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When we discover something amazing – whether it’s a new coffee shop or a tool that improves the way we work – we want to share it with people we know, so they can also benefit. Many of the millions of Google Apps customers around the world learned about tools like Hangouts, Drive and Gmail for business from their customers, friends and networks.



To make it easier for you to recommend Google Apps, today we’re launching the Google Apps Referral Program in New Zealand. The referral program makes it easy to share Google Apps with your network and show them how they can use these tools at work. It's open to anyone in New Zealand, and you’ll earn NZ$20 for each new Google Apps user you refer.

Good things are better shared. Find out more here.

Posted by Kevin Ackhurst, Asia-Pacifc Director, Google for Work

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It’s very easy for adults to sit around talking about how kids *should* act online - without knowing the reality of what it’s like to be growing up in the internet age. That’s why our Web Rangers program encourages Kiwi teens to develop their own online safety campaigns, in their own words.

And now Web Rangers is back for a second year, in conjunction with our partners at NetSafe and Sticks ‘n Stones. We’ve also brought on board two of New Zealand’s social media stars - Liam WaveRider with his 2 million Instagram followers, and Caito Potatoe who has 30,000 YouTube subscribers - to help inspire teens about why online safety and digital citizenship are such important topics.



So what exactly is Web Rangers all about? It’s a programme designed to help teenagers create campaigns to encourage other teens to stay safe online. This covers a wide range of online issues including giving away too much information, being wary of privacy concerns, and staying safe from cyber bullies.

Participants will kick off the development of their campaigns at special Web Rangers workshops. Three workshops will be held around New Zealand, so more than 300 teenagers will be able to participate in person. Caito Potatoe and Liam Waverider will attend the workshops, which will be led by Billy T. winner and Best Bits star, Rhys Mathewson. The workshops will also involve training from experts in marketing, social media and online safety.

The Web Rangers will then be given six weeks to produce their campaigns, which can take any form including YouTube videos or other social media content, billboards, and in-school events. Our judging panel will then decide which top two internet safety campaigns will fly to Sydney to present their campaign to Google executives.

Last year’s Web Rangers set the bar high with social experiments on Auckland’s Queen Street, animated videos set to song, and an online compliment generator taking out the top prizes. Auckland’s winning video by Hayley Smith was viewed over 120,000 times on YouTube.

We’re encouraging as many 14 to 17 year­ olds to take part as we can, so if you know anyone interested, send them to http://www.netsafe.org.nz/webrangers.

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We’re inviting school students in years 1-10 to sharpen their pencils, use their imagination and reveal their artistic talent to create a Google doodle depicting their vision for “If I could travel back in time I would...” The winning doodle will be shown on the Google homepage for a day for millions of Kiwis to enjoy. From today, school students can register to take part.
Since 1998, when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate they were going to the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, USA, Google’s team of doodlers have been creating doodles to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous writers, scientists and explorers.

This year, we’ve lined up a panel of judges who are incredibly passionate about children’s art and education. Judging the initiative will be iconic painter Liam Barr and back for another round of doodlin’ fun is Voyager Maritime Museum's Karen Walters. These judges will select finalists across four age groups: Grades 1-3; Grade 4-6; Grades 7-8, and Grades 9-10, whose doodles will be shown online.

We’ll ask the public to vote on their favourite doodles from each age group and the winners will receive fantastic technology prizes for themselves and their schools, including laptops, tablets and $10,000 worth of technology for the National winner’s school. A Google doodler will select the overall national winner to be shown on the homepage for millions of New Zealanders to enjoy!

During June, we’re sending out information packs to every New Zealand school. To take part, please register your school by 20 July, and all doodles must be submitted by 21 August. Please visit the Doodle 4 Google website for a full listing of all the contest rules and information.

We’re so excited and can’t wait to see the doodles!

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[Editor's note: this is a cross-post from the Official Google Blog].

We've all been there at some point or another…
You just lost your phone and want to wipe your personal information.
You attend an event, and you want to share your photos with some people (but not everyone).
You hesitate as you download another app that's asking for a lot of information.

Everyday, we make choices that affect our privacy and security online. Most people, however, don’t feel they have the right level of control to make these important decisions. According to a recent Pew study, 93 percent of people think it’s important to control access to their personal information, and 90 percent care about the type of information that’s collected about them. But only 9 percent feel they have “a lot” of control over it. We want to change that.

Google builds simple, powerful privacy and security tools that keep your information safe and put you in control of it. At Google I/O, we announced that people will have more control over the information they provide to mobile apps in the M release, the next version of Android. Today, we’re rolling out two significant improvements to our privacy and security tools: a new hub for managing your Google settings called My Account, and a new site that answers important questions about privacy and security on Google.

