News and notes from Google Down Under
Aussie teen’s ambulance app wins global Google Science Fair
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Do you have an idea to change the world? That’s what we asked the 2013 Google Science Fair participants back in January. Students aged 13-18 around the world met our challenge, including 14 year old Viney Kumar from
Knox Grammar School in Sydney, who has just been announced as the winner of the 13-14 year category.
Viney created an Android app which alerts drivers when an emergency vehicle is approaching so they can get out of the way. He was inspired to create his project while in India, where he saw ambulances stuck in traffic jams and unable to move. Viney’s
(Police and Ambulance Regulating Traffic) gives drivers warnings that an emergency vehicle is approaching from up to 800 metres away, providing drivers with much more warning than the traditional sirens or flashing lights can provide.
This potentially life saving innovation was
one of 15 projects
selected from thousands of entries by talented young scientists from more than 120 countries around the world. Earlier today, the 15 global finalists presented their projects to a panel of esteemed judges at Google headquarters in California. The judges were wowed by the finalists’ passion for science and their drive to change the world.
Viney Kumar with Ann Makosinski, Elif Bilgin and Eric Chen
These projects were impressive and represented a vast range of scientific ingenuity—from a system which can diagnose melanoma cancers early to the invention of a metallic exoskeleton glove that helps people who suffer from upper hand disabilities move more easily.
Ann Makosinski from Canada won the 15-16 age category for her project
The Hollow Flashlight
, a heat-powered flashlight that provides bright light without batteries or moving parts, and Eric Chen
from the USA won both the 17-18 age category and the Grand Prize for
, which combines computer modeling and biological studies to look at influenza endonuclease inhibitors in order to find new anti-flu medicine Elif Bilgin, from Turkey was also announced as the “
Scientific American” Science in Action award
and the winner of the Voter’s Choice award with her project creating plastic from banana peel.
Each of the winners will
from Google and our Science Fair partners:
.” As part of his prize Viney will receive a $25,000 education scholarship and a CERN, LEGO or Google experience.
Congratulations to Viney and thanks to all our 2013 finalists for their amazing projects and love for science.
Viney’s schoolmates watch the awards ceremony live from Sydney
For updates on next year’s competition, see the
Google Science Fair
website. Science and technology are crucial to solving many of the world’s greatest challenges. We started the Google Science Fair to support and foster the next generation of scientists and engineers. We look forward to seeing you change the world!
Posted by Clare Conway, Google Science Fair team
From student to CEO: Google Sudo on university and startups
Monday, September 23, 2013
Great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, of any age. Universities have long been an established hotbed of innovation and today we are seeing an increase in entrepreneurship with student-led incubation and entrepreneurship programs.
Many global companies - Google included - had their start in a dorm room on a university campus. This will be the focus of our next Sudo event. We’ll look at the rising stars in the entrepreneurial community and how universities in Australia can provide even more entrepreneurial support.
We'll chat to
, founder of INCUBATE - the University of Sydney's Union student accelerator program - as well as participants of the program.
, co-founder of
, founder of
will tell us what driving them to jump in and startup.
We'll be seeking to find out what they've learnt on their entrepreneurial journey from student to CEO, and how you can follow in their footsteps.
now for your place.
Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager, Google Australia
Software Defined Networking takes steps forward in New Zealand and Australia
Friday, September 20, 2013
As the Internet grows in users, applications, and traffic, communications technologies have to move quickly to keep up with the new ways people are using them—from increased use of video (like Google Hangouts) to entirely new forms of connectivity (like Project Loon). Software Defined Networking (
) is an area of research that can optimise network traffic flow, making it particularly important for ensuring today’s
can keep up with tomorrow’s demands. An
network can act like a taxi dispatcher who intelligently matches taxis with the paths that best meet their needs based on current conditions.
Google has been working hard to optimize our own systems with
smarter networking software
, but we’re also contributing to research efforts around the world—after all, groups working together on these challenging issues are more likely to come up with big breakthroughs.
Recently, a research group we’re involved with had a great breakthrough! Researchers at
in the USA;
University of New South Wales
in Australia; and
, Google, and
Victoria University of Wellington
in New Zealand, have built an SDN research network connecting three continents called TREEHOUSE.
TREEHOUSE will allow researchers to try important SDN experiments in ‘real world’ conditions outside the lab, and gain the kind of valuable operational experience that will help realise more of SDN’s practical benefits. For example, the group is particularly interested in seeing how networks could react and re-route traffic more quickly in case of faults, and also whether networks could ask for capacity for applications like streaming video
The new network is already paying off. This week, researchers from ON.LAB (
) deployed their Open Network Operating System (ONOS) on TREEHOUSE. ONOS is controlling two Pica8 OpenFlow switches (those are types of devices that are compatible with SDN), and is carrying test traffic for REANNZ to the Internet. Being open source itself, ONOS will let researchers experiment with new features on high-performing networking hardware, and share them back with the community—something that would not be possible today with proprietary networking equipment. ONOS adds to a growing list of SDN software (including RouteFlow) that also runs on the TREEHOUSE network - allowing researchers to choose which software makes sense for them. We hope to conduct many more such experiments and try new platforms.
