News and notes from Google Down Under
Get your Google back
Saturday, October 27, 2012
If you’ve moved to Windows 8 and are getting acquainted with it, you may be looking for a couple of your favorite Google products that you use every day. To help you get the best experience possible on Google and across the web, we’ve designed and built a new Google Search app and Chrome browser for Windows 8 and created a
to help you get your Google back.
The Google Search app comes with a clean and recognizable user interface. Our new voice search lets you naturally speak questions. The image search and image previews are built for swiping. And, as usual, you get immediate results as you type with Google Instant. The
you enjoy on special occasions will be right there on the homepage and even show up on the Google tile on your start screen.
The Chrome browser is the same Chrome you know and love, with some customizations to optimize for touchscreens, including larger buttons and the ability to keep Chrome open next to your other favorite apps. It delivers the fast, secure web experience you’ve come to expect from Chrome on all your devices.
To get both Google Search and Chrome installed on your Windows 8 machine, head to our
and learn how to get your familiar Google apps back.
Posted by Tamar Yehoshua, Product Management Director, Search
Movember's growth fueled by the web
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
For ten years, Movember has been changing the face of men’s health.
Movember has grown from humble beginnings
with a couple of blokes having a beer and deciding that it was important to raise universal awareness for men’s health. The movement
off across the globe as photos and support were shared over the web.
Last year over one million men got behind the cause as walking,
talking (hairy) billboards and raised over $124 million in funds to
fight prostate cancer and male mental health issues.
“We honestly didn’t expect such global participation so
quickly, but once we got online, it was just so easy to reach
passionate supporters and everything took off like wildfire" explains
Adam Garone, one of the Movember co-founders.
At Google, we have been inspired that a group of motivated
Aussie guys could spark global change — and have such fun doing it
along the way. So we’ve chosen to celebrate this story in our new
The web is powerful. It can be used to
fight a cause
start a fashion craze
build a global audience
connect in a rich and beautiful
It’s a place where you can find inspiration and turn it into
action...to create, connect and share. The web, truly is, what you make of it.
With only a few weeks to go, you can register for Movember and get involved at
Posted by Gabriella Conlon, Google Chrome Marketing
Driving Competitiveness with Google Apps
Thursday, October 18, 2012
is an innovative all-terrain vehicle and we believe it’s going to cause a storm when we launch the vehicle to the Australian public later this year. The Tomcar’s simple and robust design is a product of a long pedigree as a rapid all-terrain vehicle for military forces in combat. Originally researched and built for combat environments, the vehicle successfully serves numerous military and security forces in conflict zones across the globe, the most recent with the British Army contingent of active NATO forces.
The Tomcar’s original battlefield pedigree translates into an elegantly simple and visionary design that makes it easy to drive and allows quick repair capabilities in the field. The Tomcar’s unique abilities can be applied to many tasks outside combat, and as such, the civilian market is increasingly utilising Tomcar vehicles.
We are set to build 5,000 vehicles per year at our new Melbourne plant. We’ll be supplying agricultural, security, tourism and mining industries with vehicles that are not only inspired by our military versions, but are in essence the same vehicle. Tomcars
are designed to be safe, rugged and extremely dependable, making them ideal for the harsh Australian environment.
However, here in Australia we have to compete in an established and highly competitive market. Tomcar Australia’s goal was to break through and compete effectively by using flexible technology, while at the same time minimising costs and maximising the value of our services. The large established automotive players already have extensive customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning systems, which they use to interact with dealers and consumers. Conversely, to tap into these large players, dealers must also invest heavily in expensive IT infrastructure.
As a newcomer we wanted to make sure it was easy for Tomcar dealers to work with us, so we sought an IT solution that would integrate with dealers’ own systems in a fuss-free manner. To also streamline operations across our supply chain, we needed reliable and easy-to-use communication and collaboration tools for staff and external stakeholders, particularly as they are spread across Australia and overseas.
