News and notes from Google Down Under
Get an All Access music pass on Google Play
Thursday, July 18, 2013
With millions upon millions of songs out there, it can be a daunting task to figure out what to listen to. Sometimes you just want to sit back, press play and hear something completely new. Starting today, you can do just that with
, our new monthly music subscription service in Google Play.
All Access gives you an unlimited pass to a huge library of music on all your devices — from all the major record companies, as well as top Australian and independent labels.
All Access lets you create an ad-free, interactive radio station from any song or artist you love. You can
add, remove or re-order your station and see what’s coming next.
Or you can browse recommendations from our expert music team and explore songs by genre. The “Listen Now” tab puts artists and radio stations we think you’ll like front and centre so you can start listening the minute you open your library.
And when millions of songs just aren’t enough, Google Play Music lets you combine our collection with your own collection. You can store 20,000 songs for free online, and listen to them alongside the All Access catalogue on any Android device, or via the web at
. You can even ‘pin’ specific albums and playlists so they’re available when you’re offline.
You can try it today for free for the first month and pay only $9.99 each month after that. Regular pricing for those who sign up after August 31 will be $11.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial.
With today’s launch, Google Play moves one step closer to your ultimate digital entertainment destination, where you can find, enjoy and share your favourite apps, games, books, movies, magazines and music on your Android phone or tablet.
Sign up for All Access today, and start discovering a whole new world of music.
Posted by Paul Joyce, Product Manager for Google Play Music
‘Hangouts in History’ - Bringing the past to life
Thursday, July 11, 2013
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.
Close your eyes. I want you to pretend for a moment that you’ve magically travelled back in time to the early 14th Century. To your left are dukes and earls feasting at magnificent banquets. To your right are lowly peasants scouring the streets for leftover food. And straight ahead is a never-ending line of plague-ridden patients waiting to see the local ‘doctor’.
History is always a tough subject to bring to life, and even more so when a teacher is trying to transport their students back more than 700 years in time to plague-era Europe. But we had a hunch that technology might be one way to make this subject a whole lot more participatory. With this in mind, our Creative Lab teamed up with
to help a classroom of year 8 students from Bowral ‘video conference’ with 1348, in what we called a “Hangout in History”.
We knew we’d need quite a special teacher to make an experiment like this work (“Wait, you want to video conference with the 1300s??”), so we felt very lucky to meet John Staats, Vice Principal at Bowral High School. An historical re-enactment enthusiast, his dedication to making history exciting reminded us of Benjamin Franklin’s famous maxim: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. With his class signed up for this educational experiment, we were good to go.
To bring medieval England to life, we took over one of Google’s conference rooms in Sydney, and placed a monk, a doctor and a widow in front of three separate webcams. A small team of actors led by our ‘doctor’, Jack Yabsley, worked with educators to research and script an interactive 15 minute hangout, which depicted plague victims and their lives as accurately as possible. The live
Hangout on Air
lasted 40 minutes with the cast improvising factual responses to the students’ questions about the Black Plague. You can watch
the full Hangout here
and go behind-the-scenes with us here.
Our hope is that this pilot project will encourage and inspire more educators to think about how they might use free technology to connect their classroom with the world (and through time and space!), to shift their emphasis from one-way learning to a participatory model that plays to the inquisitive and playful minds of young people. Go make some history!
Posted by Tom Uglow, Creative Director of Creative Lab, Google
Aussie Aussie Aussie, Code Code Code
Friday, July 5, 2013
While many of us will be kicking back on the couch over the school holidays, a team of young Australians will be spending next week competing in the
, an international programming Olympiad, against high school students from over eighty countries. Over the course of two intense competition days, teams will attempt to solve six questions that would leave many seasoned programmers scratching their heads.
To give you a feel for how tough these questions are... try this one.
Imagine you are in a canoe and are travelling along an unfamiliar, foggy river covered in bridges. How could you write an artificial intelligence (AI) that can map out the bridges by sending the canoe on straight lines between points on opposite riverbanks and counting how many bridges it passes beneath?
Oh, and to score full marks for
, your AI must be flexible enough to map any conceivable set of bridges, strategic enough to make no more journeys than necessary, and fast enough to run on a typical laptop in under a second - even if there are hundreds of thousands of bridges.
For high school students that are interested in developing their problem solving skills, you can try out problems of all difficulties at the Australian team’s
. As the first stage of the 2014 IOI, Maths and computing teachers can also sign up their class to compete in the
Australian Informatics Olympiad
- which will be held in schools on Thursday 5 September 2013.
will be held at the University of Queensland from 6-13 July 2013. You can follow the Australian team on
Posted by Christopher Chen, Google Software Engineer and two-time IOI gold medallist
Inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
The path to successful entrepreneurialism is rarely a direct one. We speak to a lot of founders as part of our
Google for Entrepreneurs
efforts, and when they tell us how they got their start, they talk about everything from inspiring teachers to chance encounters to eureka moments to friendships that turned into partnerships. But there
one thing that many of them have in common. These were the kids selling fruit at the front gate; hitting up relatives to sell them homemade goods; and putting together syndicates of friends to get businesses up and running. In other words, from a young age they were good at spotting entrepreneurial opportunities and going for them.
For Australia to have a bright technology-driven future, we need to nurture even more of these young entrepreneurs-in-waiting, and show them what an awesome career path lies ahead of them. That’s why we’re teaming up with
here in Australia, to support their great work in helping more young people start their own enterprises.
Club Kidpreneur was started by Creel Price as
a social enterprise running programs to helping young people start and grow their own micro-enterprises, and ultimately to inspire a career in entrepreneurship. Price and his team think that by encouraging kids to start their own businesses, they’ll teach them initiative and responsibility, given them perspectives on business and the value of money, and encourage them to think about being an entrepreneur as a career path. We couldn’t agree more.
As lead technology partner, Google for Entrepreneurs will help grow the Club Kidpreneur program across Australia, both through supporting the $50 challenge, and helping thousands of children to gain access to the program online.
Australia’s tech future is bright. Technology
start-ups could contribute $109BN and 540,000 jobs to the economy by 2033
, and our technology talent is already on par with the best in the world. Now we need to make sure that our young ‘
’—the young people who will start our future businesses—are set up with all the tools and support they need to succeed.
Posted by Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager, Google Australia
The leadership change in Search
Monday, July 1, 2013
TV wasn’t the only screen Australians were glued to during Labor’s leadership challenge; mobiles, tablets and desktops kicked into overdrive.
Today we look back on last week's Labor Party leadership change and chart the search interest of its four key players.
On Wednesday, there was a huge spike in election-related searches throughout the day. From Kevin Rudd’s announcement that he would contest the leadership, through to the final result,
searches relating to the election rose by 1065% (10x).
Kevin Rudd was by far the most-searched politician throughout the day. Over the 12-hour period leading up to the ballot, searches for [kevin rudd] rose by nearly 100x; searches for [julia gillard] rose by almost 50x. Meanwhile, [bill shorten]’s announcement of his support for Kevin Rudd saw searches for his name rise by 25x, almost matching the search volume for [julia gillard] at 6pm.
There was another challenge on Wednesday night, but in a fight between politics and rugby league, politics came out on top: there were three times more searches about the leadership challenge than the State of Origin match.
Want to find your own trends? You can use Google Trends (
) to explore what Australians are seaching for on Google.
Posted by Johnny Luu, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Google Australia
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