News and notes from Google Down Under
Say hello to Google Allo: a smarter messaging app
Friday, September 23, 2016
Whether it’s planning a night out or just catching up, we all rely on messaging to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. But too often we have to hit pause on our conversations — whether it’s to check the status of a flight or look up that new restaurant. So we created a messaging app that helps you keep your conversation going, by providing assistance when you need it.
Today, we’re releasing Google Allo, a new smart messaging app for Android and iOS that helps you say more and do more right in your chats. Google Allo can help you make plans, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat. And the more you use it, the more it improves over time.
Respond quickly with Smart Reply
Google Allo makes it easier for you to respond quickly and keep the conversation going, even when you’re on the go. With Smart Reply, you can respond to messages with just a tap, so you can send a quick “yup” in response to a friend asking “Are you on your way?” Smart Reply will also suggest responses for photos. If your friend sends you a photo of their pet, you might see Smart Reply suggestions like “aww cute!” And whether you’re a “haha” or “😂” kind of person, Smart Reply will improve over time and adjust to your style.
Express yourself with photos, emojis and stickers
Chat is more than just text, so we’ve created a rich canvas for you to express yourself in Google Allo. You can make emojis and text larger or smaller in size by simply dragging the “send” button up or down. Make photos your own by scribbling on them before you send. And we’ve worked with independent artists and studios around the world to create more than 25 custom sticker packs, because sometimes a “sloth riding a pizza” says it all.
Meet your personal Google Assistant
In Google Allo you’ll also be introduced to a preview edition of the
. With your Assistant in Allo, you can have a conversation with Google — ask it questions and let it help you get things done directly in your chats. You no longer need to leave a conversation with friends just to grab an address, share your favorite YouTube video, or pick a dinner spot. Just type @google to bring your Assistant into any group chat. And of course, you can also chat one-one-one with your Assistant in Allo.
Here are just a few ways your Google Assistant can help in Google Allo:
Make plans with friends.
You can easily move from discussing dinner with friends to making plans for the night, right in your chat. Just add the Assistant to your group chat and ask for movie times, local restaurants and more. You can also research travel destinations, flights and hotels together with friends.
Get the latest info on everything from news, weather, traffic, sports, or your upcoming flights status. Ask the Assistant to send you daily updates on the information you care about.
Have some fun.
Ask your Assistant to share that funny YouTube video or play games with friends right in your group chat -- for instance you can compete to guess a movie title based on a series of emojis.
The Google Assistant is the next chapter in a journey Google has been on for many years to assist people in their everyday lives. We’re starting with a preview edition to show you just one way that your Assistant will work for you in chat. Over the coming months, your Assistant will be available in more Google products, working seamlessly throughout your day at home or on the go. The Assistant will initially be available in English, with more languages coming soon.
Chat in Incognito mode
We take privacy and security seriously in Google Allo. All chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies like
Transport Layer Security
(TLS). But we went a step beyond this and we created a mode within Google Allo called
(h/t Chrome). When you chat in Incognito mode, messages have end-to-end encryption and additional privacy features like discreet notifications and message expiration.
You can also message friends who aren’t yet using Google Allo through
or, for those using Android,
app preview messages
We can’t wait for you to say hello to Google Allo! We’re beginning to roll out Google Allo for
, and the app will be available worldwide in the next few days.
Posted by Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager, Google
See more, plan less with Google Trips
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Whether you’re juggling work, school, family, or just the demands of daily life, everyone needs a little break and a new adventure once in a while.
But knowing what to do when your holiday starts can turn what’s supposed to be fun into a lot of work. You might get recommendations from friends, travel guides, or online reviews — but figuring out how to squeeze everything you want to do into a finite window of time can be stressful, especially when you’re in a new place, often with limited access to the web. In fact, a
showed that 74% of travellers feel the most stressful aspect of travel is figuring out the details.
We wanted to reduce the hassle and help travellers enjoy their hard-earned holidays. So today, we’re introducing a new mobile app to help you instantly plan each day of your trip with just a few taps of your finger:
Google Trips is a personalised tour guide in your pocket. Each trip contains key categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food and drink, and more. The entire app is available offline — simply tap the “Download” button under each trip to save it to your phone.
