News and notes from Google Down Under
Introducing our 2008 Anita Borg Scholars
Thursday, September 25, 2008
On Friday we hosted our annual Anita Borg Scholars' Retreat at
our Engineering Centre in Sydney
as a way for women to come together and share their experiences as leaders in the field of computer science.
Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship
started in the United States in 2003 in association with the
Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology
to honour the legacy of
and her efforts to encourage women to pursue careers in computer science and technology. Australia became the first country outside of the US to launch the scholarship in 2006, and in 2007 we extended the opportunity to students studying in New Zealand.
This year we received applications from women at 28 universities throughout Australia and New Zealand, and we're pleased to announce Andrea Schweer, from the University of Waikato and Janina Voigt, from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, as the recipients of $5,000 scholarships for the 2009 academic year.
A big congratulations as well to the twelve 2008 finalists, each of whom will be awarded $1,000:
Gretel Png (University of Adelaide)
Heather Macbeth (University of Auckland)
Iris Yan (Monash University)
Jenine Beekhuyzen (Griffith University)
Magdalena Stremeski (Swinburne University of Technology)
Miriam Hochwald (University of Queensland
Olena Medelyan (University of Waikato)
Sally Hodson (University of Western Australia)
Sarah Killey (Queensland University of Technology)
Shaoqun Wu (University of Waikato)
Sue Lynn Choy (RMIT University)
Tamara Beames (University of South Australia)
The scholarship recipients and finalists enjoyed their retreat, which included tech talks, workshops, career panels and social activities and provided an opportunity to network with other women in technology-related fields.
One of the scholarship winners, Janina Voigt, told me, "It's been a great experience to meet people with similar views of issues we all face as women in this industry - we're all girls going through the same thing right now. It has also been great to share ideas and participate in the workshops."
The scholars are studying a wide variety of disciplines and talked openly about their projects, inspiring and learning from each other.
Shaoqun Wu shared how she's creating a system to assist with second language learning. Having moved to New Zealand from China seven years ago, she understands what it's like to learn a second language first-hand. Her project has been funded by the New Zealand government, and she hopes to continue developing her career around this area. During the retreat, she emphasised how important it is that women in IT connect and help one another.
We also discussed how to encourage other women to enter the field of engineering and computer science. Sue Lynn Choy, a Ph.D. student in surveying, geomatics and cartography, told me "Studying computer science or other IT-related fields can be a big stepping stone to other things. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination."
Posted by Will Blott, University Programs, Australia & New Zealand
Fill 'er up
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
With rising fuel prices increasingly factoring into our driving decisions, Australians are feeling our fair share of pain at the petrol pump.
To help Australians get the best value for their fuel dollars, Google Australia has partnered with Motormouth to help provide everyone with easily accessible information about petrol prices. We've developed an iGoogle gadget (
) that allows you to find out the price of various fuel types across parts of major metro areas in Australia.
You can quickly see the prices for your area in a list or on Google Maps. Prices are updated twice daily during the week and once on Sundays by Motormouth's scouts who report the prices from service station price boards.
Currently, over 50% of metropolitan service stations are covered, which hopefully include a few near you.
With the daily work of these petrol price scouts now accessible from your personalised iGoogle homepage, we hope this handy tool will go some way to keeping you informed and ensuring that you're not over-paying at the pump (note that prices can change at any time, except in Perth where they're locked for 24 hours).
Of course, the best way to reduce your fuel bill would be to walk, cycle or catch public transport to wherever you're going.
and, in Perth,
, can help you with that.
Now go and get the keys to the Cortina so you can move the Camira so Dad can get the Torana out of the driveway and fill up the Commodore. This gadget will pay for itself.
Posted by Julian Sonego, Consumer Marketing Manager
More information for advertisers about our Content network
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Our Australian advertisers often ask: "What kinds of web sites make up the
Google content network
To help answer this question, we just re-launched the
on the Google content network
to include a more comprehensive set of examples of where your ads can appear. The content network is comprised of hundreds of thousands of web sites worldwide, from information and news sites like
The Sydney Morning Herald
New York Times
, to wedding sites like
. The revamped Partners page is meant to better demonstrate a small selection of the variety of sites available. Below are some features of the new Partners page:
Sites are organised by category. This will help you browse sites by categories that represent your target audience, such as finance, entertainment and technology. For example, if you sell rental cars, you might browse through the "Travel" category to see examples of relevant sites. Or, if your target is female, you can try the "female interest" category.
Once you find a site that's relevant to your product or service, you can use
to target your ads to that site directly. We recommend you use the
to help you with this. If your campaign is already running on the content network, you can see the sites where your ad has appeared by running a
Placement performance report
For those of you targeting users in other countries, a drop-down menu lets you browse sample partner sites in countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Posted by Isis Nair, Google Australia AdSense Team
Working with Bravehearts
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
White Balloon Day
. An annual event run by
, Australia's largest child protection advocacy group, White Balloon Day is a very important event during National Child Protection Week. White Balloon Day’s overarching message is to "Break the Silence on Child Sexual Assault" by raising awareness and by show of balloons, demonstrating community desire for Australian children to be safe.
We've been working with Bravehearts to raise awareness of the day and encourage all Australians to buy special white balloons. We've been doing this by providing Google Grants, so that when Internet users search for relevant terms on Google, "Sponsored Links" for White Balloon Day appear alongside search results.
We also created a special Google Maps "My Map", showing the
of Claude Harvey, "The Lawnmower Man", as he mowed his way 850kms from the Gold Coast to Sydney to raise funds and awareness for victims of sexual assault for White Balloon Day.
