News and notes from Google Down Under
Inspiring tomorrow’s innovators
Friday, October 21, 2016
At Google we’re always asking ourselves the question: What’s next?
Today, in partnership with Refraction Media, we’re helping to provide inspiration to students across Australia through the
Careers with Code
guide to show them what’s next in the future world of work and study and how to get there.
Computational thinking and computer science are necessary skills to prepare students for the jobs of today and tomorrow - from health to sustainability, agriculture to fashion.
At Google we talk about “Computer Science (CS) + X” as a driver of innovation and creativity, where X is the problem you are trying to solve, your passion or any other discipline.
You’ll find CS + X in every industry, creating breakthrough innovations like smart contact lenses to monitor blood glucose in real time alerts to your phone.
you’ll find individuals from every walk of life combining CS + X to innovate and bring creative solutions to the world. People like Dr Cheryl McCarthy combining CS + Agriculture to design automated weed control systems and spot spray them, Bel Teh combining CS + Fashion at startup Shoes of Prey a global startup from Australia, and Olivier Salvado combining CS + Health to develop technology that can detect Alzheimer's up to 30 years before symptoms appear and help manage the disease.
Sofie Claridge, 14, and Crystal D'mello, 15, of
Kapiti College's Girls' Coding Club with wearable tech at the launch of Careers with Code in New Zealand.
Careers with Code
, a magazine,
and website, shows high school students the wide variety of careers that computer science can lead to. We encourage you to share this resource with the widest possible audience of students, teachers and parents - it’s not just for the tech, science or maths classes!
Help us start the conversation about the careers of the future with your community, and inspire the next generation to change the world.
Posted by Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community and Outreach Manager, Google
It takes a teacher: calling Aussie teachers
Friday, October 21, 2016
Everyone has a story about a teacher who changed the course of their lives. Teachers play an important role in preparing young people for the world and an understanding of technology, and how this can integrate into learning, is a big part of this.
So on 3 December, we are saying thank you to this group of amazing professionals with
Education on Air
: a free, online, around-the-clock global conference for teachers to share and learn from educators around the world. This year, we’re kicking off in Australia.
Education on Air
will bring together leaders in education, like the 27th Prime Minister of Australia and Chairwoman of the Global Partnership for Education, Hon Julia Gillard; education researcher Dr John Hattie; and futurist Mark McCrindle to discuss curriculum and best practices covering some of the most pressing challenges facing teachers today. We’ll also share teacher impact stories and encourage teachers to learn from and connect with a global community.
We cannot wait to celebrate and empower the community that influences our future the most. We hope you’ll join us for
Education on Air
and join the #ItTakesATeacher movement.
Posted by Suan Yeo, Google Education Evangelist
The Digital Garage is open 24/7: connecting Aussie businesses with digital skills
Monday, October 10, 2016
Did you know that highly digitally engaged small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are 1.5 times more likely to be growing revenue, 7 times more likely to be exporting, 8 times more likely to be creating jobs and 14 times more likely to be innovating, than those businesses with low levels of digital engagement?
This is a huge opportunity for SMBs across Australia.
New research from
suggests Australian SMBs have much to gain from boosting their digital skills but with the daily demands of managing a business and technology changing so rapidly, more than 90 per cent of SMBs are not taking full advantage of today’s digital tools.
identified inadequate digital skills as a barrier to making the most of the web. We believe everyone should have access to the digital skills they need for their business to thrive, that’s why we’re launching
The Digital Garage
: a free, online training platform to help SMBs learn the digital skills they need to make the most of the web.
Whether it’s a business that sells
The Digital Garage
can help SMBs to build the digital skills they need to achieve their business goals.
The Digital Garage
includes 90 training modules covering everything from search engine optimisation to social media to video and mobile marketing, to help SMBs find and engage with new customers from their suburb, around Australia or even overseas.
Small businesses make a major contribution to Australia, both through economic activity and employment, so thriving SMBs mean stronger economic growth and a boost for local communities.
Every day Australian businesses are embracing the digital opportunity. We hope
The Digital Garage
will help them to harness these digital tools to grow and thrive online.
Posted by John Ball, Head of Google Marketing Solutions Australia
Daydream: Bringing high-quality VR to everyone
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
[Cross-posted from the
We love virtual reality. Unlike any other technology or screen, VR can make you feel like you're somewhere else. Without a ticket, you can get
front row seats at Coachella
and visit a world-renowned museum to
see extinct animals come back to life
. You can
take field trips to almost anywhere
capture vivid moments
you can revisit anytime. It’s transporting.
