News and notes from Google Down Under
Google Play hits 25 billion downloads
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Whether you’re looking for directions, checking email or sharing a picture with friends, apps are now an indispensable part of life. And if you’re using Android, it all starts with
, home to 675,000 apps and games. That’s a lot of choice. We’ve now crossed 25 billion downloads from Google Play, and to celebrate we’re offering some great discounts for the next five days.
In Australia, our celebration will include:
Celebrate 25 billion Android App Downloads
Movies: 25 Must See Movies for .99c
Books: 25 Bestselling Books only $1.99
Twenty-five billion is more than twice the distance, in miles, that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has travelled since its launch 35 years ago. It’s the amount of time, in minutes, that have passed since some of our earliest ancestors began to set foot in Europe. And now, thanks to all of you, it’s a Google Play milestone. We look forward to the next 25 billion.
Posted by Jamie Rosenberg, Director, Digital Content
Mojosurf Rides the Cloud
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Started out of the back of a kombi van 12 years ago,
is a great Aussie success story. We’re an Australian surf school that runs fully-guided tours of Australia’s best east coast beaches and surf breaks. We combine the joy of travel with the thrill of surfing in a well-matched marriage that won us the Golden Backpacks Best Tour/Activity in NSW in 2009.
From small beginnings, we now have over 50,000 customers a year. Our seasonal employees number 200 in the summer in addition to the 50 core employees who service our customer base year round.
The strength of our business is our employees’ love of surfing. Unsurprisingly, our guides rarely have the same passion for business administration and IT systems.
Until recently, our staff had to deal with a static server system in Byron Bay, that was occasionally riddled with sand! And as our operation grew, we could no longer put up with its inefficiency and unreliability.
We searched for an solution that could easily accommodate fluctuating staff numbers, provide reliable remote access and was intuitive for non-techie surfies to use. Reliability was also crucial as we don’t have the time or the people-power to facilitate IT assistance to fix basic problems.
Simultaneously juggling hundreds of customers, dozens of class times and a multitude of travel itineraries, we must always stay on top of our scheduling and resourcing. We had started using Google Calendar to organise employees and adventures, such as the scheduling for our buses, before we discovered all the other functions we could use and we moved to Google Apps for Business just over a year ago.
, chat, and video have given Mojosurf staff a one-stop-shop to tap into the administrative side of the business. Importantly, Google Apps is compatible across multiple platforms and devices, as we don’t supply devices to a lot of our staff they can still access our systems from anywhere, including on the road, from any device they like.
Ultimately, our brand is about leisure and adventure, not stress. Google Apps helps us achieve the high level of organisation necessary to manage staff, students and our crucial resources: surfboards.
Editors note: Today’s blog post is by Trevor Wistaff, IT Manager at Mojosurf
Explore the Great Barrier Reef and more with underwater imagery in Google Maps
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Sea turtles, manta rays, jellyfish - these are some of the magnificent (and sometimes lethal) creatures that await the millions of snorkelers, divers, and ocean enthusiasts that visit our shores each year. But what if you could experience some of this wonder without ever getting wet?
Today we’re adding the very first underwater panoramic images to Google Maps.
The Catlin Seaview Survey used a specially designed underwater camera, the
around the world, as part of their expedition to document the composition and health of coral reefs.
With these vibrant and stunning snapshots now on Google Maps, anyone can now take a virtual dive from their desktop or mobile and
explore six of the world’s most incredible underwater spots, including coral reefs in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii.
Get up close and personal with sea turtles at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef
ou can find a
sea turtle swimming among a school of fish
follow a manta ray through the ocean
experience the reef at sunset
We’re also including other ocean sites from around the world:
on Apo Island, a volcanic island and marine reserve in the Philippines, you can see
an ancient boulder coral, which may be several hundred years old
; halfway across the Pacific, in Hawaii, you can
join snorkelers in Hanauma Bay
and drift over the vast coral reef in the
. From shore to sea, you can dive in and explore this world - without ever putting on a pair of fins!
Over 1.4 million people have also joined the
Catlin Seaview Survey
community on Google+ to enjoy underwater animal life, coral reefs and even go on live virtual dives through Google+ Hangouts.
Here’s a look at how this group of ocean enthusiasts are sharing their passion
with the world:
All of this imagery will be available at
. You can also find out much more about this reef via the
World Wonders Project
, a website that brings modern and ancient world heritage sites online.
