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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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ENGvAUS_ENG_01_140215.pngOP_AUS_01_140215.png

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

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When you last logged into your email, banking or social networking site, how did you know it was the real deal and not a fake site set up to steal your password?

Is this site real or fake? Can you spot the tell-tale signs of a “phishing” attempt?

Many of us know friends and family who have had their online accounts hijacked. But what many people don’t know is how it happens and what you can do to stop criminals in their tracks.

Most hijackers get into accounts through “phishing” - sending emails or text messages which appear to come from a genuine source such as your bank, but are really created to steal your usernames, passwords or credit card details.

Don’t think you would so easily take the bait? Phishing is actually more effective than you might think. According to research from our security engineers, some targeted phishing scams fool up to 45% of their victims, and once hijackers have your information, they can break into your account in as little as 30 minutes.

So, to mark Safer Internet Day today here in New Zealand, we’ve put together this Phishing challenge!

Can you spot the tell-tale signs of a phishing scam? Grab your kids or a friend and take a minute to scroll through the images of common online situations below.



If you’re stuck, here are some quick tips (no cheating now, only read once you’ve completed the challenge!) on what you should have been on the lookout for, and should keep in mind for the future:
  • Check the URL in the address bar. It might look right in the email, but it could take you scam site designed to steal your personal details. Also check for ‘HTTPS’ in the address bar which means the site is secure.
  • Always check the sender’s email address. Does it look right to you? Phishing emails will often contain spelling mistakes and other irregularities.
  • Recognise scare tactics. Genuine sites never use scare tactics to get you to enter your username, password or credit card numbers. This is a red flag that the site may not be genuine.
  • Always check the spelling. Even though phishing can be sophisticated, hijackers are not always great spellers. Typos on a website or email could indicate that they are not the real deal.
If you’ve got a few more minutes, take your Google Account through our refreshed Security Check-Up tool—it’ll only take a minute, and could help you not become one of those friends everyone knows who’s had their account hijacked by phishing.

Posted by Taj Meadows, Policy Communications Manager, Google APAC

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Every year, we reflect on the moments that made us smile from ear to ear, or kept us gripped to our screens, in our annual Year in Search. It was a year in which we were affected by the death of a beloved comedian, and watched world news unfold about an horrific plane crash and a terrifying disease. We were captivated by amazing goals, and had our fun with digital birds, a bucket of ice, and a goat simulator.

Watch our video to rediscover the events, people and topics that defined 2014:


All the world’s a stage
Nothing brings people together like sports, and 2014 had one of the biggest athletic events in recent memory. The World Cup in Brazil had its fair share of unforgettable moments and had people glued to their TVs and mobile devices all summer. From Luis Suarez’s bite heard around the world, to Tim Howard's superman performance vs. Belgium, to Germany’s incredible run to their fourth title, the competition certainly lived up to its reputation and topped the charts. In other sports news, Kiwis were proud of New Zealand’s 45 medals in this year’s Commonwealth Games -- though many people had to ask Google ask “Where is Glasgow”?

Goodbye, genie
“You're only given a little spark of madness, you mustn't lose it.” The passing of beloved comedian and actor Robin Williams shook the world, bringing many people online to search for more information and to remember—and putting Williams in the #2 spot on our New Zealand trends charts. There was also an uptick in searches related to depression and mental health in the days following his death. People revisited his iconic roles in movies like Aladdin and Dead Poets Society and found solace in gifs and memes that captured Williams’ spirit.

Into the unknown
How could a plane vanish? In the wake of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, that question propelled the mystery to the global trends charts. As the investigation continued on the ground and online, people stayed hopeful for a happy ending despite the dim odds; searches for “mh370 found” outnumbered searches for “mh370 lost.”

Closer to home, we remembered and reflected on the life of Charlotte Dawson. We also searched for more information about the global Ebola crisis, Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, and the emergence of the wildly successful (or annoying?) mobile game Flappy Bird. For the tech savvy, the iPhone 6 was a popular gadget this year, and the rebranding of Telecom New Zealand to Spark looks to have paid off.

