News and notes from Google Down Under
Teaching the teachers
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Everyone remembers a good teacher. They nourish our interests and fuel our passions. Many of us have ended up in the careers we’re in because of an influential teacher we met along the way.
So it’s critical that teachers are equipped to give our kids the skills they need for the economy of the future. And when you look at how different fields from medicine to banking are rapidly digitising, it’s clear our teachers need to be able to teach computational skills.
Australia and New Zealand have some wonderful people teaching computer science, like Graeme Breen from Mountain Creek Secondary School on the Sunshine Coast, who teaches computer science to high school students. Graeme has been teaching since 1989 and says he wants to gives his students the technology skills they need to one day start their own companies.
We need more Graemes. To help this, Google funds workshops that equip teachers to teach computer science. The program,
Computer Science for High Schools
(CS4HS), provides teachers with the skills and resources they need to teach computational thinking and computer science concepts in fun and engaging ways. And we’ve just announced the latest batch of funding recipients (see the list below).
Graeme doing what he does best
Globally, we’ve helped train more than 12,000 teachers and reached over 613,000 students in more than 230 locations since we started this program. Closer to home, we are supporting 25 organisations across Australia and New Zealand who will provide this important training to K-12 school teachers. This year, we hope to reach around 3,000 high school, primary school and pre-service Aussie and Kiwi teachers.
In addition to the workshops, we are also providing f
ree online professional teacher development
in partnership with Adelaide University.
If you want to know where computer science can take kids, have a look at
Careers with Code
. In the future, young Australians will use computer science to do great things. And it will all have started with a great teacher.
2015 CS4HS Funding Recipients
Australian Catholic University
Code Club Australia
Central Queensland University
Information Communication and Technology Educators of NSW
Information Technology Educators ACT
La Trobe University
Mark Oliphant College
Queensland Society for Information Technology Educators
Queensland University of Technology
St Columba Anglican School
Swinburne University of Technology
Tasmanian Catholic Education Office
The University of Adelaide
The University of Melbourne
The University of Newcastle
The University of New South Wales
The University of Queensland
The University of Tasmania
The University of Western Australia
Robotics Education NZ Trust
The University of Canterbury
Unitec Institute of Technology
Victoria University of Wellington
Posted by Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach Manager, Google Australia & New Zealand
You can now visit Gallipoli’s historic sites online
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Gallipoli is a special place for many people around the world and in particular for Australians and New Zealanders, whose ancestors fought in the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I. Search interest for [gallipoli] in Australia has doubled in the last month, as Australians look for more information about our history.
Even if you are not able to make it to Gallipoli in person this year, you can still experience its historical significance by learning about the
events and the people
, and exploring more than
80 locations on the Gallipoli Peninsula online
. The Street View Trekker was brought to Turkey for the first time, so you can now virtually explore 360-degree online imagery of locations including the
Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial
ANZAC Ceremonial Area
number of other historic sites
Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial
The Nek Cemetery
Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery and Memorial
ANZAC Ceremonial Area
You can also view new exhibitions and over a hundred unique photos, documents and artifacts that have been added to
Google’s Cultural Institute
to mark the ANZAC centenary. Among the many artefacts
shared with the Cultural Institute by our partner museums
are images of the
shipwreck of the AE2 submarine
, the drawings of
, and paintings by Australian artist
“Captain Hore’s scenes at Gallipoli” in the exhibition “Leslie Hore” by the State Library of New South Wales
You will find first-hand sketches by wartime artists and photos from the collections of the
Australian War Memorial
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Australian National Maritime Museum
State Library of New South Wales
, among others.
We worked with the General Directorate for the Historical Sites of Gallipoli and Dardanelles Battles of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the Embassies of Australia and New Zealand, to collect and release this imagery on
and publish a new image and exhibit archive on the
Google Cultural Institute
and we’re grateful for their help.
Posted by Anthony Baxter, Software Engineer, Google Australia and New Zealand
Mobilegeddon? We’re going for mobiletopia.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
As we flagged in
, we’re making a change to our search rankings, to include ‘mobile-friendliness’ as one of the many criteria we use to rank search results.
There have been a few misconceptions flying around about this change, so we wanted to clear them up.
Firstly, mobile-friendliness is
just one of 200 signals
that we use to determine the ranking of results.
Sites that aren’t as mobile-friendly as they could be
disappear. In fact, they may still rank highly if they contain great content that people really want.
And again, just to be really clear, this is
just for mobile results
Why are we making this change? Well, we’ve all experienced bad mobile sites. Miniscule font, links that require Tinkerbell’s tiny fingers to click, or a sideways scroll that last for ever and ever and ever and ever. Which is a real problem, because mobiles are increasingly how we access the internet. Almost four in five Aussies now have smartphones, and we use them daily.