Choose your own adventure
For the top 200 cities in the world, Google Trips shows you a variety of day plans featuring the most popular daily itineraries. We’ve automatically assembled the most popular sights, attractions, and local gems into a full day’s tour — all based on historic visits by other travellers. Say you’re visiting Barcelona. You can choose from multiple day plans, like “Eixample District,” which maps out the can’t-miss buildings by Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect.
Plan each day of your trip like magic
Everyone has different interests and time constraints. No matter how popular an itinerary is, there’s no one solution for the perfect day or the perfect trip. Google Trips can help you build your day around places you already know you want to visit.
Say your friends told you that you have to see the Sagrada Familia — and you’re looking for suggestions on things to do around that spot. Press the “+” button in the day plans tile to jump into a map view containing all the top attractions in your destination. If you’re time constrained, you can specify above the map whether you have just the morning or afternoon, versus a full day. Then simply tap and pin the Sagrada Familia to build your itinerary around it. Google Trips automatically fills in the day for you. If you want more options, tap the “magic wand” button for more nearby sights. You can pin new spots, and if you want even more, each tap of the “magic wand” instantly gives you a new itinerary with updated nearby attractions like Palau Macaya or Parc del Guinardo, so you can build your own custom itinerary in minutes while munching on your morning churro.
All your travel info, all in one place
Keeping track of all your flight, hotel, car and restaurant reservations when you travel can be tough. With Google Trips, all your reservations are automatically gathered from Gmail and organised into individual trips, so you don’t have to search and dig up those emails. They’re waiting for you within the reservations tile, even without WiFi.
Holidays are a chance to recharge and experience new places and cultures. For your next trip, let us help you see the sights, without all the hassle. Google Trips, available now on
, has you covered from departure to return.
Posted by Stefan Frank, Product Manager, Google Trips
A vice-regal Expedition with the Governor-General
Monday, September 19, 2016
When I was a kid at school, getting out of the classroom and going on a school excursion was the highlight of any term.
Filing onto a bus with my classmates, being taken on a tour of a museum or gallery or zoo and learning about history or geography or art - these things always created a great sense of excitement and adventure.
It’s been a while since I was at school, and things have changed quite a bit. But one thing’s for sure: excursions aren’t what they used to be. Back then we could only dream of visiting the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Pyramid of Giza, or the Great Wall of China.
There are many kids at school who don’t have the opportunity to visit some of our great landmarks. We’re a big country with people spread thousands of kilometers apart. Now, students and teachers can use the magic of
, to take students on virtual trips all over the world, including many places the school bus can’t go!
His Excellency General the Honorable Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor-General of Australia, is shown the Google Jump Camera.
This month we launched an Expedition for
Government House, Canberra
and an Expedition of the
State Library of Victoria
Nichols Point Primary School
in Mildura, regional Victoria.
It has been fantastic to work with the Governor-General to create an Expedition of Government House; to give all students across Australia, especially those who can’t make the trip to Canberra, the opportunity to visit Government House and learn about the important role that it plays in our Australian democracy.
His Excellency tries out Google Cardboard with kids from Nichols Point Primary School.
It’s also been exciting to work with the State Library of Victoria. I’ve always wanted to see Ned Kelly's armour, which is on display at the Library, and now, through the Library's Expedition and their partnership with the
Google Arts and Culture
, I will finally have the chance.
Since we launched the Expeditions Pioneer Program last September, more than
students from 11 countries have taken one of our 200+ virtual reality trips—from the Great Barrier Reef, to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
Andrew Hiskens (right), Learning Services Manager of the State Library of Victoria, shows an Expedition to students at Nichols Point.
Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the
onto a set of devices and choose where in the world they want to take their class. The app is
available today for Android
and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.
I can't wait to check out Ned Kelly’s armour, swim Barrier Reef and explore the amazing Angkor Wat… all from our lounge room!
Posted by Sean McDonell, office lead, Google Melbourne
Explore the natural world with Google Arts & Culture
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Many millions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth and giant sea creatures were not just Hollywood creations, but fearsome predators that stalked the oceans. Australia once boasted wombats the size of cars and ‘
’ that stood 2.5 metres tall.
It’s a world that vanished long ago, but one that continues to fascinate those seeking to understand the origins of life on our planet.
To allow anyone, anywhere to explore this world, we’ve partnered with more than 50 of the world’s leading natural history institutions and scientists to bring this lost world to life again online. From today, you’ll now be able to browse through more than 150 interactive stories, 300,000 new photos and videos and more than 30 virtual tours on Google Arts & Culture, exploring the beautiful, the dangerous and the endangered.
