News and notes from Google Down Under
Get a close up ‘Zoo View’ on Google Maps in Australia
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
As of this week, you can visit now Taronga Zoo and Luna Park... without even leaving your house.
We’ve used our Street View technology to bring you new 360-degree imagery of the animals, attractions and surrounds of Taronga Zoo and Luna Park in Google Maps. This imagery
covers almost everywhere in
(as long as it’s wheelchair accessible) - including c
himpanzees, giraffes and mountain goats
. We also released new imagery of Luna Park that includes a walk down the central boulevard of
featuring the ferris wheel, merry-go-round, big top and Coney Island.
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Giraffes from Taronga Zoo in front of the city
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Luna Park's Ferris Wheel in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
And, just in case you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland this Christmas, from today you can now check out fresh new imagery from the Arctic! To get a sense of what it’s like to live up in the north, you can
walk down Omingmak Street
make your way the bridge
(where locals fish for Arctic Char) and head out to the
Old Stone Church
. Check out some Arctic souvenirs in the
, or visit the
Ice Hockey and Curling Arena
Google Maps goes to the Arctic community of Cambridge Bay
Over the last few years, the Street View team has gotten creative about how they collect cool imagery in difficult to reach places. We’ve used trikes (
), trolleys (
museums and galleries
), snowmobiles (
), the backpack Trekker (
coming soon), and underwater cameras (
Great Barrier Reef
) to capture some of the world’s most remote scenery — as well as wonders closer to home.
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National Gallery of Australia in Canberra
So...what’s next? Now with
users from anywhere on the globe can
take their own 360-degree panoramas and upload them directly to Google Maps
to share them with other people all around the world.
So bring out the Captain Cook within you and jump on Street View to explore your world.
Posted by Nabil Naghdy, Product Manager of Google Maps, Australia and New Zealand
First fan-voted ARIA Award for Best Video goes to Missy Higgins’ ‘Everyone’s Waiting’
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
We know the YouTube community loves its music videos, and yet even we were overwhelmed by the interest in the first ever fan-voted ARIA Award for Best Video, presented by ARIA and YouTube.
There were thousands upon thousands of votes, and last night Missy Higgins’ ‘
’ was declared the winner.
The video’s director, Natasha Pincus, is no stranger to ARIA awards having won this Award last year for her now world-famous video, Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’.
Music videos have gone through a major renaissance in the last few years, and it’s wonderful to see our Australian artists embracing the medium and pushing creative boundaries. Last year's winner, Gotye, became one of the most viewed videos of all time on YouTube and it is a testament to the calibre of Australian recording artists and video producers that local talent continues to perform so well on YouTube globally.
Congratulations Missy and Natasha!
This line up of nominees for Best Video Award were:
Alex Weltlinger – 360 -
Boys Like you
Luci Schroder – Alpine -
Animal Logic – Hilltop Hoods -
I Love It
Brent “Quincy” Buchanan – The Grindhouse – Jackson Firebird,
Emma Tomelty – Hermitude, (from the album “Heperparadise”)
Speak Of The Devil
Darcy Prendergast - Kate Miller-Heidke,
I’ll Change Your Mind
Josh Logue - Lanie Lane –
Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling In Love With a Cowboy
Missy Higgins, Everyone’s Waiting
Sam Bennetts – Bluejuice,
Act Yr Age
Josh Logue -The Rubens,
Posted by Richard North, Content Partnership Manager, YouTube
Santa’s Multi-Screen Miracle
Friday, November 23, 2012
This blog post was first published in
The day before yesterday, the retail world was all abuzz with news about
day, an event designed to spur online sales from e-commerce retailers. The event might have been a little too successful. So many eager shoppers logged on to hunt for deals that the website crashed, making one thing clear: Australians are passionate about online shopping and about using the web to find gifts for their loved ones. But it’s not only about
goods online. E-commerce is just the beginning of this year’s retail Christmas story. And retailers who want to make the most of the season have to be ready.
Many retailers still pursue two separate strategies, one for the web, one for physical stores. Others think that the web competes with their brick and mortar operations. But the evolving Australian consumer doesn’t think (or shop) that way. This season, Australian shoppers are going online and off using a variety of mobile devices to get the most for their dollar. They’re going “clicks and mortar,” in a multiscreen way. It’s a shopping strategy designed to maximize value and convenience--and for retailers who understand this, it’s also an enormous opportunity.