The coming decades are only going to put higher and higher demands on our network infrastructure, so it’s gratifying to see so much great research taking place in this area. Ultimately, advances in SDN will made the web a faster, safer, more productive place for everyone—now and in the future.
Posted by Josh Bailey, Software Engineer
Australia's first Startup Spring festival begins
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Entrepreneur Tia Saunders opens the Startup Spring Festival at co-working space HUB Sydney
If people who have a passion for food and wine can have festivals, then why not startups?
Like many startups, the
Startup Spring Festival
, which starts this week, began with a question.
This three-week long, Australia-wide festival of over 125 events and activities coordinated by
aims to celebrate and promote the tech startup community. So whether you’re contemplating taking the leap with
your first startup
, or just curious to
find out more
with a sticky-beak inside some startups, we think there’s
something for almost everyone
We know that technology startups have the potential to contribute over $100 billion of GDP and add half a million jobs to our economy by 2033. But to do that, we’ll need more entrepreneurs and more people wanting to study and learn the skills of the future.
Just like a wine festival may be the beginning of someone’s passion for the drop, I hope that Startup Spring may spark people’s passion to pursue that idea they’ve always had, or to consider the tech startup sector as an rewarding and exciting place to be.
So for those who are yet to register to an event, I recommend you go to the startup spring
to check out all the events.
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director for Google Australia and board member of non-for-profit group
The new Nexus 7 available in Australia
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Today marks the launch of the new Nexus 7 on Google Play in Australia. Together with ASUS, we took what you loved about the
original Nexus 7
and made it even better.
The first thing you’ll notice is the sharpness of the screen: the 323 pixels packed into every inch of the screen makes it the world's highest-resolution 7-inch tablet. It’s lighter than ever, with more than nine hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of web browsing or reading. Nexus 7 now features stereo speakers and virtual surround sound from Fraunhofer (the inventors of the MP3 format), giving you rich and immersive audio.
Nexus 7 is the first device to ship with
, the newest version of Android. Tablets are perfect for sharing with others, so in Android 4.3, we're introducing restricted profiles, which let you limit access to apps and content. For example, restricted profiles enable parental controls, so certain family members are prevented from accessing mature content. Likewise, retail stores can use tablets to show off product information, and shops can use tablets as point of sale systems. Android 4.3 also now supports
technology, opening the door to mobile apps that connect to new devices like fitness sensors.
The Nexus 7 will be a great device for playing games from the new
Google Play Games
app — a place brings your friends together with the games you love, where you can invite a friend and start challenging gamers around the world, compete for top achievements, and race to the top of the leaderboard. You can also enjoy the world’s largest collection of eBooks and immerse yourself in thousands of movies and apps on Google Play. Plus, Nexus 7 comes loaded with your favorite Google apps, like Chrome, Maps, YouTube, Gmail and Google Now.
Nexus 7 starts at $299, and is available today September 18. Buy Nexus 7 online on
, or check it out at JB HiFi, Harvey Norman and other selected retailers.
Nexus 7 (LTE)
is also available with support from local carriers. Learn more on our
Posted by Chris Yerga, Engineering Director of Google Play
Meet the women coding our future
Monday, September 16, 2013
Last week, the Google Sydney office played host to 36
Anita Borg Memorial
scholars and finalists from across Asia Pacific.
These young computer science stars from Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore and India, as well as Australia and New Zealand,
spent the week listening to
tech talks, building autonomous fighter robots and attending a series of networking and social events.
Killer robots in action
After spending the last few days with these women and seeing their enthusiasm and talent for computer science, we’re looking forward to seeing where their careers take them.
Our three Australian winners, Vinita Nahar from Brisbane, Georgina Wilcox and Julia Wong from Sydney, are already well on their way.
2013 Anita Borg scholarship winners Julia Wong, Vinita Naha and Georgina Wilcox
Vinita, a PHD student at Queensland University, is creating software that can detect cyber bullies from their online communication patterns. Georgina, a PHD student at Sydney University, is
developing programs to help ecologists better understand the migratory patterns of birds.
And Julia, a first year student at the University of Technology Sydney, is already a seasoned public speaker, going out to schools around NSW to let students know just how many career opportunities there are for computer science graduates.
2013 Anita Borg finalists and winners at the Sydney retreat
Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship
is an award d
esigned to encourage women to excel in computing and technology and become active role models and leaders. It was
to honour the legacy of
an American computer scientist who
worked to dismantle the barriers that keep women and minorities from entering the computing and technology fields.