At I/O this May, we announced
, our platform for high-quality mobile VR. Our goal for Daydream is to simplify the complexity behind virtual reality. It should be mobile so you can easily carry it with you, and it should be friendly and accessible so everyone can enjoy using it.
We’ve been working with developers, smartphone companies and content creators to make the dream a reality — and now, we’re excited to share updates across the three key elements of Daydream: smartphones, headsets and VR experiences.
Pixel, the first Daydream-ready phones
With Daydream, you simply pop a Daydream-ready phone in the headset to start exploring. Powered by Android 7.0 Nougat, Daydream-ready phones are built with high-resolution displays, powerful mobile processors and high-fidelity sensors—all tuned to support great VR experiences. Google’s newest
Pixel and Pixel XL
are the first Daydream-ready phones, and there are a lot more on the way from leading Android smartphone makers.
Daydream View, the first Daydream-ready headset and controller
Today, we’re announcing
. Designed and developed by Google, it’s the first Daydream-ready headset and controller.
Daydream View is:
Inspired by the clothes we enjoy wearing, the headset is made with soft, breathable fabric and is designed to fit over eyeglasses.
Easy to use.
Just drop in your Daydream-ready phone and you’ll be ready to go. The phone and headset have an auto-alignment system so you don’t have to worry about cables or connectors. A big part of what makes Daydream View special is the Daydream controller. This small yet powerful controller lets you interact with the virtual world the same way you do in the real world. It points where you point, and is packed with sensors to understand your movements and gestures. You can swing it like a bat or wave it like a wand. And it’s so precise that you can draw with it. The controller slides right inside the headset when not in use, so you don’t have to worry about losing it in your bag or between couch cushions.
Daydream View is designed with choice in mind. The headset fits phones big or small, so it’ll work with any Daydream-ready phone you choose. And just like your clothes, the headset comes in different colours. Slate will be available first in Australia followed by Snow and Crimson later on — so you can choose the colour that matches your style.
From the universe of YouTube videos to a magical world where you can cast spells and levitate objects, there is a wide range of experiences coming to Daydream.
The best of Google
We’ve bought your favourites into VR. With YouTube, you can watch the entire library of videos on a virtual big screen and experience VR videos from creators like Buzzfeed, PrankvsPrank, Meredith Foster, CollegeHumor, Tastemade, UnboxTherapy and VSauce2. Use Street View to see curated tours of over 150 of the world’s most amazing places like the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal. You can also search Street View to explore everywhere else. With Play Movies, you can watch shows and films on your own personal big-screen. And Google Photos displays your 360° captures in a whole new way.
Don’t just see the world, experience it.
Swim with a school of dolphins, stand at the edge of a volcano and even visit Pluto. With Daydream View, you can teleport from virtually anywhere to pretty much everywhere. These apps will be coming to Daydream: NYT VR, WSJ VR, Guardian VR.
Your personal cinema
You can always get the best seat in the house with Daydream View. Experience sports, live events and more in full 360° panoramic view. Plus, now you can watch top shows and movies, distraction-free, on your own virtual big screen. These apps will be coming to Daydream: Netflix, MLB.
Get in the game
Go from the sidelines to the center of action. Feel the adrenaline rush as you speed down the racetrack. Bowl a strike with a swing of your arm. Cast a spell with your own magic wand. The Daydream controller transforms with your imagination. These games will be coming to Daydream: Fantastic Beasts, Wonderglade, Mekorama, Gunjack 2, Need for Speed, LEGO BrickHeadz, Action Bowling and dozens more titles.
All of this is just the beginning of our work with Daydream. In the coming months, we’ll be launching with more apps and partners, and over the coming years, we’ll continue our goal of bringing high-quality, mobile VR to everyone.
Posted by Clay Bavor, VP Virtual Reality
Daydream View arrives this November and will be available for $119 RRP at the
and from Telstra and JB Hi-Fi. Sign up on the
to get notified when Daydream View becomes available.
Introducing Pixel, our new phone made by Google
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
[Cross-posted from the
Today, we announced for the first time a family of products that brings people the best of Google through hardware and software made by Google. We're excited that the lineup features the first phone made by Google inside and out — Pixel.
