News and notes from Google Down Under
Edward Koiki Mabo’s 80th birthday
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
often celebrate milestone birthdays of people who have helped shape our history. One person who deserves that description is Torres Strait islander Eddie Mabo.
Born on the Australian island of Mer at the top of Australia in 1936,
Edward Koiki Mabo
was an energetic campaigner for the rights of indigenous people and their claim to the lands declared
, or belonging to no one, despite the history of its earlier inhabitants.
He also set up a health service and a school in Townsville, Queensland where he lived with his wife and their ten children.
The “Mabo Case” triumphed in the
in 1992 - overturning terra nullius and forcing the recognition of indigenous native title, returning ownership of the islands to the indigenous people.
Although he died shortly before the verdict, Eddie Mabo’s activism changed the lives of so many. That
meant that the fiction of terra nullius - that Australia belonged to no one when first claimed by the British - was overturned.
Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to Edward Koiki Mabo’s legacy on what would have been his 80th birthday. Google created the artwork with the blessing of Gail Mabo, Eddie's daughter.
Posted by Cecelia Herbert, Diversity and Inclusion Manager, Google Australia
Wombat speed? How fast is your business’s site on mobile?
Thursday, June 23, 2016
If your website was an animal, would what would it be? Hopefully a fast one, right? Australians have little tolerance for wombat speed websites. This is particularly true on mobile, where we expect a seamless experience whether searching or making purchases. Nine out of ten people will leave a mobile site if they can’t find what they’re looking for right away.
If you are a business owner, think about what this means for your business’s site. Does it perform quickly on both desktop and mobile? If not, you’re probably losing customers while the pages slowly load.
A new Google
allows you to
measure your site’s performance
across devices—from mobile to desktop. The tool will also give you a list of specific fixes that can help your business connect more quickly with people online.
You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to understand the results. Just type in your web address and within moments you’ll see how your site scores. You can also get a detailed report to give you an idea of what to do next, and where to go for help.
Why you should test your site
We all live online. When we need information or want to make a purchase, we grab the nearest device. On average, people check their phones more than 150 times a day.
This is particularly true for
who are using their phones for everything - from comparing products to booking restaurants. But if a potential customer is on mobile and a site isn’t easy to use they won’t hang around. Almost
30 per cent
of mobile users immediately switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.
To avoid losing out in these moments, you need a site that loads quickly and is easy to use. The first step is seeing how
your site is performing
. You will get feedback on mobile-friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed. (By the way, if you’re a site guru, you may also want to visit
, which is the power behind the scores.)
What your scores say about your site
Mobile-friendliness: This is the quality of the experience customers have when they’re browsing your site on their phones. To be mobile-friendly, your site should have tappable buttons, be easy to navigate from a small screen, and have the most important information up front and centre.
Mobile speed: This is how long it takes your site to load on mobile devices. If customers are kept waiting for too long, they’ll move on to the next site (picture a wombat racing against an emu).
Desktop speed: This is how long it takes your site to load on desktop computers. It’s not just the strength of your customers’ web connection that determines speed, but also the elements of your website (there goes that wombat again).
Test your site
now to find out what’s working and what’s not so you can make your site more emu, less wombat and enable your business to
win on mobile
Posted by Rich Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia
1. Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Wave 3, Google/Ipsos, U.S., August 2015, n=1291 online smartphone users 18+
2. Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, “Internet Trends D11 Conference.” May 2013
Get ready for a sizzling election with Google
Monday, June 20, 2016
Election day is just around the corner and to help you get ready for the big day we’ve made an interactive map that gives Australians access to some of the most important information needed to make voting quick, easy and even appetising!
Starting today, you can visit
to search for your electorate, see who is running, locate your nearest polling booth and find out the fastest way to get there. You can even go back and see how the nation voted in the 2013 election.
Soon, thanks to
, you’ll even be able to find out which polling booths are also offering sausage sizzles and cake stalls - after all, what would an Aussie election day be without a barbie?
On election day, July 2, the map will change to show the live polling results as they come in across every electorate. With one quick search, you’ll be able to zoom into any of Australia’s
to show the percentage of votes counted and how each party is faring.
And as soon as the counting starts, color-coded electorate outlines based on who holds the majority at that particular time will make it even easier to monitor the results across the country in real-time.