Here’s the full list of our top 10 trending searches in New Zealand:
Trending Searches
1. FIFA World Cup
2. Robin Williams
3. Commonwealth Games
4. Malaysia Airlines
5. iPhone 6
6. Jennifer Lawrence
7. Charlotte Dawson
8. Flappy Bird
9. Spark
10. Ebola

You can find more on these top searches and more at google.co.nz/2014

In other news...
Kiwis were captivated by important global events ranging from Cyclone Ita to Scottish Independence, while also being distracted by news of a good-looking young man called Alex From Target. We looked to the stars to tune in to the Lunar Eclipse and focused our attentions back closer to home to monitor the development of Cyclone Lusi.

To better understand our world, we asked questions like What is ALS, Where is Sochi and wanted to learn how to draw (and even how to dream!). We also quickly searched for new digital lingo like Doge, Neknominate, Goat Simulator and Ello to get up to speed (just in case our friends asked us about these new crazes)...

Explore the stories from the year, one chapter at a time
On our Year in Search site you can take an in-depth look at the stories that made 2014 unforgettable. From the rise of the selfie, to understanding if we search for “how” more than “why,” each chapter shares a glimpse into the people and events that drove this year forward.
We've also made it easier to find the trending topics of the year directly from Google Search. For the first time, a simple search for [google 2014] will give you a peek at what made the top trending lists from around the world. And you can follow more insights from the year with #YearInSearch. So take a moment to appreciate what this year had to offer. It’ll be 2015 before you know it.


Trending Searches
1. FIFA World Cup
2. Robin Williams
3. Commonwealth Games
4. Malaysia Airlines
5. iPhone 6
6. Jennifer Lawrence
7. Charlotte Dawson
8. Flappy Bird
9. Spark
10. Ebola
How to… (Most Searched)
1. Draw
2. Meditate
3. Crochet
4. Screenshot
5. Kiss
6. Pronounce
7. Sing
8. Twerk
9. Knit
10. Dream
What is… ? (Most Searched)
1. Ebola
2. Love
3. Gluten
4. ALS
5. Sustainability
6. Illuminati
7. Science
8. Paleo
9. Tahini
10. Bipolar
News items of 2014 (Trending)
1. Malaysian Airlines Crash
2. Cyclone Lusi
3. Scottish Independence
4. Alex From Target
5. Ukraine News
6. Robin Williams Death
7. Ebola Outbreak
8. Wellington Earthquake
9. Cyclone Ita
10. Lunar Eclipse
Kiwis (Trending)
1. Lorde
2. Aaron Smith
3. Rachel Smalley
4. Lisa Lewis
5. Mark Hunt
6. Joseph Parker
7. Benji Marshall
8. Chris Cairns
9. Mona Dotcom
10. Stephen Donald
Global People (Trending)
1. Jennifer Lawrence
2. Michael Schumacher
3. Schapelle Corby
4. Iggy Azalea
5. Renee Zellweger
6. Todd Carney
7. Margot Robbie
8. Oscar Pistorius
9. Ellen Page
10. Rolf Harris
Recipes (Most Searched)
1. Pancake Recipe
2. Banana Cake Recipe
3. Chicken Recipes
4. Cupcake Recipe
5. Mince Recipes
6. Chocolate Cake Recipe
7. Lasagna Recipe
8. Brownie Recipe
9. Slow Cooker Recipes
10. Cheesecake Recipes
Where is… ? (Most Searched)
1. Gallipoli
2. Glasgow
3. Sochi
4. Tibet
5. Amsterdam
6. Nepal
7. Kurdistan
8. Kawau
9. Balclutha
10. Budapest
Digital / Internet Lingo (Trending)
1. Tinder
2. Goat Simulator
3. Bitcoin
4. Doge
5. Ello
6. Neknominate
7. Selfie
8. Pixelmon
9. Click Madness
10. Vines
Trending Searches: What was hot in 2014? The "trending" queries are the searches that had the highest spike in traffic over a sustained period in 2014 as compared to 2013.
Most Searched: What topped Google’s charts? The "most searched" queries are the most popular terms for 2014—ranked in order by volume of searches.

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Whether it’s Lorde’s latest hit or your favourite Lord of the Rings film, Kiwi entertainment lovers can now use a Chromecast to bring their favourite content from a phone, tablet or laptop to the biggest screen in the home — the TV. A streaming media device that plugs into any HDTV in your house, Chromecast makes it easy to watch holiday flicks with the kids or the latest in the Batman series on the big screen.