In the end, the adoption of Google Apps for Business was an easy decision. We were already familiar with Google and after some intense research into the products available, we decided to move everyone over to Google Apps. We needed a system that was flexible, affordable and could be deployed rapidly. Within a short period of time we have outmanoeuvred big competitors with Google Apps, saving ourselves at least AU$300,000 on elaborate technology architecture solutions.
Gmail, Google Sites, Google Calendar, and Google Drive have enabled our employees to gain anytime, anywhere access to email, documents and all of our business-critical data. Through Google Apps, we have created a totally paperless office, and in the process, developed a system where relevant data needed to source, produce and manufacture the vehicles is all online and accessible from anywhere. Our stakeholders and partners share the most up-to-date data, including engineering drawings and designs which are stored and tracked in Google Drive allowing us to make better decisions, faster. This vastly increases our ability to compete with the bigger players in the market.
Our highly mobile workforce is loving Google Docs for editing and sharing in real-time, resulting in quicker project completion and deal closures, even when everyone is in a different location. And for total peace of mind, we know we’ll never lose our data or have it stolen due to any internal IT failures, as it is stored in the highly secure Google cloud.
This all allows the team at Tomcar Australia to concentrate on making the worlds best all-terrain vehicle.
Guest post by David and Michael Brim, co-founders of Tomcar Australia.
Google Apps for Business
Social shift sees Gillard go viral
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
[Guest Blog Post by Kieran Ricketts, ABC News Online]
How does a piece of powerful Australian political theatre that saw accusations of misogyny hurled across the political divide become watercooler social media buzz the world over?
As with many ‘overnight’ online successes, it’s the result of a long tail of strategic thinking.
The video in question – whatever your view of the politics that surround it – is compelling, polemic and tense.
And it’s had an extraordinary response – over 1.5 million views in less than a week. It has been watched so much that totalling the amount of minutes viewed equates to over 14.5 years of eyeballing – and it has been ‘liked’ on YouTube 15,000 times.
There are no happy accidents involved. ABC Innovation and ABC News Online have been participating in YouTube Partner Events over the last few months and gained some key insights into how we use the platform better.
We know that what we were doing in the past – simply channelling video en masse through to YouTube – was not working. We know people want a selection of video that is ‘watercooler’ content – content worth sharing, content that generates discussion and debate, powerful words and pictures. So we’re looking for that content actively, and putting it where people are – on social media platforms – instead of waiting for them to come to our News website.
The traffic to the Gillard clip comes from a range of places. It was featured on the YouTube front page, embedded by a variety of international mastheads including
The New Yorker
and played back 57% of the time on mobile devices – a statistic that would have been jawdropping years ago, but is now the status quo. We’ve also been working with our international social media partner
to make content like this available to major international media partners the minute it is available.
Ratio of likes to dislikes on the video by the countries that viewed it the most between 8 and 14 October (ordered by number of likes)
To get to this position, we not only hinged off the back of some vastly improved technical processes that get crisp, clean video out of ABC News television systems and onto third parties at lightning speed – but also built a YouTube experience that encourages users to find more related ABC News content right alongside what they’re currently watching. We also place it all on a consistently branded
. We’re heartened too that more YouTube users have reacted by
subscribing to our YouTube channel
so they see more of our content the minute it’s delivered.
The raw Gillard vision was available to a number of media outlets. That the ABC has had such a strong reception to this content ahead of other broadcasters is a reflection of our ability to get it online, in the right place at the right speed – a competitive advantage our rolling news focus at ABC News Online and ABC News 24 enables us to really leverage. It’s a coming of age story for us, really.
Guest post by
ABC News Online
Introducing Magazines on Google Play for Australia
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Back in April we
launched movies on Google Play
in Australia, making thousands of titles available for rent on the web or your Android device. These films joined more than 675,000 apps and games on Google Play, our digital entertainment destination. Today, we’re excited to bring more content to the web with the launch of
magazines on Google Play in Australia
Starting today, you can purchase your favourite magazines from three leading Australian publishers—
—as well as many others. You can catch up on the latest trends with
. Or perfect your workout routine with
. You can even keep up with the latest and greatest in home decorating with
Better Homes & Gardens Australia
You can now read magazines on the go in HD on the Google Play Magazines App for Android. Browse through the Play store to find your favourites, discover new titles, buy single issues and even subscribe to save on popular magazines like
The Women’s Weekly
. All your latest issues will be instantly delivered to your tablet or phone and organized in your collection in the cloud. You can also flip through your magazine carousel to quickly decide what to read next or simply search for a specific title in your magazine collection.