We’ve also made it simple for anyone with a website to display these maps. The map is fully customisable so you can show a national or an electorate view, simply by using an embed feature in your site.
Organising information so that it’s useful and accessible is especially important around elections, to help citizens get ready and feel empowered to vote.
But it’s not just logistics and results that matter. To help inform voters about the candidates’ platforms ahead of election day, a few weeks back we launched an experimental feature in Google Search that offers fresh content directly from the political parties in your search results.
So when you search for a party with at least 10 members in the House of Representatives, you may see posts or videos from them, in addition to the news articles, tweets and links you’re already used to seeing in Google Search.
People with Google Search app installed and
activated will receive
on the day before the election and again polling day to remind them to vote and to find their nearest voting stations.
With these tools, we hope we’re making it a little bit easier for Aussies all over the nation to prepare for one of the most important days of this year — and look forward to seeing many more of you at the local sausage sizzle.
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia
Meet Gboard: Search, GIFs, emojis & more. Right from your keyboard.
Friday, June 17, 2016
Aussie iPhone users—this one’s for you. Gboard — the new app for your iPhone that lets you search and send information, GIFs, emojis and more, right from your keyboard — is now available Down Under.
Say you’re texting with a friend about tomorrow’s brekky plans. They ask you for the address. Until now it’s worked like this: You leave your texting app, open Search, find the restaurant, copy the address, switch back to your texts, paste the address into a message, and finally, hit send.
Check it out:
Searching and sending stuff on your phone shouldn’t be that difficult. With Gboard, you can search and send all kinds of things—restaurant info, flight times, news articles—right from your keyboard. Anything you’d search on Google, you can search with Gboard. Results appear as cards with the key information front and center, such as the phone number, ratings and hours. With one tap, you can send it to your friend and you keep the conversation going.
You can search for more than just Google search results. Instead of scrolling to find💃 or 👯 , search for “dancer” and find that emoji you were looking for instantly. Even better—you can search for the perfect GIF to show people how you’re really feeling.
Finally, Gboard has Glide Typing, which lets you type words by sliding your finger from key to key instead of tapping—so everything you do is just a little bit faster.
Gboard works in any app—messaging, email, YouTube—so you can use it anywhere on your phone.
Get it now in the App Store
Posted by Rajan Patel, Principal Engineer
Cast your vote for The Voice right from Google
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Google knows the answer to a lot of questions.
Who invented the electric guitar
What is legato
Where are the closest singing lessons near me
? However there are some big questions that Google can’t give you the answer, like “who is going to to win The Voice Australia”. That big question is up to fans of The Voice Australia to answer.
While Google might not be able to answer the question, it can now help you vote. We’ve teamed up with the Nine Network and Endemol Shine Australia so that fans of The Voice Australia can vote for their favorite artist
directly from Google Search
last night’s show
, you can now type “The Voice Vote” into Google on your mobile, tablet or computer, you’ll be able to select your favorites and then submit your picks directly from Google.
You can select up to four of your favorite artists just by clicking on their images and then click submit to send your votes to The Voice Australia. You must
cast your vote
and once you’re done you can let your friends know who you’re supporting by sharing your vote on Facebook, G+ or Twitter.
To get started, make sure you’re logged into your
and are using the Google app (
) or google.com.au on your phone, tablet or computer and then type “The Voice vote” to select your favourites. We hope you enjoy giving this new voting feature a spin!
Posted by Julia Donnan, Marketing Manager and diehard fan of The Voice
Got an idea to change Australia and the world? We want to hear it.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Whether it’s new technology to help domestic violence victims during a crisis or an innovative way to provide scalable health care for Australia’s ageing population, we believe technology can help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
So today we’re announcing the Google Impact Challenge in Australia to support Aussie innovators in the non-profit sector who want to use technology to make an impact.
Starting today, Australian non-profits can submit their technology-driven ideas to the
Google Impact Challenge
for the opportunity to share in $4.5 million of funding. We’ll reward the four winning submissions with a $750,000 grant plus support from Google volunteers to help make each project a reality. The other six finalists will receive $250,000 each, as well as mentoring to kickstart their projects.