For those of you who have followed Google closely, that name may sound familiar to you because we've used the Pixel name in the past for consumer hardware products that represented an overall premium Google experience. Many of you may also be familiar with the Nexus program. Since 2010, we’ve partnered closely with mobile handset partners around the world to bring you the best of Android. Through Nexus, the goal was to work with these various partners to push the boundaries of what’s possible with a smartphone. We’ve now decided to take the next step and provide our take on the best Google experience, by bringing hardware and software design together under one roof.
Pixel, Phone by Google
With Pixel, we obsessed over every detail, from the industrial design to the user experience. We carefully sculpted the surfaces of the phone, and rounded the edges to make it easy to grip. We used 2.5D Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 on the front display and back glass to accent the aerospace grade aluminum body. The glass on the back also features Pixel Imprint, our fingerprint sensor, which is placed on the back of the phone where your finger expects it. You can even swipe it to access your notifications. And no matter what you’re using your phone for, you’ll need a battery that lasts all day and charges fast — up to seven hours in 15 minutes
Meet your Google Assistant
Pixel is the first phone with the Google Assistant built in. With your Assistant, you can have a natural conversation with Google to find answers or get things done on the go. Say "Ok Google" or touch and hold the Home button and your Assistant is ready to help. Ask it for a brief update on your day or to play a video on YouTube. Look up traffic on the way home from work or when the nearest pharmacy closes. You can even say “show me my camping photos with Andrew” and it'll instantly display the photos you're looking for. Your Assistant can also offer help with what’s on-screen in any app. So if your friend texts you to meet up at a new restaurant, you can just say “navigate there”.
The best smartphone camera. Ever.
The Pixel camera is not only the best smartphone camera we’ve ever made, DxOMark Mobile gave the phone the highest rating they’ve ever given to a smartphone camera
. Our DxOMark Mobile score of 89 is a great example of what’s possible when great hardware meets great software. Pixel puts cutting-edge computational photography in an ultra-fast and easy-to-use camera.
Pixel has a 12.3MP camera, featuring an f/2.0 aperture and big 1.55 micron pixels to capture lots and lots of light. Our team of photography gurus and image processing experts have spent the last year designing and tirelessly optimizing our entire camera stack.
Pixel’s camera lets you take stunning photos in low light, bright light or any light. Catch action shots as they happen with Smartburst, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots and automatically selects the best one. Use Lens Blur to achieve shallow depth of field and bokeh effects, making your subject pop. You can capture dramatic landscapes or make faces glow with new exposure controls.
And as a special bonus for Pixel owners, we’re including free unlimited online storage for original quality photos and videos taken on your Pixel at full resolution in Google Photos
More to love
Pixel ships with the newest Android operating system, 7.1 Nougat. Phones will get software and security updates as soon as they’re available, directly from Google. We’ve also made the update process easier. When a new update is available, it can download and install in the background — no more waiting around for your phone to update.
The Pixel also comes with Google Duo and Allo pre-installed so you can video call and text with all your friends, whether they’re on Android or iOS.
Make it yours
Pixel comes in two sizes, 5” or 5.5”, and two colours: Very Silver and Quite Black. Whichever one you choose, you can also customize it with our new
silicone and clear cases
coming soon to Australia.
Posted by Brian Rakowski, VP, Product Management
Pixel is available for pre-order today in Australia
starting at $1,079 RRP. In Australia, we are teaming up with Telstra as our exclusive telco partner to make Pixel available nationwide at all
stores as well as through the
 Battery use statistics are approximate and represent a mixed use of talk, standby, web browsing, and other features, according to an average user profile as defined by Google. Uses that involve an active display or data usage will use battery more quickly, actual results may vary. Charging rates are based on use of the included USB Type-C 18W charger.
 DxOMark Mobile tests performed by DxO Labs. Camera results based on Sept. 2016. DxOMark Mobile is a registered trademark of DxO Labs.
 Disclaimer: Requires Google Account. Data rates may apply.
What’s it like to have a superpower?
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Not so long ago you would have visited a library if you wanted a specific, hard-to-find fact.
You may have had to travel across the city, or wait for a book to arrive from out of state. You might have had to call a university, and if you’re lucky, receive a fax, or for more general knowledge reference an encyclopedia.
The ability to call on the world’s knowledge with a flick of your fingers would have seemed like a superpower.
It’s been a long journey from there to where we are today.