Magazines are available today on
, and will roll out to Google Play on devices over the coming days.
Posted by Avi Yaar, Product Manager, Google Play Magazines
An Australian website takes off using the Google Maps API
Thursday, October 11, 2012
[Editors Note: Last week we lauched morethanamap.com to showcase the unique features of the Google Maps API. As part of this, each week we’ll be featuring one story from our global community of developers who are using the Google Maps API to start businesses, help improve their communities or save the environment.]
As part of
, we went around the world to speak with developers who are using the Google Maps API. Sydney, Australia was our first stop, where we met with
founder Ian Cumming at the
GetFlight is an Australian-based airfare search site that uses the Google Maps API to help users discover cheap airfare to global destinations. This site is tailored to Aussie travelers who don't have a particular location in mind and want to visualize where in the world they can travel within a certain price and date range. This ‘go anywhere’ exploratory travel site is something that’s really unique to the mindset of the Aussie travel. Another thing that really stands about GetFlight is that the entire site is built, operated, and maintained by Ian alone. It’s a true testament to the Australian entrepreneurial spirit.
The site takes advantage of
Google Maps API v3
to ensure that the site works on multiple devices. For GetFlight, it’s critical to their users’ experience that the site works as well on a tablet device as it does on a desktop. Using Styled Maps, Ian was able to create a more branded and simplified look for his application. There’s even the ability to view
flight routes with geodesic lines
which are more true to the actual flight paths. In the video below, Ian walks us through the ins and outs of his site and also shows us how the site works on multiple devices in real-time.
You may have noticed something a little peculiar next to Ian’s laptop in the video: an older model Dell Pentium 4 laptop. Ian uses this laptop to test and debug all his work. Ian’s philosophy is, “if I can make it work well on here [the older laptop], I know it’s going to be screaming fast there [his newer laptop and tablet].”
A big thanks to Ian Cumming, founder of
, for inviting us into his office and sharing with us his latest project. To learn more about GetFlight.com.au and the things that you can do with the Google Maps API, visit
. Tune in next week to read about our visit with
in Bangkok, Thailand.
, Google Maps API Product Marketing Manager
You’re invited: News gathering and storytelling at Google for Media Day
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The web has changed entire industries, with the news media, and how journalists go about their day, being no exception. In the past, finding a government file may have been lengthy chore, but now with advanced Google Search, you can
find them in minutes
. Today, the nightly news can take you to the scene of a developing story with detailed
, no helicopter necessary. And in our increasingly information-rich society, journalists are taking complex data and making it accessible through new
visual storytelling techniques
To explore these trends in journalism, as well as to provide hands-on instruction, we’ll be hosting our first Google for Media Day in Sydney on Nov. 5. This free day aims to inspire journalists and producers to make the most of Google’s tools in their news gathering and storytelling. Joining us will be Google engineers and experts from around the world in a series of talks, panel discussions and workshops.
The morning sessions will be targeted at news professionals of all backgrounds and will cover trends in data journalism, video and social. In the afternoon, we’ll switch gears to hands-on trainings, where you’ll learn directly from Google experts, whether you work in broadcast or online.
Full agenda and link to registration form below.
Monday, 5th November 2012
8:30am - 9:15am
Registration and breakfast
9:15am - 9:30am
Welcome and Introduction
Advanced Search and Google Trends
Going beyond the little white box we’ve come to use every day, this session will teach you tips and tricks to help you become a better Google searcher. We’ll also show you the newly improved and recently launched
a tool that lets you dive into search data to gain useful insights about what’s on the world’s mind.
