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Each election, more and more New Zealanders use the web to search for news and information about the big political issues, parties and leaders. This year, to make it easier to find political information from across the web, we’ve launched a dedicated YouTube channel which brings together video content from official party channels, all in one place.

Video will be updated daily as the campaign continues to progress. Check it out now at www.youtube.com/newzealandvotes.

We’ve also had a look at what voters around the country are searching for on Google. We compared searches for key issues, and the results revealed that:
  • Health was by far the most searched-for issue since the beginning of 2014
  • Transport and education came second and third, followed by employment
  • Dunedin had the highest search interest in health
  • Invercargill had the highest interest in the environment
  • Auckland had the highest interest in child poverty

Posted by Ross Young, New Zealand Public Policy Manager

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Cross-posted from the Google for Work blog

Work is where you spend a lot of your time. So we’ve always believed that it should be meaningful—not a daily grind, done in isolation on an old desktop in a sea of cubicles. Even more, we believe that technology should make work better. It should make it easy not just to get things done, but to get things done with people who inspire you, at the times and in the places where you work best, and in a way that lets you make an impact, no matter what your job is, or what industry you’re in.

Ten years ago, we started bringing Google’s consumer technology—along with the features, controls and services businesses need—to work. We first brought search and then Gmail to businesses. Today we also offer the scale and reliability of Google’s infrastructure to developers with Google Maps and Google Cloud Platform, and have extended into hardware with Android and Chromebooks. Along the way we’ve invested in what matters to our customers and partners—security, transparency, compliance and customer support. And our team, the breadth of our offerings, and our commitment to business customers have all increased substantially.




Work today is very different from 10 years ago. Cloud computing, once a new idea, is abundantly available, and collaboration is possible across offices, cities, countries and continents. Ideas can go from prototype to development to launch in a matter of days. Working from a computer, tablet or phone is no longer just a trend—it’s a reality. And millions of companies, large and small, have turned to Google’s products to help them launch, build and transform their businesses, and help their employees work the way they live. In other words, work is already better than it used to be.

But technology for the workplace isn't just about a better way of doing business. It's about empowering anyone, whether they're a developer with an idea in their basement or a baker with a better cupcake or a company with thousands of employees, to have an impact. We never set out to create a traditional “enterprise” business—we wanted to create a new way of doing work. So the time has come for our name to catch up with our ambition. As of today, what was called Google Enterprise is now, simply, Google for Work. When we use the tools that make our lives easier—Google Apps, Maps, Search, Chrome, Android, Cloud Platform and more—work gets better. And that’s what we’re working on—the best of Google, now for work.

Posted by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman

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For most Kiwi charities, the web is becoming a vital platform for improving visibility, raising awareness, and connecting with donors and volunteers. The big challenge, though, is how to make the most of this technology when there are so many competing demands for funding and resources.

That’s why we’re so pleased to be making Google for Nonprofits available here in New Zealand, in partnership with Tech Soup NZ. As we announced last night in Auckland at an event at the Mental Health Foundation, eligible community and voluntary organisations in NZ will now have free access to online marketing and technology from Google worth more than $120,000 each a year.


What’s in the package? Eligible charities will receive:

  • Up to USD $10,000 of Google AdWords each month, so they can get their site in front of people who are searching for services like theirs.
  • Free use of Google Apps, so they can run their email and important documents in the cloud and work collaboratively on documents while dramatically reducing IT costs
  • Google Earth Outreach, a free license for the pro version of Google Earth so they can visualize their data in map version online
  • YouTube for Nonprofits, so they can make great campaigns that catch the eye of donors and supporters


We want Kiwi charities to be as connected and collaborative as possible, so they can continue to do their great work changing the world. With Google for Nonprofits, they can have the same web tools as much larger, better resourced organisations, so they can do their great work more easily.

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Three months ago, NetSafe and Google invited Kiwi teenagers to become New Zealand’s first ever Web Rangers. Since then, we’ve held workshops in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, where teens learned about safer and smarter Internet use, and how to spread the word creatively on the Internet.

We received close to 50 campaign submissions from across the country — all of them involving lots of effort and many amazing ideas. We’re inspired by the way teens manage their lives online, and how they’re sharing these messages with their friends and communities.

We’re now pleased to announce our winners from each city, including runners-up. They’ve won some fantastic prizes, including a trip to Sydney to present their campaigns to the team at Google ANZ HQ.

Auckland: Hayley Smith’s Social Experiment - Queen St, Auckland (Anonymous Voice): Hayley came up with the idea of setting up a “social experiment” to illustrate how people might react to having hurtful comments yelled at them on a busy Auckland street. In just two weeks, the video gained over 70,000 views on YouTube. Hayley is a student of Auckland’s Te Kura.


Christchurch: Tip Varnakomala’s Compliment generator and website - Project Positive:
Tip became a Web Ranger after becoming fed up with the negative comments and behaviour on social media. He says he and his friends have experienced insults and bullying behaviour online. Tip decided to build a “compliment machine”, using the programming language javascript, to counter the lack of positive comments online. Tip a student of Burnside High School.


