to your corporate network. It’s important to take immediate action on any security update prompts. These updates solve for known security vulnerabilities, which attackers are actively seeking out and exploiting.



Use a password manager to create and store strong passwords
With all the new applications and services you might be using for work and school purposes, it can be tempting to use just one password for all.  In fact, 69% of Aussies admit to using the same password across multiple accounts, despite 90% knowing that this presents a security risk. To keep your private information private, always use unique, hard-to-guess passwords. A password manager, like the one built into Android, Chrome, and your Google Account can help make this easier.



Protect your Google Account
If you use a Google Account, you can easily review any recent security issues and get personalised recommendations to help protect your data and devices with the Security Checkup. Within this tool, you can also run a Password Checkup to learn if any of your saved passwords for third party sites or accounts have been compromised and then easily change them if needed.


You should also consider adding two-steps verification (also known as two-factor authentication), which you likely already have in place for online banking and other similar services, to provide an extra layer of security. This helps keep out anyone who shouldn't have access to your accounts by requiring a secondary factor on top of your username and password to sign in. To set this up for your Google Account, go to g.co/2SV.


Free virtual digital skills training for Aussies from Grow with Google

Since Grow with Google launched in 2019, we’ve travelled across every state of Australia to help Aussies get the digital skills they need to succeed. Along the way, we’ve partnered with local business chambers, entrepreneurial networks, and community organisations to provide free tools and training to help people get the right skills to find jobs they want, advance their careers and grow their businesses.

In the last year alone, we’ve trained more than 100,000 Australians in digital skills, and seen firsthand how technology can create new opportunities for businesses and communities. More recently, we’ve also seen a significant spike in demand for our free online training resources as many people—particularly jobseekers and small businesses—face disruption caused by COVID-19 and look to digital skills training to help them through these challenging times. In fact, we saw a 300 per cent increase in the number of people completing online training modules on our Grow with Google website in April this year, compared with the same time period last year.

Though we’re currently unable to gather in person in large groups, it doesn’t mean the learning has to stop. We’re excited to announce a new virtual program from Grow with Google Australia that will ensure more Australians continue to have access to digital skills training and opportunities. We’re launching Grow with Google OnAir - a series of livestreamed and on-demand webinar trainings that will be available to anyone in Australia for free, for the first time.

The training has been designed specifically for small business owners, people adjusting to remote working and learning, jobseekers, teachers and community non-profit organisations. A series of seven webinars will cover topics like how to connect with your customers and manage your business remotely, improve your job search skills, and connect remotely using tools like Google Meet and Calendar. And all led by specialist Google trainers from our Sydney office.


It will also share more on how businesses can make the most of your free Business Profile on Google, with many businesses using this helpful tool to keep their customers informed as they adapt their businesses and products. One of those businesses is Expo Centric - a Sydney-based builder of exhibition stands and displays. When COVID-19 spread locally, they updated their range of product solutions to include hand sanitiser dispensers, protection screens, room partitions and portable desks to meet changing customer needs - and kept them informed through regular updates to their profile.



Grow with Google OnAir webinars will be livestreamed once a day from 9-18 June in one hour digestible workshops. Attendees will be able to ask live questions via a dialogue box. Register to attend for free at g.co/GrowOnAirAU 



In addition to Grow with Google OnAir, which is available across Australia, we continue to support our team of local Digital Coaches and our network of more than 7,000 local partner organisations, so that they can teach virtual workshops in their communities. 

Since 2014, Google Australia has trained over half a million Australians on digital skills through Grow with Google and other digital skilling programs. It’s our aim to ensure these opportunities remain available to everyone. Visit the Grow with Google Australia website to find a virtual program that’s right for you - no matter what stage of your digital journey you are at.

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia

Further help for Aussie small businesses affected by recent crises

Aussies are known for our mateship both at the best of times and at the worst of times. In light of the recent bushfires and the disruptions caused by COVID-19, it’s been wonderful to see Australians band together to help each other. It’s therefore unsurprising yet very humbling to see that search results on Google for “help small business” tripled in late March as many businesses were forced to alter operations and general uncertainty was mounting in response to COVID-19 (1).

 While we have seen this rise in Aussies’ eagerness to back their local businesses through this period - for business owners, it’s no doubt been a challenging time as they’ve dealt with this evolving and uncertain situation.

For Barney Martin, it’s been incredibly disruptive for his hair salon business. He’s had to deal with closure, time limits on appointments, and strict distancing protocols. To help keep his business running and customers informed, Barney implemented strict new health and safety measures in his salon and uploaded videos of these to his Google My Business profile to give his customers peace of mind they were in good hands.


Barney’s hair salon is just one of thousands of Aussie businesses who have turned to online tools — some for the first time — to help them keep their business ticking over, and to continue to keep their customers informed. We want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to adopt new ways of working and manage through the uncertainty - whether that be from COVID-19 or from the recent Aussie bushfires.

To help them in this, Google Australia has been working to provide businesses not only with direct funding assistance but with access to timely information, tools and resources. I’m pleased to share an update on some of these resources and information on how we’re continuing to help.

Delivering digital skills training to SMBs in bushfire-impacted communities 

While our planned Grow with Google bushfire recovery roadshow had to be postponed, the team wasn’t going to let physical distance laws stop them. Our Google small business experts conducted numerous one-on-one small business consultations with a number of business owners from fire impacted communities throughout NSW and Victoria from Bega to Bermagui and other towns in between. The calls enabled our Google small business experts to answer questions relating to the business owner’s Google Business Profiles and questions about how to help them improve their online presence.

