News and notes from Google Down Under
The new Google Arts & Culture, on show now
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Just as the world’s precious artworks and monuments need a touch-up to look their best, the home we’ve built to host the world’s cultural treasures online needs a lick of paint every now and then.
We’re ready to pull off the dust sheets and introduce the new
Google Arts & Culture
website and app, by the Google Cultural Institute. The app lets you explore anything from
cats in art since 200 BCE
color red in Abstract Expressionism
, and everything in between.
Our new tools will help you discover works and artifacts, allowing you to immerse yourself in cultural experiences across art, history and wonders of the world—from more than a thousand museums across 70 countries:
Search for anything, from
all things gold
Scroll through art by time—see how
Van Gogh’s works went from gloomy to vivid
Browse by color and learn about
Monet’s 50 shades of gray
Find a new fascinating story to discover every day—today, it’s
nine powerful men in heels
With a virtual reality viewer like
, you can use the Google Arts & Culture app on
to take a
virtual tour of the street art scene in Rome
; step inside a creation by famous street artist, Insa; or even travel 2,500 years back in time and
look around the ancient Greek temple of Zeus
You can also subscribe to the new
Google Arts & Culture YouTube channel
. Find out what
Kandinsky and Kanye West have in common
the New York-based “cyborg artist” Neil Harbisson
We’re sure you’ll want to see some of the artworks in real life too—and the Google Arts & Culture app is there to help. Click “Visit” on a museum’s page to get opening times, find out what’s on that day and navigate there in one click.
We’ve also been experimenting with a new feature, which Australians can be among the first in the world to try out. The Art Recogniser is now available in Sydney’s
Art Gallery of New South Wales
as well as London’s
Dulwich Picture Gallery
National Gallery of Art
in Washington DC.
Just pull up the app, point your phone’s camera to a painting on display and find all the information you want to know about the artwork. We’re planning to roll this out to museums around the world—so stay tuned. There’s much to learn about our shared cultural heritage. Download the app for
to unlock a world of experiences, every day.
Posted by Duncan Osborn, Product Manager, Google Cultural Institute
Android Pay says G’day
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Whether you’re heading out for Sunday brunch or doing the weekly shop, your Android phone will be all you need as you walk out the door. Starting today, Android Pay is available in Australia, helping you pay for things simply and securely with your Android smartphones.
You will be able to use Android Pay everywhere contactless payments are accepted, including your favourite shops like Coles, Domino’s, 7-Eleven and
. Just wake your phone and tap as you would with your card. It’s that simple. And businesses across the country with contactless terminals don't need to do anything else to be able to accept Android Pay in store.
In a few days time, you will also be able to speed through checkout using Android Pay in your favourite apps — including Catch of the Day, Deliveroo, Domino’s, EatNow, Hotel Tonight, Kogan.com and
To start using Android Pay you’ll need to
download the Android Pay app on Google Play
and have an eligible American Express, Visa — and in a few days, MasterCard — credit or debit card from one of our
25+ supported banks
and credit unions, such as ANZ, American Express, Macquarie, MyState Bank, and Teachers Mutual Bank. More banks and cards are being added all the time — cards from Bendigo Bank and ING Direct will be supported soon.
Android Pay keeps your card information secure with industry standard tokenization and you’ll continue to enjoy the rewards, benefits and security of your credit cards when you use Android Pay.
Get started with Android Pay in Australia today:
download the app on Google Play
, add your card and start shopping. It’s as easy as Tap. Pay. Done.
Posted by Pali Bhat, Senior Director, Product Management
Making it easier for small and medium businesses to find the right Google Partner
Monday, July 4, 2016
helps businesses connect with online professionals and agencies. When the program began three years ago, Top Partners started earning their
Google Partner badge
by demonstrating their business was healthy, their clients were happy, and they were up to date with the latest product knowledge.
Since then, we received a number of requests from Partners asking for a way to show their areas of expertise. Today, we’re excited to share the addition of
Google Partner specialisations
The new feature is embedded into the Google Partner badge and designed to help businesses identify the right Partner for their business needs.
Partners can earn specialisations in 5 areas:
To earn a specialisation, badged Partners will need at least one
individual and a history of consistent product performance.