: Innovation in Data Journalism
We take a look at the trends and innovation in data journalism around the world and how Google tools, such as
, are powering data journalism efforts from The Guardian to The New York Times. Plus, later in the day, participants will be given the opportunity to start building their own visualisations using Fusion Tables.
Social Media Panel
With all the social platforms available, many organisations face the question of how and where to best connect with their audiences. We hear from three social media editors, via a Google+ Hangout, on their team’s approach.
12:15pm - 1:00pm
YouTube for Media
It used to be that newsrooms were confined to a single format — print, radio or television — and restricted to the geographic area in which they’d always been distributed. With YouTube, newsrooms can attract their share of an 800M-strong monthly YouTube audience, and use more and more video to bring their storytelling to life. In this session we’ll cover best practice for news organizations working with YouTube, copyright tools to help manage content online, and how leading newsrooms around the world are using YouTube to attract new audiences to their reporting.
[All afternoon workshops run concurrently from 2:30pm - 4:00pm]
2:30pm - 4:00pm
Google Earth for Broadcasters
With its distinctive swooping motion and ability to zoom into any location, Google Earth is a top mapping choice for broadcast professionals worldwide.
includes satellite imagery of the entire world (with 75% of the world's population at high resolution), hundreds of 3D cities, and archives of historical imagery — all available for media use with our free broadcast license. In this interactive workshop, we’ll get you started on building standard animations and videos, some KML editing — plus, we’ll clarify your licensing and permissions questions.
2:30pm - 4:00pm
My First Fusion Tables Visualization
Looking to tell a visual story with your data? In this interactive workshop, we’ll teach you how to get started with
, a tool to help you host, visualize and publish your data as maps, charts and timelines. The hour will start with a brief overview of Fusion Tables and related tools, including
, then we’ll dive into some hands-on examples to get you familiar with how easily your data can be turned into a visualisation with impact.
2:30pm - 4:00pm
Getting Started with Google+ Hangouts
Hangouts, which allow people to chat face-to-face-to-face, have fast become one of the most popular features on
amongst its users. Locally, The Age recently brought
together with voters via Hangout. This session will introduce you to Hangouts and how media outlets around the world are using it to create content and connect with their audiences. There will be step-by-step instructions on how to set-up a Hangout and stream it on your own homepage or YouTube channel.
2:30pm - 4:00pm
Google Maps API Office Hours
Already telling cool stories with our
? We’d love to see them. Stop by and meet some of the engineers behind Google Maps to show off your work and ask questions about how you can take it to the next level. Note that this advanced session is for journalist-developers already familiar with our APIs.
You can register your details via
this Google form
. Due to limited space, please note that submitting the form does not guarantee you a spot. We'll send you an e-mail to confirm your invitation.
And if you can't make it, you can still join the conversation by following #google4media on Google+ and Twitter.
Posted by Johnny Luu, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Google Australia and New Zealand
It’s an awesome world
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
A few months ago, we heard an awesome story. It was about a dad, named Dallas Clayton, and a little book he wrote for his son about dreaming big, fantastic dreams – called
An Awesome Book!
After writing the book, Dallas wanted to share it with more people. But every publisher he took it to turned it down. Instead of giving up, he taught himself how to self-publish, made some copies, and put the book on the web for free. People starting sharing the book online, and the copies he made started selling out. Dallas was able to share the idea of dreaming big with kids and adults all over the world, and he even got
We thought Dallas' story was, well, awesome. So we paid him a visit in Los Angeles where we tagged along on a school reading. Here's a glimpse at Dallas' journey so far.
Four years ago, the Chrome team kicked off a mission to make a better web for everyone. For us, helping kids – of all ages – use the web to read and dream is a pretty cool way to bring this mission to life. In that spirit, we wanted to harness the power of the web to get the book into the hands of as many people as possible. With the help of web developers and translators, anyone can now read
An Awesome Book!
in any one of 17 languages on a computer, tablet or phone -- check it out in the
Chrome Web Store
. In Dallas’ own words, he wrote this book to be shared. “If you enjoy it, please feel free to share it with anyone and everyone you know and maybe that way we can all dream big together!”