The Catlin Seaview Survey team on location on the Great Barrier Reef, encountering a manta ray
Whether you’re a marine biologist, an avid scuba diver or a landlocked landlubber, we encourage you to dive in and explore the ocean with Google.
, Product Manager for Google Maps Australia & New Zealand
When disaster strikes, let information slip through the net
Thursday, September 20, 2012
[This was originally published today in
The Sydney Morning Herald
When an earthquake shook country Victoria in late June, the first point of call for many Australians was online. "Earthquake" became the top trending term on Twitter within minutes and was the third fastest-rising search term in Australia for the month.
Google's search data show almost anywhere in the world, when a disaster strikes, people head online for information - warning alerts, recommended actions, evacuation routes, the state of essential utilities, social services, shelter and access to food. Tragically, this information isn't always there.
This can be for a variety of reasons: sometimes the information simply isn't online, or it is in a format that is hard to share on the internet or view on mobile. Official sources such as government websites can buckle under a surge in traffic, as happened to Geoscience Australia after the Victorian tremor.
A flood or an earthquake can also redraw our everyday landscape so that conventional maps don't work. For example, last year's Japanese tsunami flooded traffic arteries and many aid workers drove down a main road that had become a dead end, critically delaying services.
That's where the internet comes in. Having been part of the UN response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, I've experienced the challenges of gathering even the most basic information, such as who had access to which communities and where did people most need help? The astonishing rise of social media in Indonesia would bring a rush of answers today, as well as a few new challenges such as verification and information overload. But those challenges are far easier to tackle than the eerie silence that descended upon Aceh.
There's almost no justification for authorities withholding information. At a recent disaster-information conference in the Japanese city of Sendai, participants - from non government organisations to government agencies - unanimously agreed that limiting information does not help calm people. That consensus followed criticism of authorities for sitting on the release of nuclear contamination data for more than month because it was considered "not reliable enough" for the public, yet good enough to share with international agencies.
In an information vacuum, social media such as Twitter registers problems minutes after they occur; the information is soon in the hands of people who need help, as well as in the hands of people who want to help. Our rule of thumb is that the more information is shared, the better it gets. Limits on information cause anxiety.
As the bushfire season nears, the main lesson Australia can take from the Japan experience is to set up processes, collaborate and share data before a crisis. Since the 2009 Victorian bushfires, a lot of Australian agencies have those processes in place, but more often than not they've reached this conclusion the hardest possible way: through crises.
Assuming nearly all information the government has can be useful in a crisis, whether it's something obvious like community-bushfire evacuation routes or mundane details such as the location of portable toilets (an important issue during last year's Christchurch earthquake). Companies, too, can play a role and think about what useful information they can provide in a crisis: banks can let people know where ATMs are working, utilities can provide details on where power and water is available.
Secondly, let's provide that data in open and interoperable formats so it can be used and shared by anyone on the web, not locked in PDFs or JPG images as some evacuation routes and other critical data have been.
Thirdly, let's make data available under open licensing or permissions so that Google and others can legally republish it. At the peak of the 2009 bushfires in Victoria, a rush of traffic made the state's Department of Sustainability and Environment and Country Fire Authority websites hard to access. Google's crisis-response team used government information to launch a map of fire locations, updated in real time, which received more than 1 million page views. It doesn't matter who's hosting it, what counts most is that the information itself is resilient. So it makes sense to have many websites host it and take on the burden together.
It's cliche to say collaboration helps us survive a crisis. What that means today is that information isn't worth anything unless people are taking that information, adapting it, consulting it and getting it to the people who need it.
Posted by Nigel Snoad,
product manager for Google.Org's Crisis Response team.
Moving, singing and dreaming - A Chrome experiment from Cirque du Soleil
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Cirque du Soleil
opened in Sydney last week
tages impressive live performances that challenge the laws of physics and the limits of the human body.
Today, at Google’s
Big Tent event
in New York, the wonder of
Cirque du Soleil
transcended the confines of real world performance and embraced the entire web through
, a new sensory Chrome experiment crafted by
Cirque du Soleil
and developed by Subatomic Systems.
Movi.Kanti.Revo comes from the
words for moving, singing and dreaming. In the experiment, you can follow a mysterious character through a beautiful and surreal world to encounter enchanting
Cirque du Soleil
performances and live an emotional journey made of love, doubts, hopes and dreams.