Additionally, we’re introducing a new
Premier Google Partner badge
to recognise those who manage a substantial portfolio of Google advertising campaigns and deliver great results for their customers.
will be required to maintain additional certification requirements and will receive increased support from Google.
We hope these updates will help businesses find the right Partner for their needs and allow Partners to stand out from the crowd. To find out more visit the new
Google Partners site
Posted by Rich Flanagan, Head of Business Marketing, Google Australia and New Zealand
Updates from ISTE: 4 new tools to help teachers do what they do best
Monday, July 4, 2016
Cross posted from the Google for Education blog
Teachers are great communicators, collaborators, creators and critical thinkers. It takes a teacher to empower students with these skills and create the leaders of the future. As technology becomes an increasingly integral component of our classrooms, the role of teachers becomes even more important.
Today at ISTE, we’re announcing four more ways for these everyday heroes to engage their classes and empower their students using Google tools. Look out for a deeper dive on each of these launches on the blog throughout this week.
Bring curriculum to life: introducing the Expeditions app
Since we launched the beta Expeditions Pioneer Program in September of 2015, more than
one million students
across 11 countries have taken one of our virtual reality trips. Today, we’re making Expeditions available to everyone. To get started, all teachers need to do is download the
onto a set of devices. With more than 200 Expeditions to choose from, students can journey far and wide, learning from immersive new experiences. Our content offerings have also grown to include Expeditions made by established educational content providers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Pearson is beginning work on Expeditions content as well. The app is available today for
and will be available for iPhones and iPads soon.
While Expeditions can be used with many of the devices schools or students already have — either smartphones with Google Cardboard or tablets in 2D full screen mode —
Best Buy Education
will also be making Expeditions kits available for schools to purchase. These kits will contain everything teachers need to bring their classes on amazing Expeditions: a tablet, virtual reality viewers and a router to connect them all. Kits are available for pre-order and will ship in time for back-to-school. We’ll also publish clear specs for partners interested in working with us to create their own kits.
Empower student-driven classrooms: Google Cast for Education
Collaboration is key to student success, but in most classrooms today the biggest screen in the room is out of reach for students. If students want to share their screens with the class, they have to physically connect their devices to the classroom projector. When teachers present, they’re tied to the projector at the front of the room. Educators are eager to overcome this barrier, so much so that wireless screen sharing for schools was one of the top features requested by teachers in 2015.
Today we’re announcing
Google Cast for Education
, a free Chrome app that allows students and teachers to share their screens wirelessly from everywhere in the classroom. Cast for Education carries video and audio across complex school networks, has built-in controls for teachers and works with
so it’s easy to invite your students. And because the app runs on the teacher’s existing computer, it doesn’t require new hardware. Teachers run the Cast for Education app, and students can share their screens with the existing Cast feature in Chrome. Check out the
Cast for Education video
Accelerate the feedback loop: Quizzes in Google Forms
Getting feedback early helps students learn and teachers teach. Starting today,
Quizzes in Google Forms
will allow teachers to auto-grade multiple choice and checkbox questions — so teachers can spend less time grading and more time teaching.
Teachers can also add review materials in the form of explanations, supplemental websites or review videos — so students can get quick, actionable feedback. Plus, teachers can get instant feedback on student progress, so they know which lessons need more explanation and what to teach next. We’ve also added a common request from educators to disallow students from sending themselves a copy of their responses.
Ignite student creativity: creative apps on Chromebooks
We’re on a mission to discover Chromebook tools that foster skills of the future, including problem-solving, digital literacy, leadership and creativity. We listened to teachers in Chromebook classrooms and collaborated with
, and we’re excited to announce a collection of creative apps on Chromebooks that schools can purchase as a bundle.
are creative apps that help students demonstrate their understanding of curriculum through their own unique voice. We’ve worked closely with our partners to offer these apps to schools at a special price when all three apps are purchased together. They may be purchased alongside Chromebooks or on their own. Contact your school’s reseller to learn more.
Students use creative apps at Muller Road Middle School in South Carolina [
watch video here
Posted by Jonathan Rochelle, Director of Product Management, Google for Education & Cyrus Mistry, Lead Product Manager, Devices and Content in Education
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
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