Since the program began in 2004, more than $2.5 million has been awarded to more than 800 students in Australia, New Zealand, The United States, Canada and Europe.
Congratulations and good luck to all the winners and finalists. You’ve got exciting careers ahead of you. For more information on all our scholarships, visit the
Google Scholarships site
Posted by Valley Mein, Tech Staffing Programs Specialist, Australia & New Zealand
Digital Technologies Curriculum Summit
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
We were enormously heartened to read the
first draft of Australia’s new Digital Technologies Curriculum
, which puts a new, strong focus on computational thinking in Australian schools right from foundational levels. In our experience, an introduction to
in early years provides the strongest possible pathway for students to engage with and excel in computer science, and benefit from the careers it enables. The young people who grow up with this new curriculum—our first ‘innovation generation’—will have the some of the world’s most sought-after and highly-valued skills, and will help Australia shift from the consumers of technology, to creators of technology.
That said, there’s no doubt that it will take a lot of work from our busy teachers to build these concepts into their lesson plans. That’s why we’re hosting a summit on “Integrating technologies into the curriculum” at Google Sydney, on November 7 and 8, to bring together teachers and administrators to share ideas and best practices and get a dose of inspiration from some of the best STEM education minds around.
There will be keynotes from:
Maggie Johnson - Google's Global Director of Education & University Relations
Professor Tim Bell
from Canterbury University, founder of
Dr Chris Tisdell
, UNSW lecturer in mathematics, creator of the
YouTube channel Understand Mathematics
, and author of free textbook
We'll also run some hands-on sessions for teachers and host unconference sessions to discuss ways we can creatively scale teaching techniques and materials across Australia. By bringing together a diverse group of passionate educators we hope to unlock the potential that the new curriculum holds and work together on creative ways we can scale it for the classroom.
We’re inviting teachers with a passion for STEM and computer science from across Australia to apply for a fully-funded trip to participate in the summit in Sydney. Complete this
, and tell us about your classroom techniques, learning outcomes, and inspirational moments. 25 teachers will be awarded a funded place at the event. And if you’re an education administrator and you’d like to attend, please fill out the expression of interest form
We recognise the implementation challenges that may emerge from the changes to the Digital Technologies curriculum, and we’re committed to continuing our support of Australian teachers. In addition to growing existing programs like
, and partnerships with organisations like
FIRST Lego League
, we’re working on more ways to help teachers across the country work
and computer science into their classrooms - stay posted.
Posted by Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager, Google Australia
Follow live results on election night with Google’s Elections Map
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Today more than 14 million Australians are casting their vote to elect our representatives and decide which party will form our next government.
As polls close at 6pm AEST you’ll be able access live results of the vote for the House of Representatives via
. An interactive map will give you a nationwide view of the live vote count from the
Australian Electoral Commission
, allowing you to see how many votes each party has secured and how many seats they’ve likely won. A team of journalists from Fairfax Media, publisher of
The Sydney Morning Herald
will be analysing the results as they come in.
You can also select your local area to find the live count in your electorate, and keep track of news stories as they break and YouTube videos as they’re uploaded—all from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Follow the live results tonight at
. See the projected nationwide result, or zoom into your local area.
Whether it’s using the web to find out more about the
issues that matter
, using devices to
debates in real-time, or coming face to face with candidates via
Hangouts On Air
, technology is transforming our engagement with the political process. We hope the Elections Map is just one additional way of making important political information more easily accessible to voters everywhere.
Posted by Johnny Luu, Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Google Australia
Supporting female founders with the second Google for Entrepreneurs Women’s Meetup
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Over the last few decades, there have been many trailblazing Australian women starting impressive businesses in our own backyard. Lorna Jane’s global active wear clothing phenomenon … Carolyn Cresswell’s food empire … Naomi Simpson’s category-defining Redballoon... Australian women have been fearlessly starting up for years. But women are still under-represented among startup founders, and we want to help change that.
Following on from the success of our first
Google for Entrepreneurs Women’s Meetup
back in June
, we’re making our next Google for Entrepreneurs Women’s Meetup even bigger and better. As part of
Festival, we’ll meet at Google Sydney from 2pm to 8pm on Tuesday, October 1, bringing together a diverse and passionate group of female founders to meet, talk, share inspiration, and learn from each others’ successes. Speakers will include Carrie Kwan from
, Jodie Fox from
Shoes of Prey
, Kath Purkis from
, Marita Cheng from
, Jo Burston from
and many more.
In addition to hearing from female founders at every stage—from pre-launch to global expansion—the event will include lightning sessions on lessons learned, inspirational panels, and a chance to network with creative and inspiring women out to found global businesses right here in Australia.
The local tech startup sector has the potential to add over $109 billion to the economy and create more than 500,000 jobs
, so there’s never been a better time for women to start work on their billion dollar business.
Register your interest
- we can’t wait to see you on October 1.
Posted by Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager, Google Australia
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