You can go behind the scenes at the Australian Museum, look at a book in the Queensland Museum that has pictures of creatures drawn by Europeans nearly 500 years ago, and meet Sweetheart, a 5.1m saltwater crocodile at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, and study a kiwi up close at the Auckland Museum.
With just a few clicks on
Google Arts & Culture
, you can come face to face with a 180 million year old giant, as virtual reality raises the colossal sea dragon from extinction.
Discovered in Dorset in the UK and residing at London’s Natural History Museum. the
— to give it its formal name — can now be explored in 360 degrees. We also used VR to bring the
back to life in Berlin’s natural history museum. Standing at 13 meters (42 feet), it’s one of the tallest dinosaurs that ever lived. It was twice as tall as today’s giraffes, and could easily put its head through a fourth floor window.
We worked with ecologists, paleontologists and biologists to put virtual skin and flesh on the preserved skeletons. From the size of the eye to the position of the snout and the bend of the neck, the texture and creases of the skin were all painstakingly recreated, and verified by a team of scientists. For the best experience, use a viewer like Google Cardboard to look the beast in the eye.
As well as the VR experiences, we’ve added plenty more artifacts and features for experts and armchair explorers alike:
Incredible images of
Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
View the awesome
exhibition at the
’s ancient drawings of
Sea Monks and Sea Bishops
View 3,000 species on display in
one giant cabinet
or find out how our own predecessors may have
With Street View, walk around dinosaurs in New York, explore 30+ natural history museums from
and even go underwater with turtles in
The free collection opens today at
and through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on
. And if you are a teacher, there are more than 20 new
waiting for you and your classroom to discover. We hope you enjoy this journey through the history of nature as much as we do.
Posted by Alan Noble, Director of Engineering, Google Australia
The power of professional learning
Monday, September 12, 2016
Behind every student who goes on to achieve great things is a teacher who has been a source of inspiration and encouragement.
At Google we know the power that a great teacher has to inspire the next generation of innovators and we’re proud to partner with the University of Adelaide on a new program to build skills in digital technologies in classrooms across Australia.
Associate Prof. Katrina Falkner from the University of Adelaide leading a Teacher PL session.
Based on our
successful collaboration with the University of Adelaide
, which has delivered more than 51,000 hours of professional learning online to more than 5,500 teachers across Australia, we’ve teamed up again to provide even more opportunities for professional development for teachers.
PL-in-a-Box supports professional learning (PL) of digital technologies in your school or community. These resources are designed to help deliver free professional learning sessions, workshops or events for digital technologies. Each PL packs provides up to 3 hours of content teachers to run their very own digital technologies workshop.
We have prepared PL packs in a variety of formats, including
around core digital technologies topics, such as visual programming, algorithms and maker spaces, and
packs associated with our free CSER MOOC courses
. There are even PL packs designed for broad year-bands across both primary and high school. To get started with these resources visit the
Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager
Search is a Jack of all trades
Friday, August 26, 2016
Today we’re dealing two new hands from the Google Search deck: solitaire and tic-tac-toe. Now you can play two of the oldest and most popular games for all ages, on desktop and in the Google app.
It’s been said solitaire’s roots are in fortune telling. If that’s true, today your fate rests on your quick wit and the luck of the draw. When you search for “solitaire” on Google, the familiar patience game may test yours!
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, tic-tac-toe is your best bet. In this game of naughts and crosses, you can select your level of difficulty or even go head to head against a friend. Xs and Os to the winner (hugs and kisses, that is!).
For some other fun tips, try asking Google, “
what sound does a pig make?
” Or if you’re looking to settle a bet and feeling lucky, “
flip a coin
” may come in handy.
These are just a sample of the delightful surprises that await you on Google. After all, Search is for so much more than research and practical matters -- it’s for fun, too!
Posted by Stephen Cognetta, Associate Product Manager
Meet Google Duo, a simple 1-to-1 video calling app for everyone
Friday, August 19, 2016
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. It’s no wonder that nearly half of us never make video calls on mobile*.
Today, we’re releasing
— 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
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.
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
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 roll out Duo for Android and iOS today across Australia.
Posted by Justin Uberti, Principal Software Engineer
*Google YouGov Survey, July 2016, U.S., Among 18+ online population, n=1,058
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