Privacy and security controls, all in one place
Privacy and security are two sides of the same coin: if your information isn’t secure, it certainly can’t be private. My Account gives you quick access to the settings and tools that help you safeguard your data, protect your privacy, and decide what information is used to make Google services work better for you. It also provides more context to help you understand your options and make the right choices for you.

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Here are some of the things you can do with My Account:
  • Take the Privacy Checkup and Security Checkup, our simple, step-by-step guides through your most important privacy and security settings.
  • Manage the information that can be used from Search, Maps, YouTube and other products to enhance your experience on Google. For example, you can turn on and off settings such as Web and App Activity, which gets you more relevant, faster search results, or Location History, which enables Google Maps and Now to give you tips for a faster commute back home.
  • Use the Ads Settings tool to control ads based on your interests and the searches you’ve done.
  • Control which apps and sites are connected to your account.

We built My Account to be a resource for everyone, even if you don't have a Google Account. Check out your controls at myaccount.google.com.

Answering your questions about privacy and security

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We listen to feedback from people around the world to better understand their concerns about privacy and security. In addition to My Account, we want to help people find answers to common questions on these topics, such as: "What data does Google collect? What does Google do with the data it collects? What tools do I have to control my Google experience?"

Our new site, privacy.google.com, candidly answers these questions, and more. We also explain how we show relevant ads without selling your personal information, how encryption and spam filtering help keep your data safe, and how your information helps customize your experience on Google. Visit this site often to learn about new tools, features, and information that can help you make the choices that are right for you.

When you trust your personal information with us, you should expect powerful controls that keep it safe and private as well as useful answers to your questions. Today’s launches are just the latest in our ongoing efforts to protect you and your information on Google. There’s much more to come, and we look forward to your feedback.

Posted by Guemmy Kim, Product Manager, Account Controls and Settings.

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[Cross-posted from the Android Official Blog]

Whether you’re trying to entertain a toddler on a crowded plane, encourage your child’s newfound love of reading or simply find a movie for the whole family to enjoy, finding the right content should be just a tap or two away. Parents want the best for their kids, but when it comes to digital entertainment, it can be difficult to know what to look for.

Starting today, we’re making it easier to find great family-friendly content on Google Play. Parents can now find family destinations across the Play store, with new features for browsing by age and interests. We’re also providing more useful information about apps and content on Google Play and improved tools so you can decide what’s right for your family.

Follow the family star
On the Apps and Games homepages, you can now tap the Family button to browse our new family-friendly experiences. Whether your child is still learning shapes and colors, or is getting into more scrapes than Judy Moody, you’ll find inspiring ideas for every age. What’s more -- top charts, recommendations, and even searches from family homepages are filtered to our family-friendly catalog.
Play with your favorite characters
For many of us, childhood memories include at least one favorite character: a plucky personality from a book, the superhero from a movie or a beloved stuffed animal. Characters are just as relevant today, and Lego, Barbie and other kids and family brands are some of the most popular searches on Google Play. To help you browse Google Play content around a favorite character, we’ve created special pages featuring dozens of top characters from across the globe, like PBS KIDS, Pororo and Peppa Pig. From the Play store app, take a tour through all of our popular characters to find apps and games from your family’s favorites.
Empowering parents
When it comes to finding content on Google Play, our goal is to empower parents by giving them practical information and better tools for making decisions. Our new family star badges convey the specific age range that an app, movie or book was designed for. On our app detail pages, you’ll now find a new label telling you when family apps are ad-supported and new locally relevant content maturity ratings. Finally, Google Play has updated parental controls, so you can restrict downloads, purchases or streaming of mature content.
We’re rolling out the new family discovery experience over the next couple weeks, and many of the best-known brands in family entertainment are celebrating along with us. Check out our featured collection of new and exclusive content, including Legacy Games’ Crayola DJ, TabTale’s Cutie Patootie, Speakaboos’ Thomas’s Musical Day for Percy, The Jim Henson Company’s Doozers-Play Along Stories, and more -- just a tap or two away.

Posted by Eunice Kim, on behalf of the Google Play team

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This morning, more than 6,000 developers descended on San Francisco’s Moscone Center to burn through 1,500 gallons of coffee and join millions of others via live stream for our 8th annual Google I/O—a time to fill people in on what we’ve been building recently, and how we’re tackling the future.

Android growth and momentum
In just a short number of years, mobile technology has completely changed the way we find information and entertainment, communicate with friends and family, and get things done. Having a supercomputer in our pocket is now second nature; today more searches on Google come from mobile than from desktop computers, and by some estimates there are more mobile devices than there are people on the planet. For evidence of the mobile revolution, look no further than the growth of Android. There are now more than one billion Android users worldwide—a long way from when we launched the first Android phone back in 2008. And there are 4,000 unique Android devices on the market, from more than 400 manufacturers and over 500 carriers.