The first search engine,
, was created in 1990 by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal, before there was even a World Wide Web. The
only went live on August 6, 1991, and contained information on how readers could set up their own web server.
By the time Larry Page and Sergey Brin registered the Google.com domain in September 1997 they had decided to name their creation after the word "googol," a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros, reflecting the seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.
The invention of Search allowed digital records across the world to be indexed and made available for every person with access to the web. Today we take for granted the fact that Search allows us to find information for work or leisure and connects us with businesses that provide services we want to use and goods we want to purchase. Nowadays the majority of Google searches in many nations are made on computers that fit in people’s pockets.
Search has given all of us information superpowers, but what does that mean for Australia today? We asked the experts at AlphaBeta to
get into the numbers
AlphaBeta estimates that in the past year:
Around 15.5 million Australians used Google Search
The average Australian saved around 5 minutes per day, or 31 hours per year, using Google Search, which equates to $9.8 billion of value
Around 840,000 Australian businesses connected with consumers through Google
These headline figures mean improvements in the lives of everyday Australians. Business owners Sandra and Stuart from
Bay Fish N Trips
, for example, have
transformed their business, and their lives, using digital tools
. They’ve experienced 55 per cent revenue growth since beginning to advertise their business online. Where they’d previously had half-full fishing charters, they now have full boats. Stories like this are unfolding all around Australia.
As the cost of finding information has fallen, people across Australia are using Search to find answers more regularly than they could in a pre-search world. Most people have had a dinner table argument solved with a quick search on a mobile phone, or found a solution to a workplace problem online, but perhaps the most important change of all is for the students growing up today who’ve never seen a world without Search.
In 1990, students answered around 3.5 million questions per day using offline resources like library books and tutors. In 2015, students answered around 25 million questions per day using offline and online resources such as Search and YouTube. Now that’s a superpower. You can read the full report from AlphaBeta here.
Alan Noble, director of engineering, Google Australia
10 top ideas to make an impact - vote now in the Google Impact Challenge
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
We know big ideas combined with technology can help to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Australian not-for-profit organisations do an amazing job every day working to address these challenges - but sometimes there are projects that need an extra boost.
That’s why we launched the second
Google Impact Challenge
in June, inviting Aussie non-profit organisations to submit their ideas on how they could use technology to solve a problem and make an impact.
Today, we’re announcing the ten Google Impact Challenge finalists and inviting you to
for the project you think will have the most impact.
The ten finalists are:
The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation
with community driven literacy apps designed to preserve indigenous languages.
Australian Marine Environment Protection Association
(AUSMEPA) with an information repository to drive emissions transparency within the shipping industry.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation
with a low-cost, autonomous robot designed to monitor, map, manage and preserve coral reef ecosystems.
Hello Sunday Morning
with a personalised support app to help people with alcohol problems.
with a web portal that connects individuals and communities to pro bono legal services.
The Nature Conservancy Australia
with mobile technology to protect global fish stocks and the livelihoods of coastal communities.
World Vision Australia
with a network of innovative heat-sensing fire detectors designed to save lives in Bangladesh.
The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre
with a smartphone app to help parents identify childhood autism.
Center for Eye Research Australia Limited
with an eyesight self-assessment system for Australians in remote areas.
The George Institute for Global Health
with a SMS-based support service to help people with chronic diseases lead healthier lives.
These projects stood out for their ideas to use technology to make a big impact on important causes - ranging from better monitoring the Great Barrier Reef to connecting those in need with pro bono legal support. Now it’s your turn to vote for the project you think will have the most impact.
On October 26, a
including David Gonski, Lucy Turnbull, Layne Beachley, Melissa Doyle, Dr Larry Marshall, Jacquelline Fuller and myself, will select three awardees. The fourth will be chosen based on your votes! Find more information and vote now at g.co/australiachallenge.
The four winning submissions will receive a $750,000 grant plus support from Google volunteers to help make each project a reality. The other six finalists will receive $250,000 each, as well as mentoring to kickstart their projects.
This year, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) will make up to four further grants of $500,000 available for projects focused on making an impact internationally.
The DFAT Technology Against Poverty Prize
is provided by innovationXchange and encourages non-profits registered in Australia to explore new ways of delivering social impact internationally, using technology.
You’ve got until 25 October 2016 to
cast your vote
and support Australian non-profits using technology to tackle some of the world’s biggest social challenges. Get involved!
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia
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