Bad sites are bad for business too: visitors abandon websites that aren’t mobile-friendly at higher rates.
74% of people say they are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site. What does ‘mobile-friendliness’ look like? Check out the image below.
When people search on mobile, we will now use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal that weighs in favor of pages that are formatted for mobile phones, like the image on the right. The good news is that creating a mobile-friendly site doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming: i
t can be as simple as adjusting website settings or picking out a design you like
. Even if you opt to fully redesign your site, a small business website with 10-20 pages could be completed in a day or so. And in Australia, there are over 5,000 Google-certified
who can help.
Webmasters can check if their site is mobile-friendly by examining individual pages with the
or checking the status of the entire site through the
Mobile Usability report
in Webmaster Tools.
In the two months since we announced this change, we’ve seen a 4.7 percentage point increase in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly, and we hope to see even more in the coming months.
The web doesn’t stand still, and mobiles have been around for eight years. Australians deserve to get the best out of the internet, however they access it. These changes are designed to help.
Posted by Lisa Bora, Head of Mobile, Google Australia
Android TV available in Australia with the Nexus Player
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
is coming to Australia — starting with the
which will go on sale at
on Tuesday next week for $129. This is the first device in Australia to offer Android TV, which we announced at Google I/O in 2014 as a new platform that puts Android inside televisions and set-top boxes.
Just by speaking to the Nexus Player remote using Voice Search, discover your favourite TV shows, a new movie release on Google Play, or a cooking video on YouTube and watch them on the biggest screen in your house. You can also use the remote, and the separate game controller, to turn your TV and Android games into a gaming console. (And pick up the game on your smartphone where you left off).
Nexus Player, a collaboration with Asus, can also stream movies, music, and videos, and allows you to cast entertainment from almost any Chromebook, Android device or iOS device to your TV.
Posted by Sophie Verow, Product Marketing Manager, Google Australia
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Around four hundred kilometres inland, the beautiful New South Wales city of Dubbo is home to some of the most dynamic and hard-working small businesses in Australia.
: it was started by the owner’s grandfather in 1918, with a bag of flour in nearby Tooraweenah (population: 239). Almost one hundred years later, it relies on the internet to source new customers, showcase its products and services, and promote seasonal specialities (hot cross bun anyone?).
Michael Everett, who manages operations at the bakery, says that while baking is not an industry people associate with the internet, technology is now a key part of helping new customers discover the business.
Early riser Michael Everett from Village Bakery makes some final adjustments before another day satisfying Dubbo's appetites
Yesterday we paid a visit to Dubbo to meet the local small business community and help them use the web to grow. It was the second stop of our
small business roadshow
, in which we have teamed up with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to help Aussie small businesses prosper and grow online.
Over 100 of Dubbo’s small business owners joined us to learn how to get found on Google Maps and Search,
create a free online profile
with opening hours and photos, generate driving directions to their location and take their first steps with online marketing.
The Member for Parkes, the Hon Mark Coulton MP, joined us and explained how technology is increasingly important for small businesses in his regional electorate, which is the combined size of Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland.
That’s a lot of ground to cover. The good news is, if you jump on the Village Bakery
, you can see where else in NSW you can get hold of a Village Bakery pie for the road.
Posted by Rich Flanagan, Head of Small Business Marketing, Google Australia
Equator found to be slipping: Australia at risk of becoming a Northern Hemisphere country by 2055
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
In order to ensure the
of Google Maps, our engineers constantly reassess the Earth’s geospatial data in relation to other objects in the solar system.
Over the past two months, Google Maps engineers in Sydney have discovered that the Earth’s equator is slipping south at rate of 25km per year — much faster than previously thought.
Movements in the equator are caused by changes in the Earth’s tilt, called
. A degree of movement is not unexpected but the speed of this movement has alarmed scientists, who have expressed concerns about the impact on migratory birds. Dr Derek Muller, the scientist behind the popular YouTube channel
, explains in this video what’s behind the alarming slippage.
Current modelling suggests that the northern-most point of Australia, Cape York, could enter the Northern Hemisphere as soon as 2055.
Regardless of where the equator moves to, there are some things we will never change. In Australia, we will always call the season after Summer “Autumn”, not “Fall.” We will refuse to spell colour “color”, even when referring to
. And, we will keep surfing at Bondi Beach in January, even if the water drops below zero
Posted by Andrew Foster, Google Maps Senior Product Manager, Google Australia
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