The devices themselves have changed a lot, too. In today’s multi-screen world, you can now use Android on your phone, your tablet, your wrist, in your car and in your living room, and move seamlessly between each. Many of these new form factors have arrived just in the last year. You can now choose from seven different Android Wear watches, not to mention bands, styles, and more than 1,500 watch faces built by developers.

By the end of this year, 35 car models will offer Android Auto, helping you access Search, Maps, music and other information through your car’s controls. And the first sets running Android TV have now arrived.

With all of these new places and devices for people to use Android, developers have even more opportunities to build the apps that people use for education and engagement and entertainment. So today we talked about the new tools and features we’re giving them to build more powerful experiences on the Android platform.


M is for more performance and an improved user experience
Android M is the most powerful Android release yet, with hundreds of improvements made to the platform. Among the highlights, we’ve improved battery life and streamlined permissions for apps to make it easier for you to decide what information the apps on your phone can use. We previewed Android Pay, which lets you pay for things with your phone, without even opening an app. And we’re making it much easier to find information in apps, as well as making some important updates to Google Now (more on that below!).

Organizing the world’s information, better
Your mobile phone packs a lot of information, but it’s not always easy to find that nugget of information when you need it—as you know if you’ve ever tried to navigate your email, organize hundreds of photos across devices, or search for restaurant reviews when you’re chatting about dinner plans with friends. Luckily, finding and organizing information is something Google is good at (some might even call it our mission).

So as part of M release, we’re expanding Google Now to give people on-demand assistance in the moment they need it—like seeing if there’s an open table at a new restaurant or when and where “Pitch Perfect 2” is playing—no matter where you are on your phone. We’re also making it much easier to find new apps and in-app content—which is good news for both users and developers.

We’ve also put our years of research into machine learning to work in other ways, making Search more useful and your inbox more insightful. And now it’s also helping you make sense of all your photos. Today we launched a new Photos app that gives you a single place for all your photos and videos, and helps you sort through them more quickly, bring them to life in cool new ways, and share them however you choose.

A new platform for the Internet of Things
We’re surrounded by devices, but they often exist independently of each other. Our day-to-day lives will be much simpler when these technologies can talk to each other—if our recipe app, for example, could communicate with our smart oven to turn the temperature to exactly the right setting. ​Or outside the home—from transportation systems that notify commuters of schedule changes, to farms where harvesters and irrigation systems are controlled from phones. ​

But many roadblocks remain—the user experience is inconsistent and confusing, manufacturers often redo their work for every device, devices don’t interoperate, and developers often have no way to create great experiences across devices.

Enter Project Brillo, a new platform derived from Android that lets developers and manufacturers build connected devices. As part of Brillo, we’re introducing a communications protocol (Weave) developed in partnership with Nest, a set of developer APIs, a core set of schemas and a certification program to ensure device and app interoperability.

Although it will launch later this year, we previewed Brillo today because we’re committed to fostering a vibrant ecosystem in which we all work together to move the industry forward.

New mobile experiences
Mobile has evolved so much in the past few years, with connected screens for different experiences depending on your needs. But we are just at the start of what will prove to be a much more immersive mobile experience. At last year’s I/O we introduced Cardboard, which lets you turn your phone into a virtual reality experience. Now there are more than 500 Cardboard apps for film, games, tours and learning, and more than 1 million Cardboard viewers have been shipped. Today we announced iOS support for developers and debuted Google Expeditions, which lets students take virtual trips with Cardboard to places like the moon and underwater. We also shared a preview of Jump, which lets you capture the world in video that you can step inside of.

The next billion users
The first billion users of the Internet came online through desktops. The next billion are taking a different path to computing—coming online through mobile and smartphones—and present a unique set of opportunities and challenges. We’re working hard on ensure these people have a great experience across our products.

In addition to making devices more affordable with Chromebooks and Android One (now in seven countries), we’re making changes to ensure that our software works even where there aren’t great Internet connections. We’ve launched a streamlined version of our Search results page in 13 countries, and 73 million people now use data saver mode in Chrome to browse the web more efficiently. Finally, we previewed the new offline maps—that’s right, and it’s as simple as it sounds—maps that you can take offline, even with turn-by-turn directions.

Solving complex problems for a mobile world
From our earliest days in Search, our aim has always been to build products for everyone, applying unique technical insight to tackle big problems. That’s just as relevant in today’s mobile-centric world—from finding the information scattered across apps, to helping someone organize and share the photos of their kids; from taking people on a virtual trip to the Pyramids to helping the next billion people come online.