Fast and easy to setup, Chromecast tucks neatly away behind your TV and works with Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and Chrome OS devices. It taps into the same experience of using apps and browsing the web that you’re familiar with on your smartphone, tablet, and laptop, so there’s nothing new to learn. You can cast from your Chrome browser, phone or tablet by simply opening a supported app or the browser and pressing the cast icon.
With Chromecast, your phone, tablet or laptop acts like a remote, but unlike other streaming solutions, you can still multitask. This means you can continue to laugh at Mutant Giant Spider Dog on the TV and send an email to your friends to tell them how great it is at the same time.

Chromecast in New Zealand supports YouTube, Google Play Music and Google Play Movies as well as apps from local partners Quickflix and Pandora. With the the open software development kit (SDK), any developer can integrate their app or website with Cast to make their content available and we’re looking forward to seeing the range of great TV shows, movies, music and more from local content creators which will soon be available for Kiwi audiences.

You can pick up a Chromecast from the Google Play Store and in JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smiths, The Warehouse or Noel Leeming.

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2014 was chock full of YouTube moments that got everybody talking. We were pranked by a spider dog in Poland, learned about airline safety in paradise, and watched total strangers share a first kiss. We laughed, we cried, and yes, we sang along to “Let It Go” roughly a bajillion times.

Here are the top trending videos for 2014 in New Zealand, based on views, shares, comments, likes and more. This year, the list represents the amazing variety of creativity brought to YouTube each day, including social commentaries, pranks, advertisements, and thrilling moments from traditional media and big names on YouTube. Collectively these 10 videos have hundreds of millions of views and more than 16 million cumulative subscribers who regularly return to check out their latest vids.

  1. FROZEN - Let It Go Sing-along | Official Disney HD
  2. Bars & Melody - Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer act | Britain's Got Talent 2014
  3. Wheels On The Bus | Plus Lots More Nursery Rhymes | 54 Minutes Compilation from LittleBabyBum!
  4. Look Up
  5. Mutant Giant Spider Dog (SA Wardega)
  6. Safety in Paradise #airnzsafetyvideo
  7. FIRST KISS
  8. Giant Princess Egg Kinder Surprise Disney Frozen 3D Olaf Elsa Anna Giant Minnie Mickey Play Doh Eggs
  9. BEST CLASSROOM APRIL FOOLS PRANK EVER
  10. Lip Sync Battle with Emma Stone

When it comes to music in New Zealand this year, it was all about the bass. 2014 was a year of powerful female artists, as you can see from our list of top music videos where women artists took seven of the top 10 spots. The top 10 music videos were collectively played billions of times.

  1. Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass
  2. Iggy Azalea - Fancy (Explicit) ft. Charli XCX
  3. Taylor Swift - Shake It Off
  4. Nicki Minaj - Anaconda
  5. Katy Perry - Dark Horse (Official) ft. Juicy J
  6. Chris Brown - Loyal (Explicit) ft. Lil Wayne, Tyga
  7. Sia - Chandelier (Official Video)
  8. Ariana Grande - Problem ft. Iggy Azalea
  9. Jason Derulo - "Wiggle" feat. Snoop Dogg (Official HD Music Video)
  10. Sam Smith - Stay With Me

Check out our YouTube Rewind channel for more top videos of the year from around the world, and our main YouTube channel to see a mashup of the top branded videos of the year and a list of the top ads YouTube for the year. Be sure to visit google.com/yearinsearch and check back at our blog next week for Google's annual look at the people, places and events that captured the world's attention.

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Dunedin was today announced as the winner of Chorus’ Gigatown competition, edging out 49 other towns for the chance to become the first in New Zealand to get access to gigabit speed fibre internet. This means that in addition to having the world's steepest residential street, Dunedin will also have New Zealand’s fastest internet: ten times the speed of the fastest fibre broadband currently available.




The competition showed just how popular fast internet is among Kiwis. In fact, if the 132,780 people who signed up to support Gigatown all lived in one place, it would be New Zealand’s 4th largest city, bigger than Hamilton.

Faster internet delivers benefits well beyond better surfing, smoother video and less buffering. It helps make education more fun, interactive and engaging. Students can look forward to taking online classes, connecting with students across the globe or tuning in live to lectures.

Faster internet is also set to become a driving force behind the medical and healthcare applications of the future. Being able to see a doctor remotely, for example, can reduce the need for hospital visits for children with serious health conditions, the elderly and patients with mobility challenges.