Wellington: Angus Slade’s Animation and song - If Life Was Like The Web. 
Reflecting on his personal experience with bullying in the classroom, Angus decided to enter the Web Rangers campaign in a bid to reach out to other victims. Not a fan of “serious” messages, Angus spent more than 100 hours drawing, learning animation and producing a humourous song. Angus is home-schooled.


We’re incredibly proud of all the campaigns everyone submitted and recognise the hard work that went into each one. Creating a safer web for teens is important and we look forward to seeing the impact of your campaigns within your communities.

Runners-up


To find more about Web Rangers NZ and the winning campaigns, visit netsafe.org.nz/webrangers and you can keep up to date with all the campaigns (or if you’re interested in becoming a Web Ranger yourself) over on our Google+ and Facebook pages.

Posted by Sean Lyons, Chief Technology Officer, NetSafe

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Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog.

The workplace is full of files that capture your best ideas or your team’s most productive collaborations. But those files aren’t useful if you’re unable to access or share them effectively. That’s why, just two years ago, we introduced Google Drive. Today more than 190 million people actively use it at home, school and work. Drive keeps all your work safe, and makes it available everywhere and easy to share. Companies around the world like Crate & Barrel, Seagate, Tory Burch, HP and Jaguar Land Rover rely on Drive to work faster and collaborate better with their coworkers and customers.

But we’ve also heard from businesses that they want more control and security, visibility into how files are shared, and a product that will grow with them. So we’ve been working to make Drive even better for business, and today at Google I/O we announced Google Drive for Work — a new premium offering for businesses that includes unlimited storage, advanced audit reporting and new security controls for $10/user/month.



More control, more visibility 
Google Drive for Work combines the familiar storage, sync and share experience of Google Drive with new admin controls, advanced file audit reporting and eDiscovery services. New fine-grained controls let admins customize the Drive experience, such as which employees can install the desktop sync client. With the new audit view you can see activity like moving, deleting or sharing a file within or outside the company, and an audit API will also be available for developers. Google Apps Vault, our solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, is also included with Drive for Work, expanding to cover all content stored in Drive, including Docs, Sheets and Slides, as well as any other file type.




More than enough space for all your work 
Every year companies create more data than the last, adding megabytes, gigabytes and terabytes. Well, today, we’re taking bytes out of the conversation. For $10/user/month, businesses get unlimited storage for all their employees and can store files up to 5 TB in size (To put that in perspective, no desktop or laptop on the market today even has a hard drive big enough to capture and store a file that size).

More security 
As of today, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centers, but also at rest on Google servers.

More productivity 
Some of the most common file types stored in Drive are Microsoft Word, Excel® and PowerPoint® files. We’ve now built the power of Quickoffice into Docs, Sheets and Slides, so you can open and edit those documents in their native format using Office Compatibility Mode directly on Android and Chrome browser today, and coming soon to iOS. No need to buy additional software or decide how to open your file. Editing Office files is just a click or tap away from Drive on your computer, tablet or phone.



Ready for your business, available today 
Google Drive for Work includes the benefits and guarantees of Google Apps for Business, like 24x7 phone support and a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You also get access to all of Google’s productivity apps like Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites and Hangouts, so you collaborate in even more ways. Drive for Work also offers enterprise-grade security and compliance, including a SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like HIPAA.

Drive for Work is available globally, today. If you’re a current Apps customer you can upgrade from the Admin console to get new features like unlimited storage. If you’re new to using Google at work you can learn more about Google Drive for Work on the web, or contact us for more information.

Posted by: Scott Johnston, Director of Product Management, Google Drive

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Learning how to do the perfect smokey eye can be difficult if the YouTube makeup tutorial you’re watching keeps buffering or going fuzzy, which is why we’re always working to make videos play in the best quality possible. If you’re regularly seeing a buffering wheel when you play YouTube videos, it’s important to know why.

Starting today, Kiwis can use the Google Video Quality Report to better understand the video quality available from their Internet service providers.

You can also see the video quality other ISPs in your area are delivering, based on these levels:

  • HD Verified: Users on YouTube HD Verified networks should expect smooth playback most of the time when watching high-definition YouTube videos (720p and above).
  • Standard Definition: Users on networks rated as Standard Definition should expect smooth playback on standard-definition YouTube videos (360p) and may experience occasional interruptions on high-definition YouTube videos (720p and above).
  • Lower Definition: Users on networks rated as Lower Definition may experience fuzzy picture quality and frequent interruptions while playing YouTube videos at 360p and above.

If you’re keen to learn more about how we came up with these classifications, read more here, and learn how videos get from us to you with this video.

You can also help make sure you're getting the best video quality possible with these seven simple steps:


We hope to keep finding better ways to bring you the best video experience possible, and part of that is helping you understand the way YouTube videos play when you watch it today. If the YouTube videos you watch are constantly lagging, we want to help you better understand why.

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For the last two years, the kids at Pt England school in Auckland have been using Chromebooks to learn in a more collaborative way. Easy to use, fast and very secure,  Chromebooks have proved a hit in the classroom and have even helped improve learning outcomes. Now with today’s official launch of Chromebooks in New Zealand everyone can get their hands on one.