Let’s look at the numbers: web skeptics point out that while e-commerce is expanding, more than 95% of Aussie purchases still occur offline. But that’s not the whole picture. 55% of Australians consult the web to research their purchases, even if they ultimately decide to purchase offline. At Google, we’ve seen shopping-related searches increase 20% year on year, meaning this Christmas will be the biggest online Christmas ever. And with roughly 40% of shopping searches now coming from smartphones or tablets, it’s not just about desktop: retailers who leave mobile shoppers out in the cold this Christmas stand to lose out.
To put these numbers in perspective, for every ten crisply wrapped gifts you see under your Christmas tree on the 25th, six will have touched the web in some way: one will have been purchased online outright, while the other five giftgivers will have consulted the web for ideas, to compare prices or locate retail outlets. And there’s a good chance that mobile played a role, too--maybe your sister Sue used her tablet to browse the local department store’s goods, or Dad fired up his smartphone to see when the neighborhood electronics store opens.
As a retailer, you want as many of those prezzies under the tree as possible to come from your store. You can do this in two ways. First, embrace multiple screens. It’s no longer enough to have a desktop website: you have to be found on mobile, too. Consumers are using smartphones and tablets to shop, and if Sue can’t browse your inventory from her tablet, or Dad can’t find your store’s address quickly and easily on his smartphone, they’ll go somewhere else.
Increasingly, larger retailers are choosing to meet this demand with sophisticated mobile e-commerce offerings. Electronics chain The Good Guys, for example, have optimised their site separately for both tablet and smartphone shoppers, allowing device-savvy consumers to interact with the screen that best fits their needs at the time. Meanwhile, smaller outfits can also get in on the game by starting with a simple mobile friendly website that displays trading hours and store location, connecting shoppers on the go with your storefront.
Second, use your online presence to complement your offline presence. Instead of “bricks and mortar,” think “clicks and mortar”: use the multi-screen web to drive foot traffic to and sales in your physical stores. Consider Dean Salakas, owner of Australia’s biggest party supply store The Party People. Since opening his online operation — including a website that included e-commerce capabilities as well as search advertising campaigns — not only have web orders increased to account for 54% of his sales (as you might expect), but he’s also seen traffic to his physical stores rise dramatically too. He’s even been able to open a second retail outlet, which Dean attributes to demand generated from his website and from search advertising.
If you’re a retailer who has yet to go “clicks and mortar,” it’s not too late. Google sees shopping searches increase through Christmas Eve Day, and mobile queries actually peak the week before Christmas. But don’t delay--as every eager child (and retailer) knows, Christmas only comes once a year.
Posted by Ross McDonald, Industry Leader for Retail & Local, Google Australia
Unplugged and Wired: Celebrating Australian Music on Google+
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
From singer/songwriters showcasing their work, to fans sharing their favourite videos, the G+ music community is increasingly a place for up-and-coming artists to have a voice on a global stage.
Next week, to celebrate the ARIAs and Australian music month, we're taking to Google+ for a special musical series called Unplugged and Wired - hosted by singer/songwriter
. We’re bringing together great musicians from across Australia to perform their songs unplugged and broadcast via
Google+ Hangouts on Air
Here’s a schedule of who’s playing when:
Monday 26th November, 8.30pm AEST
Monday 26th November, 4.00pm
The Delta Riggs:
Tuesday 27th November, 5.30pm AEST
Tuesday 27th November 7.00pm AEST
Wednesday 28th November 12.00pm AEST
Wednesday 28 November 1.30pm
Eagle and the Worm:
Wednesday 28th November 3.00pm AEST
Wednesday 28th November, 4.30pm
Thursday, 29th November 1:00pm
Saturday 1st December 3.30pm AEST
We’ll have more artists confirming over the next few days, so check this post or follow us on
for updates. Use the hashtag #unpluggedandwired to help spread the music love. We’ll be featuring tips, tricks and interesting music-related posts all week long from
, and we’ll also feature spotlights of the artists on YouTube.