Posted by Tom Oliveri, Chrome Marketing (and awesome dad in training)
[Cross-posted from the
Google Chrome Blog
What we need to do to boost the Australian Digital Economy
Monday, October 8, 2012
This blog post has been published first by the
Australian Financial Review
Last year, Australians emerged as a world leader in the adoption of smartphones, second only to Singapore. We use our mobile devices to shop, navigate, email, post status updates and even to play. But we find ourselves behind when it comes to building services and apps for those devices. Knowing how to play Fruit Ninja on a smartphone isn’t the same as knowing how to design a games app. This has left us facing an important question: can we become producers of innovation or will we simply remain great consumers of it?
On Friday, I spoke at the Prime Minister’s Digital Economy Forum in Sydney about the need to focus the economy on Internet-driven innovation. Australia has the right elements to bank up a “Silicon Beach” just like Americans created a second Silicon Valley -- called Silicon Alley -- in New York or the Brits who built Tech City in the east of London: a flourishing community of technology entrepreneurs creating new global businesses that will benefit the broader economy.
We have many examples of tech startups who are succeeding. Take Shoes of Prey. This online store allows customers to design their own shoes, have them custom-made in China, and then delivered anywhere in the world. If shoes are ripe for Internet innovation, what business isn’t?
Financial regulations that make it easier for new businesses to raise capital would help the startup scene. As would more Australians coming through university with the skills needed. We need more young people with future-proof skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (or STEM skills) to allow them to innovate in the digital world. Unfortunately Australia is behind in this area. Our Chief Scientist recently found that our graduation rates in these areas are low by international standards.
As a way to help fill the gap, Google recently partnered with seven universities across the country to help fund computer science training for high schools teachers. Led by the universities, Computer Science for High Schools run workshops for teachers, so they can pick up classroom materials and curriculum ideas, and learn from university professors and real world software engineers, including from Google. We see teachers go back to their schools feeling excited and empowered to teach. But more can be done here.
Silicon Beach, or a vibrant local technology sector, is just the tip of the spear. In the United States, Silicon Valley creates pools of capabilities, ideas and new ways of thinking other business sectors draw form. The bigger opportunity is transforming our entire economy so that every business is a digital business. McKinsey found
75% of the economic benefits of the internet are gained by ordinary companies improving how they do business, not by those with new digital models.
On a concrete level, next to high-speed Internet access, I see two things we can focus on today to supercharge digital economy growth: policy settings to open the way for businesses and government leadership when it comes to delivering new and better digital services to households and businesses.
First, we need to ensure that our laws support innovation, investment and adoption of digital technology. In the area of copyright, there’s growing evidence that the current regime has become outdated. For example, it’s still technically illegal for Australians to shift the DVDs they own into a format they can watch on their iPad. We know that more flexible laws that acknowledge digital innovation will benefit us all; one new piece of research suggests it would add up to $600 million each year in productivity gains alone.
Second, the government can use its many touch points with businesses and citizens to demonstrate what broad gains can be made from Internet innovation. Where government leads - households and business, particularly small businesses - will follow. Cloud computing alone should provide a major boost to productivity. KPMG found that if government and business embrace global cloud computing services it will over time increase GDP by $3.32 billion each year.
Government can lift accessibility to public services through online and via mobile. Australia is a world leader in online banking, with over half the adult population using it to transact online, saving immense amounts of time that would otherwise be wasted waiting in lines at the bank. Transacting with government should be the same. A good example is Fix my Street from the UK - a simple website to help people report problems, such as potholes, which has generated over 225,000 reports to date.
We should set out to build the Silicon Beach and use the capabilities and thinking it creates to accelerate the absorption of digital throughout the economy. If we get this right, digital will be a critical source of economic growth for many years to come. Every prospering business will have made the decision to face into the change the Internet brings and start the transition today. There’s an opportunity on the table. Let’s seize it.