Apply online today at:
We’ll announce ten finalists in October, and then invite the Australian public to vote for their favourite idea. On October 26, a judging panel including David Gonski, Lucy Turnbull, Layne Beachley, Melissa Doyle, Alan Noble, and Jacquelline Fuller will select three awardees. The fourth awardee will be chosen based on online votes from the public.
This year, The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is also offering four additional $500,000 grants for projects that use technology to make a social impact internationally. The DFAT Technology Against Poverty Prize is provided by innovationXchange as part of the 2016 Google Impact Challenge and is particularly focused on how technology can reduce poverty and make lives better in the Asia Pacific region, with new international development solutions that are cheaper, faster and more effective. Unless applicants choose to opt out, all entries into this year's Google Impact Challenge will also be considered for a DFAT grant.
This is second time we’ve run the Google Impact Challenge in Australia. In 2014, we
supported 10 ideas with $3.5 million in funding
— ranging from Fred Hollows’
low-cost mobile camera to detect and prevent blindness
caused by diabetes to Infoxchange’s web app called
Ask Izzy to connect homeless people with social services
. Two years down the track, these projects have created a significant social impact and we hope this next round of funding will do the same.
Non-profits, you have four weeks to submit your ideas. Entries close on July 13.
Posted by Alan Noble, Director of Engineering, Google Australia.
A big week for Education Technology in Australia
Friday, June 3, 2016
Australian students can learn anywhere, anytime with new online tools - that was the message from the Google for Education team at
in Brisbane this week, the largest education event in the Southern Hemisphere.
The event attracted more than 6,000 representatives from various parts of the education system. The Google for Education team had a display and teaching theatre set-up for attendees to try out products, learn more about
and hear how other educators are using technology in their lessons.
Many schools have already found innovative ways to introduce technology into their classrooms. They’re seeing increased student engagement, improved learning outcomes and interesting new projects made possible through tools, such as
Google Apps for Education
Director International of Google Education, John Vamvakitis spoke at the EduTECH conference and said technology is helping teachers and educators to do their job even better.
He pointed to Australian schools doing great things, including the Canberra public school system which has modernised using Google Apps for Education and Chromebooks.
Now, more than 45,000 students from preschool through to Year 12 in the 87 Australian Capital Territory (ACT) schools are sharing and learning on Chromebooks using Google Apps.
Daniel Bray, Program Manager for eLearning from the ACT said the Department of Education chose Chromebooks because they were affordable and intuitive. This was ideal coupled with Google Classroom, which uses Google Apps to help students work from anywhere, on any device while teachers can share assignments, track progress and give grades—all without printing a single piece of paper.
” program has since been recognised as a finalist for the national eGovernment Excellence awards for Project and Program Management.
As Australia prepares for a digital future, education is top of mind. It was great to connect with teachers, administrators and partners this week at EduTECH to continue learning what schools need to prepare students for our changing world.
Posted by Harry Kwa, Head of Education, Google Asia Pacific
Celebrating My Account's first birthday with improvements and new controls
Thursday, June 2, 2016
A year ago today
, we launched
, a hub that gives you quick access to controls for safeguarding your data and protecting your privacy on Google. My Account puts privacy and security tools in one place, including long-standing features like Ads Settings and newer ones like the
Checkups. Collectively, these tools make it easy for you to control your privacy and security from any device.
In the past year, more than one billion people around the world have used My Account. Now, on the first anniversary of its launch, we're excited to introduce three new features to easily access your controls and protect your data.
A helping hand when you lose your phone
We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data: texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble. Unfortunately,
millions of phones
are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, and countless more are lost in taxis, cafes, and couch cushions around the world. But when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe.
Find your phone
is a new feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”
New ways to access My Account
People are increasingly using their voices to navigate apps and services—for example, mobile voice searches on Google have tripled in the past two years. So, we’re making it easier to get to My Account just by using your voice. In the latest Google app you can simply say, “Ok Google, show me my Google account,” and we’ll take you right there. This is available today in English, with other languages coming soon.
We’re also making it easier than ever to find My Account by searching Google. Coming soon, you’ll be able to simply search for your own name, and if you’re signed in, you’ll see a shortcut to My Account.
When you entrust your data to Google, you should expect powerful security and privacy controls. These features are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your personal information. We'll continue to make updates based on your feedback.
Posted by Guemmy Kim, Product Manager, Account Controls and Settings
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