Lizzyspit - Hide & Seek
Posted by Leticia Lentini and Sophie Hirst, Google Australia music tragics
Chromebox to the Rescue
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
As one of the world’s largest urban fire and rescue services,
Fire & Rescue NSW
responds to everything — from fires, to hazardous materials incidents, to building collapses. Together with other government agencies we also work to minimise the impact of bushfires, storms, floods, motor vehicle accidents and other emergencies.
Founded in 1885, there are few organisations where systemic improvements to technology yields such important results — a fact we recognise with our mantra “better systems, safer communities”. As CIO I work at the helm of a team of over 100 IT staff supported by dozens of contractors. We provide IT systems to firefighters across 340 fire stations and 60 additional locations — as well as links to the Attorney General and the Justice Department.
Highly effective IT systems are paramount and are critical to ensuring effective disaster response. Fire & Rescue NSW
runs an enterprise resource planning system that manages logistics, computer-aided dispatch, staff rostering, geospatial software and more. Most of the applications are browser-based and available through a private cloud.
Record-keeping is also a vital task and for more than 125 years, each station maintained “occurrence books”—paper-based, legal documents — which capture everything from phone calls to visitors to each station. The books were stored in firehouse basements and information was sometimes duplicated and illegible. One of the obvious pitfalls of such a system is that it’s hard to search hard-copy books so it must be done on-site.
When we switched to browser-based “e-occurrence books” in July this year this came with its own problems. The PCs at most fire stations were too slow and hard to maintain and it became difficult to keep anti-virus software up-to-date, maintain patches, ensure proper user authentication, and keep pace with other mundane processes.
To overcome these problems, our IT team opted to switch to Google’s Chromebox. A fast, compact, networked computer with no failure-prone moving parts, Chromeboxes are simple to operate and use. Complete with screen, keyboard and mouse, as well as built-in Wi-Fi for anytime, the Chromeboxes allows for anywhere access and is a perfect fit for a cost-conscious government agency.
Since adopting the Chromebox, the load on the IT maintenance team has been reduced. We no longer have to do updates, as everything is updated through a centralised portal. And because the Chromebox is virtually impervious to the dust and dirt common to fire stations, maintenance of the machines has dramatically reduced too.
Highly secure, the Chromebox can be locked down by IT so that users cannot plug in unsanctioned devices or install their own personal software. Chromeboxes also avoid inadvertent data entry errors and make information searchable from anywhere.
Best of all, our key users, the firefighters, are pleased with the performance and ease of entering occurrence information digitally using the Chromebox. Unlike other devices such as tablets, the Chromebox looks and feels like a PC, so our users are comfortable and productive right away.The Chromebox also boots quickly and offers lightning-fast performance and many firefighters have commented on the fast and welcome speed.
We’ve found the Chromebox a powerful, fast, minimalistic appliance that suits us perfectly as we move even further into the cloud. The way we’ve deployed the Chromebox is a great example of how better government services can be delivered more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Guest blog post by Richard Host, Chief Information Officer, Fire & Rescue, NSW
Google Apps for Business
Google Earth Outreach launches in Australia and New Zealand
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Great Barrier Reef coral health, fire management, and depleting forest cover are some of our nation’s greatest environmental challenges. But up until now it has
been a challenge to bring large-scale environmental issues (that might affect hundreds of thousands of acres) to life in a meaningful way. To help address this, we’re bringing
Google Earth Outreach
to Australia and New Zealand.
With Google Earth Outreach,
nonprofit organisations can use Google mapping tools to visualise their causes and tell their stories to millions of people around the world.
how nonprofits and researchers are using Google mapping tools.
Across the globe, nonprofits have used Google Earth Outreach to
help clear landmines
in Cambodia and Angola, and to
demonstrate forest and wildlife loss
in Sumatra, Indonesia.
At last night’s
official launch event
at Macquarie University, we announced new projects with three Australian partners.
Dr. Elizabeth Madin from
demonstrated how her team is using Google Earth to further
in investigating coral reef landscapes; they integrate ecological theory and
the high-resolution satellite imagery available in Google Earth to identify “grazing halos”, which may be able to tell us more about coral reef health.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
, which will shows how their
Reef HQ Aquarium
is bringing the Great Barrier Reef to students around the world. They also launched a
Google Earth narrated tour
following the track of Torres the Green Turtle as he swims along the Great Barrier Reef and meets incredible marine life along the way.