Posted by Nick Leeder, Managing Director, Google Australia & New Zealand
Building great websites and apps with the Google Maps API
Thursday, October 4, 2012
features Sydney based entrepreneur Ian Cummings and his site
. Next week, we'll be posting about about GetFlight and Ian's desire to create the next great Australian tech company on the
Geo Developers blog
We’re constantly working to build the most comprehensive, accurate and usable maps in the world for our users--no matter where or how they access Google Maps. While millions of people come directly to
to search for a nearby business or get directions, many people around the globe experience Google Maps on their favorite website or application thanks to the
Google Maps API
(and some very talented developers). In fact, today 800,000 active websites and apps are using the Google Maps API to create interesting and useful experiences for you.
To demonstrate the capabilities and features of the Google Maps API, today we’re launching a new website called
. This site showcases the unique features of the Google Maps API and how developers are using it.
you’ll learn how developers can embed popular Google Maps features like Street View, public transit directions, location data, and advanced data visualization capabilities into their website or app. The interactive demos on
show how these features are ready to be added to any website or app.
Developers can use the Google Maps API to embed Street View imagery into their sites and apps
Even if you’re not a developer, the animated
London Heathrow flight
global population heat map
on morethanamap.com are a fun way to visualize data and explore the power of Google Maps.
Google Maps Developers Stories from Around the World
Morethanamap.com also features stories from our community of developers who are using the Google Maps API to
help improve their communities
save the environment
. Starting next week we’ll showcase these stories weekly on the
Geo Developers Blog
. And follow us
to learn more.
With just a
backpack and a camera
Google Maps team member
went on a global tour to video blog six distinct developers who are creating thriving applications with the Google Maps API.
Start exploring what’s possible with the Google Maps API today at:
Posted by Ken Hoetmer, Google Maps API Product Manager
Elders Real Estate: learning the fast way with Google Apps for Business
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Elders Real Estate
has rich history in Australia in rural and residential real estate, property management, and commercial sales and leasing. Our market-leading expertise helps our clients to succeed whatever their property related goals.
With skills and expertise spread across our franchise network, we were looking for a better way to harness and share this knowledge. Although we shared information via regular e-newsletters, we had no searchable repository for training, and opportunities for self-directed learning were limited. Calendar isolation made scheduling within the offices difficult too.
Our IT team also saw an opportunity to be more strategic. Many of our franchisees experienced an email system that was difficult to configure, issue-prone and incapable of supporting the rapid uptake of mobile devices. This meant the IT department spent too much of their time responding to a stream of requests for email assistance. Faced with these problems, we saw an opportunity to be more efficient with
Google Apps for Business
’ cloud based communication and collaboration tools.
To ensure a smooth transition, we drew on the expertise of
, a Premium Google Enterprise Partner, and nominated a champion at each office to assist with the rollout. These champions liaised directly with Cloud Assist to become in-house experts and developed video training on topics like setting up a mobile phone with Google Apps or creating tasks in Gmail.
we set up a company-wide intranet where all the latest training, expertise and trend information is available. Franchisees can now access information on demand, and the entire group can share stories and expertise. This has helped to create a stronger community culture as more people are now proactively sharing information rather than it being directed from Head Office. To ensure people are getting the information they need we also use
to track which pages and topics are most helpful.
Since moving to Google Apps, efficiency and effectiveness have increased. On-the-go sales people and property managers have access to the most recent calendars and emails on their mobiles and shared calendars mean that staff no longer have to make multiple phone calls to confirm availability, instead appointments can be scheduled on the spot.
Google Apps for Business has been a win for the IT team too. Due to the predictability of the cloud, franchisees no longer have to worry about backing up email or documents. This has virtually eliminated email-related calls to the help desk and allowed IT to spend time on more strategic projects that have real business impact.
The move to
Google Apps for Business
has also offered us greater peace of mind. Elders Real Estate may not have Google’s technical expertise or investments in security and stability but by moving to Google Apps we can benefit from Google’s strengths and focus our resources on what we do best.
Guest post by Andrew Simpson, business solutions manager, Elders Real Estate
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