Google Australia and Bravehearts are committed to deepening their ties for White Balloon Day in future years, by using new media and technologies to educate families about how to stay safe online and raise awareness of the tools that empower families to control their activity online.
We share Bravehearts' belief that new technologies and new media are a vital way to educate children and parents about family safety online. We hope to work together to help parents and kids take advantage of tools that help put them in control of their online experiences and make Web surfing safer.
You can check out our
Tips for Online Safety
Online Family Safety Guide
for helping families stay safe online. These provide quick links to tools like Google SafeSearch and other resources. Google SafeSearch is a tool that allows users to filter unwanted content from their search results. (You can customise your SafeSearch settings by clicking on the 'Search Preferences' link to the right of the search box on Google.com.au).
So please support Bravehearts, buy a white balloon today, and help break the silence.
Posted by Carolyn Dalton, Head of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Australia and New Zealand
What's on the Google homepage today?
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Posted by Ian Stephenson, CEO, National Trust of South Australia
As a predominantly urbanised nation, we often overlook the enormous contribution made to Australia's growth and progress by our farmers and farming technology.
For some Australians, the best known "Mr Plough" is the one portrayed by Homer in a
famous Simpsons episode
(the episode refers to a snow-plough). However, in 1876, it was the invention of a quirky and ingenious farming implement in South Australia that had everyone talking. Used throughout the world to this day, the
"stump jump plough"
revolutionised farming worldwide and is one of this country's greatest inventions.
In the 1800s, much of South Australia's wheat farming land was covered by vast expanses of mallee scrub. This was a particularly difficult obstacle to remove with traditional methods such as an axe. It often made ploughing the land excruciatingly slow and expensive; traditional ploughs would smash into the stump and cease working. The stump jump plough, with hinged mould-boards attached to the plough's frame, was able ride over or "jump" the mallee scrub (or stone, or other obstacle) without stopping - and without damage.
The man credited with the invention by the South Australian Parliament, Richard Bowyer Smith, was born on 2 September 1837 and I'm delighted that Google is honouring his birthday with a special homepage doodle today.
Smith's invention was initially received with scepticism. Many at the
show in 1876 called him a "fool" and a "lunatic". Smith, however, had a vision, believing that his new plough would open up new lands and new prosperity. He was right. His invention unleashed a new wave of innovation. His brother Clarence, and the inventor George Whittaker, among others, created their own versions of the stump jump plough, which helped innumerable farmers in Australia and worldwide to overcome an age-old problem. The stump jump plough is a true example of Australian ingenuity and persistence in the face of a difficult problem.
In 2002, the
National Trust of South Australia
and BankSA named the stump jump plough as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. It joins other South Australian icons on the list like the
, and the
The National Trust of SA aims to raise awareness in the broader community on cultural and natural heritage matters. With over 100 historic buildings, as well as 28 nature reserves under our management, the National Trust is the largest community heritage organisation in South Australia. I'm thrilled that Google, with today's doodle, is bringing Richard Smith's invention to life for the online generation and raising awareness of Australia's heritage icons.
Google Insights for Search in Australia
Monday, September 1, 2008
You may have read a few interesting articles (
) about a new tool called
Google Insights for Search
, a new product that allows advertisers and marketers to better understand search behaviour across the globe.
, you can type in a search term to view search patterns, and we've also included some interesting new features like a geographic heat map to graphically display search volume and regional interest.
We figured it would be great to highlight some Australian-specific insights we've found using Insights for Search. Hopefully they'll stimulate your own discovery of other interesting online trends in Australia!
As an example, if you perform a basic enquiry, leaving all the default settings and simply type [
], this will show you search information from across the world, from 2004 to today. As you might expect, there is a lot of interest in didgeridoos here in Australia. But what you might not expect is the other countries with a large relative interest in didgeridoos, like Austria. If you were in the business of making fine, handcrafted didgeridoos here in Australia, you could build your international business by focusing your online advertising within the most relevant international markets: Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic.
It's also possible to compare search terms by location, time range and category. With the Categories filter, you can hone in on results based on different categories. For example, you can enter the search query [the vines] and isolate results to the music category, to see interest in the rock band
, rather than the WA resort. If you throw in a few more bands for
, it's interesting to see how popularity is changing over time, and that great bands have peaks and troughs (often around album sales or tours)! [The Vines] peaked in early 2004, [
] peaked in 2005/2006, but [
] continues to be consistently popular. It's also interesting to note which in which Australian regions [The Vines] are searched - as a proportion of total searches, they're most popular in Perth.
Using the "Categories" filter, you can also see the most popular searches for an entire category, such as [
], where you can notice the huge spike in interest around the Beijing Olympic Games.
A further use of Insights for Search is to see popular searches and rising queries, from here and abroad. An
, for example, of Australian vacation destinations that Germans are searching for, shows that Ayers Rock/Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef are popular destinations, with the Whitsundays and Tasmania rapidly increasing in popularity in the past 18 months.
Businesses can further use Insights for Search by viewing search trends for over time. The seasonality of searches can be used to target advertising campaigns around events like Fathers Day or Christmas. Look at the spike in searches for [
] in the lead up to Christmas.
We hope you'll find Google Insights for Search to be an extremely valuable tool. Given the various methods of comparison, the ability to filter by category and visualise heat maps by region, hopefully you'll discover new and engaging information about your products, markets, and advertising!
Posted by Justin Baird, Senior Product Specialist
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