And by providing a platform on top of which any developer can innovate, we can reach people around the world and put the power of the Internet in their hands—no matter what device they use, where they live or who they are.

So here’s to the mobile revolution. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

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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 New Zealand has doubled in the last month, as New Zealanders 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, Chunuk Bair, ANZAC Ceremonial Area and a number of other historic sites.

Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial
The Nek Cemetery
Helles Memorial
Hill 60
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 Captain Hore, and paintings by Australian artist George Lambert.
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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, and 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 Street View and publish a new image and exhibit archive on the Google Cultural Institute and we’re grateful for their help.

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As we flagged in February, 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 won’t 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. The vast majority of Kiwis 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. Research shows 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.



The good news is that creating a mobile-friendly site doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming: it 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.

Webmasters can check if their site is mobile-friendly by examining individual pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test 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. Kiwis deserve to get the best out of the internet, however they access it. These changes are designed to help with this.

Posted by Lisa Bora, Head of Mobile, Google Australia/New Zealand

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The 2015 Google Science Fair starts today! To learn more about entry details, prizes and more tune in to rewatch today’s Hangout and follow along on Google+

Science is about observing and experimenting. It’s about exploring unanswered questions, solving problems through curiosity, learning as you go and always trying again.

That’s the spirit behind the fifth annual Google Science Fair, kicking off today. Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, we’re calling on all young researchers, explorers, builders, technologists and inventors to try something ambitious. Something imaginative, or maybe even unimaginable. Something that might just change the world around us.

From now through May 18, students around the world ages 13-18 can submit projects online across all scientific fields, from biology to computer science to anthropology and everything in between. Prizes include $100,000 in scholarships and classroom grants from Scientific American and Google, a National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos, an opportunity to visit LEGO designers at their Denmark headquarters, and the chance to tour Virgin Galactic’s new spaceship at their Mojave Air and Spaceport. This year we’re also introducing an award to recognize an Inspiring Educator, as well as a Community Impact Award honoring a project that addresses an environmental or health challenge.

It’s only through trying something that we can get somewhere. Flashlights required batteries, then Ann Makosinski tried the heat of her hand. His grandfather would wander out of bed at night, until Kenneth Shinozuka tried a wearable sensor. The power supply was constantly unstable in her Indian village, so Harine Ravichandran tried to build a different kind of regulator. Previous Science Fair winners have blown us away with their ideas. Now it’s your turn.

Big ideas that have the potential to make a big impact often start from something small. Something that makes you curious. Something you love, you’re good at, and want to try.

So...what will you try?

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google for Education Team

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Cricket fans rejoice: the Cricket World Cup is here again! Can the all-round prowess of the South Africans put aside the “chokers” tag? Or will the Lankan lions roar again after almost two decades? While Indian fans will keenly follow the teams’ attempts to bring the cup back home, here in New Zealand we’ll be keen to exploit the home oval advantage.

Here are a bunch of fun ways to make sure you’re up to date with the latest cricket info.

Scores faster than Lee or Akhtar

Over the next two months, a simple Google search for [cricket] will be your quickest source for the latest scores and team schedules. You can stay tuned to the action anytime, anywhere - use Voice Search on your phone to ask “what’s happening in the cricket” to get today’s match results and find out what’s coming up.


You can also stay updated on your favourite teams thanks to Now cards in the Google App so you don’t even have to search. Download the ESPN Cricinfo app onto your phone, and you’ll start seeing Cricinfo’s Now cards pop up in the Google app.

Take the tournament’s pulse with Google Trends
Millions of fans will be searching on Google for noteworthy moments of the tournament, from the Duckworth-Lewis method to Virat Kohli’s hairstyle. Get into the conversation with other cricket fans with Google Trends throughout the tournament—follow us on Google Australia NZ Twitter and Google+ Page, or on Google India’s Google+ and Twitter accounts. You can also keep up to date with all the latest Trends here.

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Real fans paint their face
Even if you can’t watch the matches live, you can still show your support by painting your face like a true cricket fan — without ever getting your hands dirty. Take a photo of yourself and up to four friends who’d like their faces painted and upload it to Google+ with hashtag #PaintIndia, #PaintSriLanka, or #PaintAustralia...you get the idea (see details at g.co/CricketFacePaint). Refresh the page to see the effect!

You can add the hashtag #CWC15Fans and publicly share your photo on Google+ for a chance to be shown on ICC’s official website.

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And last but not the least, keep an eye out for special Doodles during the tournament on the Google India homepage, as well as Hangouts on Air with cricketers and commentators.

Have a blast following great cricket, and may the best team win!

Posted by Shane Treeves, Consumer Communications, Google Australia and New Zealand