Supporting small businesses with free resources

Thanks to partnerships with authorities like Bega Valley Innovation Hub, Northern Beaches Council, Business Australia and ACCI, Grow with Google team have been able to scale free small business resources like our Small Business Pack widely. The team further partnered with community groups such as Bega Valley Innovation Hub to host group training webinars led by one of our Grow with Google trainers, Yash Godbole.



We also launched a new Google for Small Business (http://g.co/smallbiz-covid19) hub to provide helpful resources to local businesses as they navigate these challenging times.

New support links for Google My Business profiles 

Establishing a free Business Profile with Google My Business is one of the quickest and easiest ways a small business owner can help their business show up in Search results. I’m really pleased to share the rollout of new support links that let business owners add a donation link, gift card link or both to their profile, giving customers options to support them at this challenging time. They can also share a personal message in a post to inform customers how funds will be put to use.

$20 million to support small businesses and government crisis response 

Our CEO Sundar Pichai announced additional support for small businesses, and community and government organisations, in March - so it’s great to see this support being rolled out locally.

We’re providing A$20 million of free Google Ads to our Australian ads customers, government agencies, and to support community organisations. Already we’ve begun passing on ad credits to our Australian customers, with notifications appearing in Google Ads accounts and which can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our advertising platforms. We hope this will help alleviate some of the costs for Aussie businesses of staying in touch with their customers.

We’re also providing support to Many Rivers through a global response and recovery program being coordinated by Youth Business International and funded by Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, to support under-served small and medium businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Many Rivers will use the funds to increase the accessibility of its online business support tools. We’ll continue to partner with businesses, government, industry groups and the wider community to help all Australians get through COVID-19 and back on to the road to recovery.

Keep your eyes peeled for more updates to be announced shortly.

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia

 1) Source: Google Trends, May 2019 - May 2020

Grow with Google takes digital skills training to the Illawarra community

Grow with Google has headed out on the road again for 2020, taking our specialist digital skills training program to the Illawarra region of New South Wales for the first time.

More than 250 Illawarra locals joined special training workshops at Shellharbour Civic Centre where they learned tips and tools from Google’s own digital experts to help them grow their businesses, careers and education.

Caption: Google Australia’s Richard Flanagan with Stephen Jones MP and Mayor Marianne Saliba 

We were joined by Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones MP, and City of Shellharbour Mayor, Marianne Saliba - who officially opened the event.

The Grow with Google program - which features in person training and online resources - is designed to help address the digital skills gap in Australia.

 Caption: Local Illawarra businesses picked up online tips and tricks 

At today’s small business workshop, Illawarra businesses learned how to have a strong presence online to attract new customers and gain better insights into what their customers wanted - and individuals at all stages of the digital journey picked up new skills.

We know that digital tools and skills can open up new opportunities for communities and businesses across the Illawarra. But many people are unsure what to do or where to begin, so we created Grow with Google to help bridge this gap.

One Illawarra business that is using digital tools to help grow their business is catering and fine foods company Culinarius. Business owner Rebecca Armstrong said they’ve focused on updating their online profile, responding to customer reviews, and learning insights from their web traffic.

Since 2014, Google has trained more than half a million people across Australia through online and in-person digital skills training, as well as curriculum integrated through school and partner programs.

We look forward to taking Grow with Google to every state and territory in 2020.

Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Small Business Marketing

Go West! Google provides free digital skills training to Perth and Rockingham communities

Grow with Google has wrapped up 2019 by taking the free digital skills program to Perth and Rockingham for the first time.

First up, we ran workshops in Herne Hill at the local Swan Settlers Market on the outskirts of Perth where 100 local business owners and entrepreneurs picked up new skills and tips on things like how to grow their presence online, be found by new customers, and gain insights into their customers’ needs. We also ran sessions for local job seekers, teachers and students.

Caption: Attendees from our afternoon Digital Springboard session taking a quick break from the content 

A big thank you to West Australian Senator Matt O'Sullivan who represented Federal Member for Pearce and Attorney-General Christian Porter in officially opening the event. And to local caterers Little Lamonts, Mr Cannolo, Perth Bells and Juice Station for providing the sustenance throughout the day and local baristas from The Black Moustache Coffee Co. who provided the caffeine hits! 

From there we headed down the highway to Rockingham (aka “Rocko”) for sessions with another 80 business owners - and were joined by local Federal Member for Brand and Shadow Minister for Trade Madeleine King MP.

Caption: Madeleine King MP talks to Rockingham locals about the importance of digital skills 
It was great hearing feedback from locals at both events that they picked up something new - even though they were all at different stages in the digital journey.

A report released by AlphaBeta in September found that Google’s advertising and productivity platforms were helping more than a million Aussie businesses and had helped deliver business benefits of $35 billion so far this year - including supporting 13,300 West Australian jobs through our economic activity.

As we wrap up 2019 and reflect on what we’ve done and where we’ve been, we’re so thrilled to have worked with so many wonderful communities across Australia to learn and share new digital skills that will help people grow their businesses, careers and lives.

And we passed an important milestone, too, with Google now having trained more than half a million Aussies through our travelling digital skills workshops and other STEM outreach and curriculum support we are providing through the education system.

But there’s still much to do! We can’t wait to get back out on the road in 2020 to visit even more communities in all corners of the country, so that we’re supporting future jobs, economic growth and prosperity in Australia.

While the events have wrapped up for 2019, you can still access tips and resources online at http://g.co/GrowAustralia

A big thank you to the communities, business chambers, government agencies, the Walkley Foundation and the Google team who helped make Grow with Google a great success this year. See you in 2020!

Posted by Rebecca Mason, Grow with Google program lead, Google Australia 

Caption: Another 'first!' - Perth saw us welcome our first furry, four-legged friend to one of our digital skills workshops.