From watching the latest antics from Jamie on YouTube at home, to listening to Lorde on the go, today we’re all spending more time online. In this increasingly connected world, computing should be fast, secure and hassle-free, so you can access your stuff and get things done from wherever you are. Chromebooks are designed for this world, and since launching a few years back have become the go-to laptop for many people around the world.

Now Kiwis will have a range of Chromebooks to choose from  — the Acer C720, the Acer C720P, the Toshiba Chromebook 13, the HP Chromebook or the HP Chromebook 14. All the Chromebooks are light and portable with a battery that will last the whole day. They also feature Intel’s 4th generation Celeron processor which means they’re nice and zippy. The HP Chromebook 11 comes in variety of colours too, so you can pick one that matches your wardrobe.

If you’ve been looking for a computer that makes it easier to get stuff done, pick up a Chromebook from Dick Smith, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Noel Leeming in store or online.

Posted by Annie Baxter, Head of Communications, Google New Zealand

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The best meetings are face-to-face—you can brainstorm openly, collaborate closely and make faster decisions. But these days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into awkward conference calls from our phones.
Meetings need to catch up with the way we work—they need to be face-to-face, easier to join, and available from anywhere and any device. Starting today, they can be. Any New Zealand business can upgrade the way they do meetings with the new Chromebox for meetings.
Chromebox for meetings brings together Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps in an easy-to-manage Chromebox, making it easy for any company to meet face-to-face and get things done. Here are a few highlights:
  • Instant meeting room. Chromebox for meetings comes with a Chromebox, a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit and a remote control. You can set up your entire room in minutes and easily manage all meeting rooms from a web-based management console. All you need is the display in your room, and you’re good to go.
  • Simpler and faster meetings. Walk into the room, click the remote once and you’re instantly in the meeting. No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs. Share your laptop screen wirelessly, no need for any cords and adaptors. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar.
  • Meetings with anyone, anywhere. Up to 15 participants can join the video meeting from other conference rooms, their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Need to meet with a customer who doesn’t use Chromebox for meetings? That’s easy too—all they need is a Gmail account. You can also connect to rooms that have traditional video conferencing systems using a new tool from Vidyo, and participants who prefer phones can join your meeting with a conference call number from UberConference.
Chromebox for meetings is available for $1,700 which includes the ASUS Chromebox and everything you need to get going. That means for the same price that companies have typically paid for one meeting room, they'll be able to outfit 10 rooms—or more. SYNNEX and Fronde will help bring Chromebox for meetings to customers and resellers in New Zealand and help you and your coworkers see eye-to-eye. Happy meetings, everyone!
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management

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Kiwis can now go back in time to see how their streets and neighbourhoods are changing with the help of historical Street View imagery, a new feature of Google Maps

For many parts of Christchurch, Google’s Street View cars have gathered street-level imagery since the February 2011 earthquake, which means that you can now see how different parts of Christchurch looked before and after.


Since the earthquake, buildings, roads, and natural places have changed—in some cases dramatically. This new imagery helps provide a digital archive of Christchurch that allows us to remember the past and document the ongoing regeneration of the the city.


Street View Historical Imagery appears on the new Google Maps as a small clock in the top left hand corner of each Street View image that has historical Street View imagery.  You can click on it and, using a slider, move back and forth between different dates.


We will continue to add new images to historical Street View imagery over time, to help provide a more complete resource for the city. You can help us create a more complete digital mirror of Christchurch by uploading your own images using Google’s Photosphere feature. You can also update any outdated information by clicking on ‘Report a Problem’ on Google Maps - or by simply shaking your smartphone when you’re outside a point you want to update.


We’ve had many requests for these images since the earthquake and we’re so glad that we can now make them available. We hope that these powerful images are useful to help people remember, plan, and rebuild.

Posted by Anthony Baxter, Google Crisis Response, Google New Zealand

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We’re pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Computer Science for High Schools grants in Australia and New Zealand. This annual program promotes computer science education by helping to equip educators with the skills and resources they need to teach computer science and computational thinking concepts in fun and relevant ways. Globally, this program has already trained more than 12,000 teachers and reached over 600,000 students.

Closer to home, we are supporting 20 organisations across Australia and New Zealand who will provide this important training to school teachers.

2014 recipients
Australia

New Zealand

In Australia, this year’s recipients will be expanding their workshops to focus on the implementation of the new Digital Technologies Curriculum being rolled out to classrooms across the country and include primary school and pre-service teachers in their workshops.  

In addition to the CS4HS workshops, we’ll continue to support the rollout of the new curriculum with a partnerships with Adelaide University to deliver free online professional teacher development in teaching computational thinking.  If you’ve not started yet it’s not too late to join in. There are also some great classroom resources on our K-12 educators page.

We know that an early introduction to computational thinking and coding is a great foundation for students in any career they choose, whether it’s medicine, engineering or the movies.  We hope that these practical, hands on workshops will inspire teachers across Australia as they bring new material to their classrooms.
  
Posted by Sally-Ann Williams, Engineering Community & Outreach  Manager, Google Australia & New Zealand