News and notes from Google Down Under
Search is a Jack of all trades
Friday, August 26, 2016
Today we’re dealing two new hands from the Google Search deck: solitaire and tic-tac-toe. Now you can play two of the oldest and most popular games for all ages, on desktop and in the Google app.
It’s been said solitaire’s roots are in fortune telling. If that’s true, today your fate rests on your quick wit and the luck of the draw. When you search for “solitaire” on Google, the familiar patience game may test yours!
If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, tic-tac-toe is your best bet. In this game of naughts and crosses, you can select your level of difficulty or even go head to head against a friend. Xs and Os to the winner (hugs and kisses, that is!).
For some other fun tips, try asking Google, “
what sound does a pig make?
” Or if you’re looking to settle a bet and feeling lucky, “
flip a coin
” may come in handy.
These are just a sample of the delightful surprises that await you on Google. After all, Search is for so much more than research and practical matters -- it’s for fun, too!
Posted by Stephen Cognetta, Associate Product Manager
Meet Google Duo, a simple 1-to-1 video calling app for everyone
Friday, August 19, 2016
Video calling is the next best thing to being with someone in person, but too often it can be a frustrating or complicated experience. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether your call will connect, or if your friend is using the same type of device as you are. It’s no wonder that nearly half of us never make video calls on mobile*.
Today, we’re releasing
— a simple 1-to-1 video calling app available for Android and iOS. Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are.
Google Duo works across Android and iOS — all you need is a phone number
Duo is simple from start to finish. To get started, all you need is your phone number and you’ll be able to reach people in your phone’s contacts list. No separate account is required, so you can sign up in just a few steps. From there, you can instantly begin a video call with a single tap.
Fast and reliable
We all know how it feels when a call fails to connect or when video gets choppy. We’ve built Duo to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks. Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected — when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly. For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door.
We designed Duo to feel warm and inviting, focused on just you and the person you’re calling. To make calls feel more like an invitation rather than an interruption, we created a feature in Duo called
which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they’re up to and why they want to chat. Knock Knock makes video calling more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up.
Knock Knock in Duo lets you see who’s calling before you pick up
Finally, we built Duo with an emphasis on privacy and security, and all Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted.
Give your friends a wave with Duo! We’re roll out Duo for Android and iOS today across Australia.
Posted by Justin Uberti, Principal Software Engineer
*Google YouGov Survey, July 2016, U.S., Among 18+ online population, n=1,058
YouTube Kids now works with YouTube Red
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Back in May we
launched YouTube Red
, a paid membership that makes allows you to enjoy ad-free videos across all of YouTube. You can also save videos to watch offline and play videos in the background of your phone or tablet. Since then we’ve heard from families that they’d love the option of these features in the
YouTube Kids app
too. So today we’re excited to say it’s finally here: the YouTube Kids app now works with YouTube Red in Australia!
With YouTube Red, your kids can now watch their favorite shows with all-new features like:
Ad-free videos: Let your kids learn and laugh along with their favourite characters without paid ads.
Offline videos: In the car or on grandma’s sofa—always have videos when you need ‘em, even if you don’t have a connection.
Uninterrupted music: Keep family sing-alongs going while you use other apps on your phone.
To get started, all parents need is the YouTube Kids app and a
membership. Then, just sign in to your YouTube Red account from the parental controls section of the YouTube Kids app and follow a few simple steps. Once that’s done, your little one’s ready to sing along with
or bake something yummy with
Charli’s Crafty Kitchen
And we’ve got even more updates to YouTube Kids the way. Over the next few months we’ll be making some changes to the app that’ll give parents more choice on how to customise the content that appears or doesn’t appear in their YouTube Kids experience.
Until then, we hope you and the family enjoy YouTube Kids with YouTube Red benefits in Australia and New Zealand.
If you haven't already, take YouTube Red for a spin with this
free 30-day trial
Posted by Sanoop Luke, YouTube Kids Content Manager, recently watched "
Cartoon | Oddbods - Office Roister | Funny Cartoons for Children
" on Oddbods
What’s the value of a shortcut?