Australian Wildlife Conservancy
also unveiled two Google Earth tours. The
flies through their 23 sanctuaries which cover more than 3 million hectares to bring to life their fight to save Australia’s unique wildlife from extinction. The
overlays AWC geospatial data on top of Google Earth to demonstrate the impact of their EcoFire Project in the Kimberleys over the last six years.
Take the new Google Earth tour
If you’re a nonprofit interested in learning more about the Google Earth Outreach program, check out
. There you’ll find
and a showcase of
nonprofit success stories
, and you can also
apply for grants
for Google Earth Pro, Google Maps Engine, Google Maps API for Business, and Google Maps Coordinate.
We hope that by bringing this program to Australia and New Zealand, many more organisations will be able to tell powerful visual stories about the important work they do, to both help them raise awareness and funds and further their scientific goals.
Posted by Raleigh Seamster, Program Manager for Google Earth Outreach
Have Your Say: 2012 ARIA Award for Best Video
Thursday, November 1, 2012
YouTube has become the world’s largest stage for up and coming musicians of all shapes & sizes (
). We’re proud to continue supporting Aussie music talent by giving you, the YouTube community, the chance to vote for the 2012 ARIA award for Best Video. Have a look at the nominees:
This year, Goyte’s musical sensation
Somebody that I used to know
has been viewed over 339 million times on YouTube, and that doesn’t include spin-offs and fan-uploaded videos that have been viewed over 260 million times. This group of
five people on one guitar
, and Wally’s own
are two of our favourites.
To have your say, visit the
official ARIA YouTube channel
where you can watch all of the videos nominated for an ARIA this year, including the ten up for Best Video. Simply cast a thumbs up for who you think should win, and be sure to subscribe to the channel to find out who wins.
Posted by Ernesto Soriano III, YouTube Australia, just watched
Minecraft Style - A Parody of PSY’s Gangnam Style
Learn more about Google Earth Outreach
Thursday, November 1, 2012
In a country as large as Australia, environmental issues can be difficult to comprehend, let alone combat. For example, one of our most precious natural treasures, the
Great Barrier Reef
, covers 344,400 square kilometres. That number is hard to make sense of - until you realise it’s actually bigger than the entire land mass of New Zealand. That makes the coral degradation the reef is currently suffering a big, big challenge.
Google Earth Outreach
is one of the most useful programs that scientists and nonprofits can access to learn how to leverage Google mapping tools to help people understand the scale of environmental issues. It has been used from the
Appalachian mountain tops
to convey complex environmental and social issues over time.
We’re hosting a special event for Australian nonprofits to learn more about the Google Earth Outreach program at
Macquarie University on Monday, November 5
There will be a keynote address by eminent Australian scientist Tim Flannery, and we’ll also hear from nonprofits who are using Google Earth and Google Maps around Australia. If you’d like to attend Monday’s event in person, please
. And if you can’t attend in person, you can join in via our
Google Australia +page
from 6:30pm EST.
Posted by Raleigh Seamster,
Program Manager for Google Earth Outreach
It’s Mo time!
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Each year during Movember, men around the world valiantly take on the Mo to raise awareness and funds for Men’s health. Movember started in Australia ten years ago and has
through the power of the web.
Growing a Mo requires dedication and commitment. First, you need to navigate through the uncomfortable itch of those first few brave and lonely sprouts...
To celebrate the guys who are man enough to take this on we’re launching
- a Chrome app to accompany you on your hairy journey. It’s a series of four mo-tion sensing games released over the month to train your moustache for greatness.
The Movember Games Launch
Each week we’ll launch a new game to challenge your Mo and develop its strength and dexterity.
The app is
available in the
Chrome Web Store
or you can play in Chrome at
Chrome is a modern browser that can handle the technology used to make web games with ease, so
you’ll have the best experience playing with the
motion sensing technology in Chrome.
I’ve registered at
and am ready for the challenge!
Your Lame Mo might spark a taunt or two right now, but we invite you to rise above the jeers and
master your moustache. We believe your top lip is destined for greatness.
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia & New Zealand
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