News and notes from Google Down Under
Google's Privacy Principles
Thursday, January 28, 2010
(Editor's note: this is a cross-post from the
Official Google Blog
Thursday, January 28th marks
International Data Privacy Day
. We're recognising this day by publicly publishing our guiding
Use information to provide our users with valuable products and services.
Develop products that reflect strong privacy standards and practices.
Make the collection of personal information transparent.
Give users meaningful choices to protect their privacy.
Be a responsible steward of the information we hold.
We've always operated with these principles in mind. Now, we're just putting them in writing so you have a better understanding of how we think about these issues from a product perspective. Like our
guidelines, these privacy principles are designed to guide the decisions we make when we create new technologies. They are one of the key reasons our engineers have worked on new privacy-enhancing initiatives and features like the
Ads Preferences Manager
Data Liberation Front
. And there is more in store for 2010.
You can find out more about our efforts at the
Google Privacy Centre
and on our
Posted by Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Research
Happy Australia Day!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Happy Australia Day! To mark our national day, we took a look at some of the search 'spikes' we see every year around this time, and they make for really interesting reading. They're a great barometer of what Australia Day is all about and how we celebrate.
We're getting ready for the day by dressing up, planning meals, reading up on the history of the day, and being inspired by impressive Australians.
Australia Day costumes
Why do we celebrate australia day
australia day recipe
Australia day BBQ
Australian of the year
On the day we're looking for the music countdown we've come to love, ideas for activities and where to watch fireworks, and making sure our favourite stores are going to be open.
Triple J Hottest 100
Australia Day fireworks
Australia Day opening hours
australia day activities
And in the aftermath, we head online to look for news stories and photos of the day.
Australia Day photos
Australia Day news
We also hope you enjoy today's beautiful Australia Day Google 'doodle' on our
*. 12-year-old Jessie Du of NSW was the winner of the 2009
Doodle 4 Google competition
, and we're so proud to have her gorgeous artwork adorning our homepage today. In 2009 we invited school children across Australia to share with us their 'wish for Australia', and the results were simply beautiful. Of the 32 national winners, Jessie's was selected by our original Google Doodler Dennis Hwang as the overall national winner, and we think you'll agree, he chose a very talented young artist to highlight!
Happy Australia Day!
Posted by Katharina Friedrich, product marketing manager
*You may have noticed that the Google Doodle on the homepage today is slightly different to Jessie's original entry, because that one contained copyright imagery that we weren't able to publish on the homepage today. However, I think you'll agree it's still absolutely beautiful, and inspires lots of wonderful ideas about the Australia of our future.
The Trike has landed! Nominate your favourite Aussie location for a Google Street View Trike visit
Monday, January 25, 2010
Our Street View Trike made its first outing in Australia today, taking a spin around Sydney's beautiful Taronga Zoo. We're really excited to have the Trike in Australia for the first time, because it will let us collect imagery of some of Australia's most spectacular natural and man-made places that are off the beaten track - or, at least, set back from the public roads along which our Street View cars normally travel.
The Street View Trike is a 110kg modified bicycle that can access many places a car cannot (such as bike trails, national parks and beaches) and includes a mounted Street View camera and specially-decorated unit and GPS system.
To give you an idea of the imagery which the trike can capture, check out some of the imagery uploaded to Google Maps most recently on the
Google Lat Long blog here
Google is asking Australians
to nominate, via an online poll, their favourite off-the-beaten-track destinations for the Street View Trike to visit. We've developed four categories for people to submit their suggestions:
* City Life
* Cultural Areas
* Natural Wonders
* Hidden Gems
You can submit your ideas at
from today. Entries close on Monday 8 February, 2010.
We'll select a shortlist of the most original ideas in each category, before inviting Australians to cast their vote for the most popular locations for the Aussie fleet of Street View Trikes to visit.
The winning locations will be announced on Thursday 25 February. Keep an eye on
for further updates and don't forget to wave hello to the Google Trike team if they visit your area!
Posted by Andrew Foster, Google product manager
Cricket LIVE on YouTube
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
This is a cross post from the
YouTube Australia blog
Howzat YouTubers! In a world first, we're bringing live sport to YouTube. From March 12 you'll have front row seats to all 60 matches of the latest cricket sensation, Indian Premier League, streamed live on YouTube. That's 45 days of cricket fever.
What's more, from Mumbai to Melbourne, you'll be able to go to the IPL YouTube channel (
) for special on-demand content including full match replays, match highlights, player interviews, wickets of the match, top sixes, pitch reports and much more.
Oh, and we'll be back next year for Season 4. Expect cricket puns a plenty!
Posted by Ryan Hall, Head of Business Development, Google Australia and NZ
Hey! My site disappeared!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Occasionally we get questions about why a particular webpage or site has disappeared from Google's
search results in Australia
First, it's important to remember that our search results are generated objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. We view the comprehensiveness of our search results as an extremely important priority, both in terms of the user's experience as well as protecting freedom of speech. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints about it.
We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our
. This most often happens when a website is using unfair methods to try to appear higher in the search rankings. Common guideline violations include cloaking (writing text in such a way that it can be seen by search engines but not by users) or setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling search engines and manipulating search engine results. When a webmaster has fixed the site to meet our guidelines, they can then ask for re-inclusion. We will also remove a site from our search results
upon request from the webmaster
who is responsible for it.
In addition, we will remove search results which link to website pages if we believe we are required to do so by applicable law. We believe in being transparent about this process, and provide notice in our search results when we have removed URLs in response to a legal request. In their place is a link to
, which catalogues these removals as well as the legal ground for the removal, e.g. a court decision or a decision by a governmental authority. Anyone can request this type of removal by
. Note that we receive many types of related requests--some part of valid legal process, some not--so we do need to take time to evaluate each request.
It's also important to remember that in the decision of removal, we only remove the specific URLs that have been provided in the request--we do not go about policing the Internet to decide what content should or should not be there.
Posted by Lucinda Barlow, Head of Corporate Communications, Google Australia
A new approach to China
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Like many other well-known organisations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident--albeit a significant one--was something quite different.
First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses--including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors--have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.
Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.
Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users' computers.
We have already used information gained from this attack to make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords online. You can read more here about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more about these kinds of attacks can read this
(PDF) by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, as well as a related
(PDF) prepared for the Commission,
Nart Villeneuve's blog
presentation on the GhostNet spying incident.
We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China's economic reform programs and its citizens' entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.
We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time
we made clear
that "we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China."
These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognise that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.
The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.
Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer
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