And it’s great for small business in New Zealand, helping them create virtual shopfronts to deliver Kiwi products to customers locally - and to export to the world.

It’s great to see people around the country making the most the net. For the lucky residents of Dunedin in particular, it looks like the benefits of faster internet and being connected are set to deliver. Giga time.

Posted by Ross Young, Public Policy Manager, New Zealand

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In time for the epic conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy we’ve updated the Chrome Experiment, “A Journey Through Middle-earth.” Whether you’re a hobbit, wizard or dwarf (oh yeah, humans too) you can now relive all of the epic Middle-earth adventures, from Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to Bilbo’s final battle in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in theaters December 17th. This year's Chrome Experiment was developed by North Kingdom in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM).

Your adventure starts on a beautiful, interactive map of Middle-earth where you can explore all 27 locations from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies. This year’s map is rich with 3D animations highlighting the paths of eight key characters, including Bilbo, Gandalf and Bard.

Completely new for this year’s version is a peer-to-peer battle game where you can challenge your friends to a test of skill. The peer-to-peer gameplay experience was built primarily using the latest web technologies, including WebRTC and WebGL. It’s touch optimized for laptops, phones and tablets, bringing you a stunning interactive experience across all your devices.



Just go to goo.gl/TheHobbit on your laptop, phone or tablet to check out the latest Chrome Experiment, “A Journey through Middle-earth.”

And for those of you who are more interested in geeking out about web development than exploring Middle-earth, check out our technical case study on HTML5Rocks.com.

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What do The Room, The Amazing Spider-man 2, and Six60’s album all have in common?
Kiwis can now use Google Play gift cards to purchase all of them and much more entertainment.

You can find NZD $20, $30, $50 Google Play gift cards at JB HiFi, The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, and Countdown stores. They will make great birthday or Christmas gifts to let the ones you love purchase their favourite songs, movies, books, apps, games, and magazines as well as in-app goods.

You find stores to buy cards here and can redeem gift cards cards here.

Posted by Shane Treeves, Consumer Communications, Google New Zealand

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Cross-posted from the Google for Work blog. Today’s guest blogger is James Stuart, Office Manager for Blue Carrot Catering, a catering company in Wellington, New Zealand.

One of the key ingredients to a successful event is that your food and drink are served on time (nothing fizzles out a cocktail party like an empty glass!). At Blue Carrot Catering, our job is to not only make mouth-watering food for all occasions, but to make sure that it gets to people where and when they need it. We’re one of the biggest corporate catering companies in Wellington, making 60 deliveries each day to everything from weddings and birthday parties (and occasionally serving canapes at the zoo). Getting all these tasty treats laid out on trestle tables and perched on cake stands around the city not takes both a team expert chefs and a team of Greg Murphys.

Until recently though, we relied on a manual, time-consuming and inefficient means of getting food delivered to the right place at the right time. We used to give each of our drivers a piece of paper at the beginning of the day with a schedule and list of drop-off locations. This became quite a hassle if anything changed along the way. If a client’s address was different to the one listed, the delivery time or order changed, or the driver got stuck in traffic, we’d have to jump on the blower and let the customer or driver know what was going on. It was inefficient, to say the least, and made it hard to give customers exact arrival times for their food.

To help us get a more accurate picture of where drivers are and make it easier to update information about deliveries on the fly, we started using Google Maps Coordinate. Maps Coordinate helps us manage our drivers and the way we schedule deliveries by plotting drivers on a map and making it easy to update jobs and see driver locations in real time.

Now, instead of having a piece of paper with a list of the day’s deliveries, drivers have everything they need on their handset — from the route for their deliveries plotted out on a map, to a list of the day’s jobs. If a delivery address changes we can update drivers automatically, and if a customer calls to see where their delivery is, we can jump online and see exactly where it is and let them know if the driver is two blocks down the road, or two kilometres away stuck in a traffic jam. Maps Coordinate also integrates with our email and calendar system, Google Apps so we can plan and manage things like menus and rosters in a more integrated way.



At Blue Carrot we pride ourselves on attention to detail and this includes being able to offer punctual and reliable deliveries. Since making the move to Maps Coordinate over a year ago we’ve not only been able to give our customers more accurate estimations of our delivery times, but we’ve been able to track the status of all our orders and benchmark our delivery times so our overall service is now better.

Posted by James Stuart, Office Manager, Blue Carrot Catering