Breaking with the tradition of point and click web browsing, you can navigate through this unique experience simply by gesturing in front of your device’s camera. This was made possible using the
feature of WebRTC, a technology supported by modern browsers, that, with your permission, gives web pages access to your computer’s camera and microphone without installing any additional software.
To bring the creativity of
Cirque du Soleil
to the browser, we mixed traditional HTML and CSS with 3D transitions and HTML5 APIs. If you’re more technology-curious, you can get a backstage tour via our
and a brand new
technical case study
like Movi.Kanti.Revo demonstrate how the web has evolved into a beautiful creative canvas underpinned by continuously evolving web technologies.
For optimal viewing, you’ll need to use a computer that has a camera and a browser that supports WebRTC, like
. You can also access the experiment from a tablet or a mobile phone for a slightly different yet still beautiful experience.
Start your journey at
(Cross-posted from the
Google Chrome blog
#AussieFoodWeek: Get ready to cook, eat & share
Friday, September 14, 2012
Whether searching for a last-minute recipe, watching a
with your favourite chefs, or looking up recommendations on Google+ Local (and soon,
!), foodies are feeding their passion in so many ways arcoss the web.
To celebrate this great community, we're declaring next week
to bring together the people that love to cook, eat, and share their love for food.
Here are a few ways you can take part:
Learn from some of the best:
Watch your favourite chefs in a live hangout on YouTube and Google+. Or better yet, get ingredients together to cook along in the hangout, and post a photo or video of your finished dish, with the hashtag #aussiefoodweek.
Here’s a schedule of who’s cooking what:
Tuesday, 18 September, 12:30pm:
Billy Law cooks up Cola Chicken & Rocky Road Ice Cream
Wednesday, 19 September, 12:00pm:
Bridget Davis teaches you how to prepare The perfect Scrambled Egg
Thursday, 20 September, 12:00pm and 2:00pm:
prepare some of their favourite dishes from the Barilla Kitchen
Friday, 21 September:
, cricketer legend and wine connoisseur talks pinot pairing and more...with some special guests
Share recommendations near you:
Your friends know what you like, and they probably like the same things you do. Try searching on Google+ Local and see if anywhere nearby has gotten a rave review from a trusted foodie.
Here’s one of my favourite lunchtime spots
(be sure try try the scotch egg!). We’ll be on the lookout all next week for some hidden gems, so write a review, check in, and let us know what you think. Upload some foodie photos and use the hashtag
to make sure your opinion is heard.
Connect with people who share your passions:
With Google+ you can search for others with the same tastes as you, and recommend interesting people and pages to follow with a shared circle. In case you’ve never shared a circle before, here’s how
To get you started,
here are 5 foodies
you might not have heard of. Want to share some of your favourites? Be sure to use the hashtag
So whatever type of cuisine you’re into - if you’re a professional chef, just getting started, or simply enjoy a nice meal - we want to hear from you! Use the hashtag
and help spread the culinary love. We’ll be featuring tips, tricks & interesting posts all week long from
, and will also feature recipe playlists from some of our most popular chefs on YouTube.
, Google Australia Marketing Manager & (wannabe chef)
Announcing Google for Entrepreneurs Day
Thursday, September 13, 2012
, we met hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs who were keen to learn about how to take their start-ups to the next level.
From the lively discussions to the exchange of business cards, there’s no doubt that the Aussie start-up scene is alive and well.
So following on from Sudo, on Monday October 8 we will host a
Google for Entrepreneurs Day
in Sydney. Designed for startups and entrepreneurs, this free day will cover the various Google products and tools that may help those in a start-up build and grow their business. While Sudo shared business insight and advice on creating a successful start-up, this day
will have a strong technical focus
There will be technical tracks covering our cloud technologies, Android, Chrome, Google+ and others. We’ll also have sessions focusing on how to track and measure web presence and on how to market your products or services.
Experts from Google will also be there to host hands-on sessions on tools and products like YouTube, Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Our keynote speakers from Google will include:
on understanding your users and the market.
on innovation and entrepreneurship at Google;
Head of Google Enterprise’s
on the future of work, today.
Google itself was once a start-up in a garage, so we know the next great idea can come from anywhere. Everyone benefits from a strong
and we hope the
Google for Entrepreneurs Day
will help empower the next generation of entrepreneurs to build and scale businesses and be successful online.
