News and notes from Google Down Under
Starting up #startupAUS
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Australia’s are great consumers of technology, but how do we become the creators of it? As a nation of only 22 million people, becoming a nation of creators - of
- will greatly help the future of Australian jobs, education and our economy.
Last week close to 50 members of Australia’s tech startup community got together to work out how we can ensure our country has a vibrant tech ecosystem. Dubbed
, everything was on the table as we shared stories about the challenges and opportunities of becoming a tech entrepreneurs in our country.
We heard from Freelancer.com and Shoes of Prey about how difficult it is to find enough computer engineers with the right skills to help grow their businesses. While Google may have more resources to ensure we’re attracting the best and brightest that our universities produce, we also understand it’s a numbers game. Local graduates in computer science have shrunk significantly over the last decade and we all agreed that it’s a national imperative to fix this. On a practical level, this means giving more high school students the opportunity to learn computer science at an earlier age and that teachers are supported. Those at the summit put in a lot of time working out how.
Participants of the #startUpAUS summit
As part of our efforts, we recently commissioned PwC to help paint a picture of Australia tech startup scene. It’s a tough and ambitious task in such a fast moving and new industry, but they’ve begun
mapping existing Aussie startups
and are looking into the ingredients
needed for a vibrant ecosystem
. This data will be used to help the group’s other areas of focus on boosting awareness of the tech sector, and helping to improve the environment for startups.
In one sense
is itself a startup. And as with any new venture, there’s lots of ideas, energy and aspiration. For me, the real test will occur when a high school student has that
“what do you want to be when you grow up”
conversation with his or her parents. My idea of success: instead of being told to be a doctor or a lawyer, parents will ask, “have you ever considered a career in computer science?”.
Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia & New Zealand
A new computer. Built for the web
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
It’s 9:14am. Tickets to the
British and Irish Lions Test
went online at 9:00am. Your alarm didn’t go off. You frantically open your laptop and wait a minute or two for everything to load but by then it’s too late — they’ve sold out. Speed matters on the web.
Today, when most of us pick up a computer, we want to get straight online, and fast, so we can
send email, surf the web and just get to our favorite web applications
. It was with this vision we set out to
build a computing experience
for everyone that would be faster, simpler and more secure. From today, Australians will get to enjoy this with the release of the Samsung and Acer Chromebooks.
Designed from the ground up for the way we use computers today, Chromebooks boot up in seconds, giving you instant-on access so you don’t have to waste time or miss out. They
bring you the best of the web to do the
everyday things —
ike sending email, surfing the web, managing your calendar and creating and editing documents — more easily.
updates, Chromebooks actually get better and faster over time.
Easy to use and easy to share, Chromebooks make a great second or third computer for kids doing homework on the couch, parents catching up on email at the kitchen counter and grandparents staying connected on video chat. They require no setup or maintenance and there’s no need to worry about
, anti-virus protections, malware or installing software. This means that you get a faster, simpler and more secure experience, without the hassles involved with other computers — they
They’re easy to share with others because each person can have a separate account for their stuff. Both devices come with 100 GB of free storage on Google Drive*, so you can get to all of your stuff anytime, anywhere. And finally, if you use products like Gmail, Drive, Search, Maps, YouTube, Play or Google+ Hangouts, you will find that everything works seamlessly.
The Samsung Chromebook
The Acer Chromebook
We’ve worked with our partners to make Chromebooks that are safe, easy to use, easy to share and affordable for everyone. The
Samsung Chromebook ($349)
Acer Chromebook ($299)
are now available from select JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores and the HP Chromebook is on its way.
Now, the 12-year wait begins for the next Lions Test in Australia...
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Product Management Director, Chrome OS
*You will have 100 GB of free storage for 2 years, starting on the date you redeem the offer on eligible Chrome devices.
Two Australian winners of Google Research Awards
Friday, March 15, 2013
At Google, we’re committed to developing new technologies to help our users find and use information. While we do significant in-house research and engineering, the
Google Research Award
programs aims to also support world-class research that is being done at our universities.
Twice a year we put a
call for research proposals on a variety of computer science-related topics. This latest round saw close to 600 proposals from 46 different countries. After expert reviews and committee discussions, we funded 102 projects, including two from Australia.
Steve Blackburn, Australian National University,
Building a Compelling Infrastructure for Managed Language Research and Development
aims to dramatically improve the efficiency of software that runs on phones, in browsers and in the cloud, and;
Vijay Sivaraman and Tim Moors, University of New South Wales
Virtualising the Access Network using Software Defined Networking
aims to give web service providers more flexibility and control of their networks to deliver faster services and a better user experience.
Our grants will cover costs such as tuition and travel for a graduate student to work on each project, as well as providing faculty and students the opportunity to work directly with Google scientists and engineers.
Congratulations to all the well-deserving
recipients of this round’s awards
. If you are interested in applying for the next round (deadline is April 15), please visit
for more information.
Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Program Manager, Google Australia
Find Your Way Indoors With Google Maps for Android
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Ever been frantically running around Melbourne Airport trying to find Gate 18 in the International Terminal so you don't miss your flight to London?
Or agreed to meet your mate on level four of that massive shopping mall, near one of the fountains, next to that new coffee shop you’ve never actually been to … and now you can’t find them?
Today, Google Maps on Android is heading
in Australia, to make finding your way
buildings much easier. With indoor Google Maps, shopping centres, train stations, airports and
many other places
across Australia will be much easier to navigate.
Many iconic Australian buildings like the Queen Victoria Building and Flinders Street Station now have their floor plans uploaded to Google Maps. The maps automatically appear when you zoom in on a location, and then fade away when the map is zoomed out.
Indoor Google Maps are like having an
indoor directory in the palm of your hand - helping you determine where you are, what floor you're on, and how to get to where you want to be. In some locations, you’ll even be able to use the familiar “blue dot” icon that indicates your approximate location - even when you’re inside. This means that when you move up or down a level in a building with multiple floors, the map will automatically update to display which floor you’re on.
This is just the start - we’ll continue to add new indoor maps to public buildings across Australia over
the rest of this year. We hope you enjoy exploring over 200 locations across Australia that now have indoor maps available with confidence and a much stronger sense of direction and purpose. To learn more about indoor Google Maps and other features,
check out this website
or try it out today on your Android device.
Posted by Jamie Woodbridge, Partnerships Manager, Google Australia and New Zealand
Hot searches launches in Australia
Friday, March 1, 2013
When you’re looking for the hottest topics on the web, Google Trends helps you navigate the
top search queries
. From today, you can now browse topics that are spiking in popularity in Australia - giving you a fascinating peek into the daily Zeitgeist of “what’s hot” in Australia everyday.
visit Google Trends
you'll find trending topics going back for the past few days. Some topics reach near global hotness, such as the Oscars or the Harlem Shake, but most are more regional. Over the last few days in Australia, we’ve seen the Clipsal 500, the Future Music Festival and JB HiFi spike and make our hot searches list.
Google Trends works algorithmically to analyze search data and identify topics that are spiking in popularity. The technology clusters queries together so that, for example, searches for [daytona 500] are automatically grouped with [nascar]. We look for popular topics that are spiking dramatically compared with the past.
Beyond the "hot searches" feature, you can always type in any search terms to see interesting trends down to a specific week in a specific city, anywhere in the world. You'll find some things that are
. Have you found something amazing or see a way to make things better? We'd love to hear from you. Click "Send Feedback" at the bottom of any Trends page.
Happy trend spotting!
Posted by Tzvika Hartman, Software Engineer
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