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Well, for a start it gets you to where you’re going sooner. You might arrive to work earlier, spend less time sitting in traffic, or get home earlier and have more time with your family. It might even give you just enough time to pick up a coffee from your cafe.
A Google Map of Melbourne with traffic data.
The next time the map on your smartphone suggests you take a different route to avoid a traffic jam, saving you five minutes of travel, it's unlikely that you'll spend much time thinking about the economic impact of what just happened. However, when you consider that these kinds of savings are being made by Aussies everyday, it's clear that free digital tools like Google Maps are having an economic benefit.
So we asked experts at
to look into the economic contribution of free digital tools like Google Maps to Australia and
the numbers they came back with are striking
AlphaBeta estimates that:
Google Maps contributes $4.3 billion to the Australian economy each year
11 million drivers and passengers across Australia (almost half the nation’s population) rely on Google Maps to get them from A to B each day
Australians saved approximately 13.5 hours each on the road in 2015 — that’s more than half a day less of driving in circles!
AlphaBeta 'Google Economic Impact Australia 2015'
This reduced time on the road amounts to around half a billion dollars in annual savings at the petrol pump. Which is not just good news for the hip pocket, it’s good for the environment too, as it’s the equivalent of removing 125,000 cars from Australian roads.
It’s not just drivers who benefit either. By helping people plan their public transport journeys, Google Maps saved 9.8 million Australians 13 hours each over the course of a year. That’s 46,800 seconds not on the bus. And the 5 million Aussies that use Maps for walking saved about 2.5 hours.
AlphaBeta 'Google Economic Impact Australia 2015'
That’s a big contribution for something that was created in the second bedroom of a Hunters Hill house 12 years ago. Noel Gordon, co-founder of Google Maps, said the team that created Google Maps all those years ago dreamed of the potential benefits it would create, looking down the long road ahead.
Google Maps now has more than a billion users worldwide, is free of charge and allows you to quickly pinpoint the places and information you need, whether it's how many minutes until the next bus arrives, or how long it will take to walk or bike from work to home.
Globally, about a fifth of all Google searches - and a third of those from mobile phones - are location-related. In Australia people use Google Maps to find the best route and quickly locate a new destination, such as a friend’s house, restaurant, or national park. And Google Maps helps make that trip as hassle-free as possible by picking the quickest public transport route or the best driving route based on traffic conditions. That means less time on the road, less time on the train platform.
These savings have economic benefits and they also have a big social impact - we all know the difference getting home from work 15 minutes earlier can make to your leisure and family time. Chances are you’re already using Google Maps to get to that meeting or to plan your trip home - and we’re constantly improving it, recently adding an
to directions and (
) giving Melbournians some
public transport directions
. So the benefits of Maps might not be news to you, but their value to the economy might come as a surprise. You can read the
full report from AlphaBeta here
Posted by Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google Australia
AMPing up mobile search in Australia
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Access to information is at the heart of Google’s mission. Unfortunately, today, parts of the mobile web aren’t living up to the expectations people have for getting the information they need, particularly when it comes to speed.
In fact, data shows that people abandon websites after just
if the content doesn't load quickly—which is bad not just for people trying to get what they want online, but for the publishers who want those readers to enjoy the content they've created for them.
That's why, last October, we joined others across the industry on the
Accelerated Mobile Pages
Project (AMP for short), an open source initiative to make the mobile web as fast as possible.
AMP enables a fast reading experience on Google search and Google Play as well as thousands of other sites from social and travel to food, and from retail to sport, making it easy for people to get to the latest news quickly and to read more in the limited time they have.
In less than six months Google has enabled AMP across a number of products from top stories in search to Google News and NewsStand. The data we are seeing is encouraging with pages on average loading 4 x faster and using 10x less data than non AMP pages.
Now we are bringing that same fast reading experience to users here in Australia on our top stories section in search with some of the country's biggest publishers leveraging the power of AMP, including News Corporation, Fairfax Media, Nine Digital and
. Readers looking for updates on Aussie athletes at the Rio Olympics or the latest on the US election will get their stories blazingly fast on mobile devices.