A full agenda of this whole-day event will be available in the coming weeks, but places are limited so get in early. Please register your interested in attending
Posted by Sally Ann Williams, Program Manager, Engineering, Google Australia
Introducing a new YouTube app for your iPhone and iPod touch
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
[Cross-Posted from the
YouTube Australia Blog
For all you diehard YouTube fans out there who can’t get enough YouTube on your mobile, we’ve got some great news: starting today, you can
the official YouTube app for iPhone and iPod touch from the
, bringing you more of the videos you love and more ways to share them with the people you care about.
The new app is built by YouTube engineers, to give our iPhone and iPod touch users the best mobile experience. Here’s what you’ll find:
Tens of thousands more videos:
Watch official music videos like
Taylor’s latest hit
New YouTube channel guide:
Swipe your finger from the left edge of the screen to reveal a guide with your subscribed channels on YouTube, giving you instant access to everything
Find awesome videos faster:
Get to videos like “
” faster with new search tools that give suggestions while you type, and let you sort through videos or channels. Flip through related videos, comments and more info, all while watching a video.
More ways to share with the people you love:
you found on YouTube on Google+, Facebook or text message in the app, as well as from Twitter and email.
There’s even more to explore with the new YouTube app for iPhone and iPod touch, available for download from the
today. We’re working on an optimized version of the YouTube app for iPad in the coming months, and stay tuned for more details.
You’ve already shown us you love YouTube on mobile—to the tune of
1 billion mobile views a day
—so we can’t wait to see what you think about this new experience.
Andrey Doronichev, head of YouTube mobile, recently watched “
One-Shot // Goodbye, beloved sister.
Google Drive: Updates for iOS and Android
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Cross-posted from the
Official Google blog
Every day, more and more people are choosing to live online and
get things done in the cloud
. To help make this experience as seamless as possible,
is one place where you can create, share and keep all your stuff. Drive is available on the web, as well as
Updates for iOS
Starting today, if you’re using the
on your iOS device you can
Google documents, just as you can with the
. From your iPhone or iPad, you can
create a new document, edit an existing one or format text
. And just like on your computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits instantly as they’re made.
You’ll also notice other new improvements to the iOS Drive app. For example, you can now view Google
on your iPhone or iPad, including speaker notes, full-screen mode and the ability to swipe between slides. You can also
create new folders, move files into folders and upload stuff
(like photos and videos) from your device directly in the Drive app.
Updates for Android
We’re also updating the Drive app for Android phones and tablets today. You can now add comments, reply to existing comments and view tables in your Google documents. And you’ll have the same new abilities to view presentations and organize your stuff as your friends with iPhones do.
More to come...
Looking ahead, we have plenty more planned for the Drive mobile apps—including native editing and real-time collaboration for Google spreadsheets. Stay tuned.
Get Drive in the
for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and visit the
to get the latest on your Android phone or tablet. To learn more about Google Drive, visit
Posted by Anil Sabharwal, Senior Product Manager
Hanging out at the Brisbane Writers Festival
Monday, September 10, 2012
partnered with the
+Brisbane Writers Festival
to bring together readers with their favourite authors, including Claire Bidwell Smith,
, in a
series of interviews via Hangouts on Air from the Brisbane Writers Festival
over the weekend of 8th and 9th September.
Some of the highlights of the weekend included
Professor Chris Turney
unexpectedly pulling out a replica skull of the
from his backpack to describe the expedition he took part in which lead to the discovery of the remains of this prehistoric human being.
Chris Turney showing his hobbit replica skull at the Brisbane Writers Festival
After the Hangout, author Chris Turney tweeted that for him hangouts are “a complete game changer” -
In another Hangout we had
admitting that as a novelist, she could be compared to her heroine, the con artist in
whose compulsive lies could be construed as great, believable story-telling.
Claire Bidwell Smith
, a grief counsellor, explored the five stages of grief in her memoir
Rules of Inheritance
. It’s an incredibly raw piece of writing, and her advice for people going through a similar loss was riveting. And as a US visiting Australia for the first time, her passion for our sausage rolls is entertaining.
reminded us that she does not write erotica but does write pornographic texts. Her explanation of how to differentiate the two is enlightening. She discussed the impact of EL James and what is like when she meets her readers knowing that they are familiar with the intimate details of her sex life thanks to her memoir
If you didn't manage to see them live, you can view the G+ Hangouts on
Inspired to get back into reading? The Brisbane Writers Festival featured some very well known authors and you can check out some of their bestselling
books from the festival here on Google Play
Posted by Louise Sherwin Stark and Leticia Lentini - We read books for Google
YouTube’s next generation of creators and brand builders
Friday, September 7, 2012
, a former airport ground-crew worker from Perth turns his passion for cooking into a career and an audience of 100 million worldwide.
