News and notes from Google Down Under
Explore Australia’s big blue backyard with today’s Google Doodle
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Photograph captured by The Ocean Agency
Today holds different meanings for Australians around the country. For some it’s a celebration, for others it’s a time of sombre reflection – and for many it’s just another sticky summer’s day.
As the world’s only island continent, what binds us together – physically and culturally – is the ocean. It frames us, hugs us and shapes us. Wherever we’re from, we’ve all had those salty, sandy moments catching wild waves, leapfrogging rock pools, or feeling that silent serenity gliding through underwater galaxies.
celebrates Australia’s big blue backyard and treasured natural World Heritage Site, the Great Barrier Reef. With help from
The Ocean Agency
, we chose to honour the precious creatures and coral in this underwater world – featuring protected species such as the Green Turtle, Pipefish, Barramundi Cod,
Potato Cod, Maori Wrasse, Giant Clam
and Staghorn Coral.
We’ve been working over recent years with The Ocean Agency to
put our oceans on the map
, capturing their beauty and allowing people to explore them from anywhere in the world. Millions of people are lucky enough to visit the reef every year, to dive or snorkel in this majestic underwater world, but many more aren’t as fortunate – and time is not on their side.
The Great Barrier Reef Foundation
, coral cover in the Great Barrier Reef has declined by 50% in the past 30 years. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough says the reef is
in grave danger
More than ever, we’re compelled to look beneath the surface.
Australians are increasingly showing their curiosity and care for this intricate, fragile ecosystem. Google Searches for “Great Barrier Reef” and “biodiversity” landed among the top Google searches in of 2016, while related searches for the Great Barrier Reef and
"Coral Bleaching" increased by +250% compared to 2015.*
Whether you’re spending today in the bush, on a boat or in your mate’s backyard,
we invite you to click on the link below today’s Google Doodle to
dive into the reef with Street View
. Click the
buttons to venture into Norman Reef, Knife Reef, Myrmidon Reef, Ribbon Reef 10, St Crispins, The Cod Hole and Tijou Reef (all captured by The Ocean Agency).
Posted by Alan Noble, Director of Engineering, Google Australia and New Zealand
Introducing Toontastic 3D: a playful storytelling app for kids
Friday, January 13, 2017
[Cross-posted from the
Today’s digital devices and tools offer amazing opportunities for kids to imagine, invent and explore with technology—and perhaps most important of all, have fun! Over the years, we’ve worked closely with educators to build programs for kids to
create through code
doodle their dreams
explore exotic locales
with virtual reality, and even
tour the Himalayas
with a very friendly Yeti named Verne. Today, we’re unveiling our latest project for kids—one that will give voice to their imaginations and transform their devices into playful and powerful tools for learning creative skills. It’s called
With Toontastic 3D, kids can draw, animate and narrate their own adventures, news stories, school reports, and anything else they might dream up. All they need to do is move characters around on the screen and tell their story. It’s like a digital puppet theater… but with enormous interactive 3D worlds, dozens of customizable characters, 3D drawing tools, and an idea lab with sample stories to inspire new creations.
Like the original
(released in 2011 and
by educators, kids, and parents around the globe), Toontastic 3D enables kids to build whatever they like—including book or science reports for school, design pitches, short stories and cartoons.
Toontastic 3D is available and free to download today for phones, tablets and select Chromebooks, on both the
Google Play Store
iOS App Store
We hope the app will empower kids to imagine, invent and explore while developing skills for the creative jobs of tomorrow—whether they dream of becoming a filmmaker, a teacher, a designer, a cartoonist, or just want to explore the boundaries of their imaginations.
Posted by Thushan Amarasiriwardena, Product Manager
Google Play Music Australia reveals its ‘Artists to Watch’ in 2017
Thursday, January 12, 2017
Female musicians, led by Melbourne’s Tash Sultana,
are destined for big things this year
Google Play Music Australia
reveals its ‘
Artists to Watch
’ in 2017. These head-turning artists are expected to make a big splash this year in music.
The top 10 are:
(Remote Control Records)
Our ‘Artists to Watch’ are compiled using a range of factors including track performance on Google Play Music Australia’s new-music playlists, popularity on Google Trends and YouTube, as well as specialist Google Play Music Australia editors’ recommendations.
Topping the list is Melbourne’s very own Tash Sultana, who made a stellar debut in September with her
and its breakout track ‘Jungle’. She has already sold out shows from London to LA on her coming world tour. “I’m stoked to be Google Play’s Artist to Watch for 2017,” Sultana says.
There are three more female Australian artists on the ‘Artists to Watch’ list. These include Jess Kent, who recently opened for Coldplay on the British band’s stadium tour of Australia, and Cloves, whose track ‘Don’t Forget About Me’ last year enjoyed a high-profile feature on a major film soundtrack (‘Me Before You’).
As for overseas talent, Google Play has its eye on Bebe Rexha and Maggie Rogers from the US, and Brits Sampha and Rag’n’Bone Man, as rising stars.
This past November, Google launched a new look for Google Play Music — a fresh take on our music streaming service that is smarter, easier to use and much more assistive. Google Play Music uses machine learning to figure out what music you like and then mixes in signals such as location, activity and the weather, along with hand-picked playlists, to personalise music for wherever you are and whenever you want tunes.
All of the Top 10 Ones to Watch in Australia, as well as the longer list of suggested artists, feature in Google Play Music’s
Artists to Watch 2017 playlist
Posted by Sophie Hirst, Product Marketing Manager, Google Play Australia
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