For publishers already using AMP, the experience is encouraging. The Washington Post is
very promising numbers when it comes to engagement and retention:
An 88% decrease in article loading time
A 23% increase in returning users from mobile search
The objectives of the AMP Project team aren’t just about improving a user’s engagement with content. We know the experience people have with ads is equally important to help publishers fund the great content we all love to read. That's why we are introducing AMP for Ads to bring together everything that is good and fast about AMP to advertising. You can read more about that effort on the AMP Project
Follow progress on the
site and see what is coming next on the roadmap
. There’s still a lot of work ahead and it’s been thrilling to see how the industry has come together to work on this common goal of making the mobile web great for everyone. And given the potential AMP holds for other types of content, we’re excited about what the future holds and look forward to hearing your feedback - get involved
Posted by Agnes Eymery, Print Product Partnerships lead APAC
Let Google be your guide to Rio de Janeiro
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
The modern Olympic Games have been a defining moment for athletes and fans alike dating back to 1896. Next week, the 2016 cauldron will be lit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where thousands of athletes will come together to represent the strength and pride of their home countries with the world as their audience.
In celebration of the next chapter in Olympics history, we’re bringing the best our products have to offer to help people around the world stay up-to-date with the Olympic Games Rio 2016:
Discover the event schedule, medal counts, and athlete information in Search
Get results and view TV schedules in 30+ countries
Watch official broadcasters’ event highlights on YouTube in 60+ countries
Explore Rio and venues in Google Maps
Keep up to date with the latest search Trends from around the world
searching for information
about your favorite athletes and sports, the medal race, or your country’s schedule has never been easier. Pro tip: if you search on the Google app on Android and iOS, you’ll also see an option to get automatic updates on top event and medal wins, so you’ll never miss a beat.
To give you a glimpse into the Games, watch official broadcasters’ video highlights on YouTube in more than 60 countries around the world. And as an added bonus, YouTube is sending 15 top creators to Rio, giving you a taste of what it’s like to be there with mobile
With Street View in Google Maps, everyone can enjoy the
magic of Rio de Janeiro
. Even if you’re a world away, preview the places where the world's most talented athletes will make history and explore the breathtaking beauty of Brazil.
Google Trekker operator captures 360-degree imagery from inside Rio’s Olympic Park
Great triumphs, victories and stunning surprises await us all this summer. This is just a hint of what’s to come—we hope you’ll let Google be your guide.
Posted by Jonathan Livni, Product Manager
Smart, modern, secure - business leaders discuss a digital future at Atmosphere Melbourne
Monday, August 1, 2016
Last week, business and IT leaders came together to talk digital transformation and building for the future at the Google
event in Melbourne. There they discussed ideas from machine learning and data security to cloud technology, with the Google enterprise leadership team.
Attendees were keen to hear how our Cloud Platform, which takes advantage of Google’s deep networking and machine learning expertise to provide services for application development, data analysis and computing, could help their business.
Guests enjoyed a demonstration of a robot powered by the Cloud Platform Vision API, which correctly identified a human smile and everyday objects, and discussed how this technology could be applied to industries like manufacturing, retail and beyond.
We also heard from Silicon-Valley author, entrepreneur and evangelist
, who spoke about the ‘Art of Enterprise Innovation’ - urging businesses to take risks and try new things.
Financial accounting firm Xero, along with Salmat and Visy Business Solutions, shared their IT insights and the impact Google’s services have had on their businesses. Xero reflected on the gains in productivity and openness their business, spread across 17 global offices, experienced after moving to Google Apps.
Tasks that had been time consuming – like emailing a document around for edits – now take just seconds. Teams around the world can easily open a document from
and collaborate on docs and spreadsheets in real time.
Leaders from various sectors and industries shared their experience of using technology to improve efficiency, modernise decision-making and keep their organisation’s data secure.
This was a great opportunity to learn from our customers and IT leaders and we look forward to supporting businesses on their digital journey. Thank you to everyone who joined us in Melbourne and if you missed the event you can learn more now about
Google Apps for Work
Posted by Renee Gamble, Country Manager, Google for Work, ANZ
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