, a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Melbourne scores a record contract with a global pop superstar.
, a Sydney media and arts graduate, amasses an audience bigger than the Royal Wedding.
These are today’s media superstars. They’re using the sight, sound and motion of video to reach the 800 million people around the globe who tune into YouTube every month. They’ve become experts in building communities, inviting their audience in to participate in the creation of their content and brand.
The last few days successful Aussie YouTube partners came to Sydney to share their experience and knowledge with advertisers, media companies, other content creators and their fans at our series of YouTube Next events. At these events we’re also celebrating the seven-year evolution of YouTube and looking at the possibilities for our video platform in Australia.
Today, two thirds of online Australians are on YouTube every month and one in five say they now visit YouTube every day. And no surprise for smartphone loving Aussies, one in three Australian YouTube views happens on a mobile device, and this number is growing fast. We love watching
Mighty Car Mods
DIY car modification videos on our tablets in bed.
Click here or on the image below
to check out some highlights from our YouTube NEXT kick-off event at Luna Park on Wednesday night.
Arlene Zelina performing at YouTube NEXT
We’re overwhelmed by the unlimited creativity and curiosity of the growing YouTube community and thanks to our collaboration with AFTRS we’re excited to offer a free, one-day
for young creatives like
at our Sydney office to learn how to become the next YouTube star.
We’re excited to see how Rob, Natalie, Arlene and the tens of thousands of other Australian YouTube partners will take it to the next level.
Lucinda Barlow, Head of Marketing Google Australia & New Zealand, recently watched
How to order KFC like a boss
Explore with the Knowledge Graph carousel in Australia
Friday, September 7, 2012
[Cross posted from the official Inside Search Blog]
Last month, we showed how you can now get answers to your questions with the help of the Knowledge Graph even when the best answer is not just a single person or thing, but a collection or list of items. When looking for [cedar point rides], you see a carousel of popular roller coasters at the amusement park, drawing on our Knowledge Graph and the collective intelligence of the Web. The feature was initially available in English on google.com, and we’re now taking our first steps to make it available more widely around the world. Over the next couple days, we’ll begin showing the carousel for factual lists to our English users on all Google domains across the world.
This works for a variety of locally interesting lists like [Russel Crowe Movies] and the [Cast of Home and Away]
or more general queries like [saturn’s moons] or [dog breeds]
. The carousel makes it easy to explore the items in the list -- it stays attached to the top of the search results page so you can flip through the items easily and dive in deeper if something catches your interest. Happy exploring!
Posted by Kavi Goel, Product Manager
Become a ‘YouTube Star in a Day’
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Today’s guest blogger is Martin Brown, Head of the National Open Program at AFTRS. Martin is a highly regarded filmmaker who has worked as an art director, co-producer and lead producer on feature films such as Strictly Ballroom, William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes) and Moulin Rouge (starring Nicole Kidman).
This Sunday the
Australian Film Television and Radio
is partnering with YouTube to deliver a free, exclusive one-day workshop at the Google Sydney office to help filmmakers ages 16-18 become YouTube’s next overnight sensations.
is Australia's national screen arts and broadcast school, with an alumni list that is a veritable who's who of the Australian film industry. For example, one of AFTRS alumni, Damien Power, was showcased as a finalist in
YouTube’s Your Film Festival
in Venice last weekend with his touching film “
At the workshop, our experts on YouTube will be sharing their top tips and tricks for making the most of videos, teaching you how to make the digital leap from being a hit at your local school to achieving global superstardom.
In addition to AFTRS’ teachers,
YouTube sensations Christiaan and Nick from Bondi Hipsters
will also be hosting sessions on content production at the masterclass on Sunday. You might remember Nick from his original internet sensation
and the duo together in their more recent videos such as
“Bondi Hipsters: On Recreational Sports”
Participants in the 'YouTube Star for Day' workshop will learn about:
Next generation content
Broadening opportunities as a YouTube creator
Getting a start on YouTube
Building channels and audience
Camera, lighting and sound techniques
The rules of production
Places are filling quickly, so, if you’d like to be involved you need to register your interest very soon! Here are the details for the event:
16-18 year olds
Sunday September 9, 2012
9:00 am - 5:00pm
Google Australia, Level 5, 48 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, NSW
Free, but places limited to 80.
To find out more, visit
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