New Zealand Blog
Google news for Kiwis
More, more, more real estate in Google Maps
Friday, October 30, 2009
Since we announced a real estate search feature on Google Maps in
back in July, we've been working steadily to make it even easier for Kiwi home buyers and renters to use. At the same time, Google Maps has continued to evolve and improve, and become an even more useful tool for online real estate searching. Here are a couple of things you can look out for next time you visit Maps.
First up, we've made it easier to find real estate listings. Now, you can simply click "Real Estate" from the 'More' button on the top right of any map on Google Maps to discover listings. From there, it's a simple matter to refine your search using the left hand panel - price, bedrooms, bathrooms, and so on. Of course, you can still pan the map and it'll automatically update with more listings.
You'll also notice that Google Maps is now showing
even more information
about an area as you pan around and zoom in. There are small icons on the map showing the names and location of businesses and prominent features of the neighbourhood. This means that during your home search, you'll be able to tell at a glance just exactly what shops can be found down the road from where you're looking, all without typing!
Finally, we've made it easier to layer your searches over each other. If you're looking for a new place near a primary school, start by searching for "primary school". Then click More, Real Estate to see all available properties nearby overlaid on the same map. Refine your search, and find that perfect 3 bedroom apartment in walking distance of a school.
Of course, these aren't the only resources available for your new home search. You can use
on Google Maps to check out the neighbourhood before driving to an open home; use
to find out exactly how to get there; and
information (if you're in Wellington) to work out what your new commute might be if you went ahead and moved house.
Good luck compiling your open home lists today - here's to a fruitful weekend of real estate searching!
Posted by Andrew Foster, product manager
Make your vote count for Doodle 4 Google!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
We've already received thousands of votes for the inaugural New Zealand
Doodle 4 Google
competition, but if you haven't voted yet, you'd better be quick - voting closes this Friday, 30 October.
Doodle 4 Google asked NZ students from Years 1 through 10 to give the Google logo a quintessentially Kiwi makeover - sharing with us their vision of New Zealand. We've seen everything from cows to sheep, All Blacks to Silver Ferns, jandals, kiwifruit, fish and chips and tomato sauce - it's been incredible to see how young Kiwis see our country, and the standard of entries has been truly high.
From the thousands of entries received, we picked a long list of 100 entries, from which our judges,
Curator of Contemporary Art Charlotte Huddleston,
founder Steve Dunstan and TV2 star
, selected the top 20 to go up for public vote. After voting closes this week, we'll be flying all 20 finalists to Wellington for the grand final event on 5 November, when we'll celebrate the achievements of our top 20, announce the four age group winners and Dennis Hwang, Google's original Doodler, will select the overall winner whose doodle will feature on the
homepage for one day in 2010, to be seen by millions of people around the world.
We'll post all of the details here so make sure you check back to find out which doodles New Zealand has voted their favourites. But first we want your vote! Head to
to have your say.
Posted by Annie Baxter, Google New Zealand
Street View in New Zealand to get an update
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Update: From late October/early November, there will be Street View cars in both the North and South Islands.
Ten months ago, we brought
in New Zealand - helping Kiwi Internet users to view and navigate 360 degree street-level imagery of New Zealand's cities, towns, regions and remote areas.
Since launch, Street View has been
integrated with New Zealand real estate sites
, used by LOTR buffs to check out
... and even helped find the
in this 'family'. It has helped to share New Zealand's spectacular natural beauty with potential visitors to the country, as well as making it easier for Kiwis to plan their activities online.
We recognise that Street View works best when the images are up-to-date and accurately reflect what you'd see in a certain area if you were to visit in person, so today we're announcing that we're going to be re-driving much of New Zealand so we can update Street View imagery.
We'll start in
Auckland this week
, and you'll see our clearly-marked Street View cars (some like the one below, some like the Holden Astras we used last time) making their way around the thousands and thousands of kilometres of public roads in New Zealand throughout this summer.
We also work hard to improve our products as much as we can, and so the images we're collecting this time will be sharper and crisper - making Street View even more useful when using it to find that restaurant you've forgotten the name of, or when reading street signs on Street View when following driving directions in Google Maps. It will also make our face-blurring technology even more accurate, because faces will be easier for our blurring technology to recognise.
You can see what the new imagery will look like on the recently released Street View imagery in Canada ... I was able to reminisce about a trip to Montreal I took a few years ago by taking a virtual walk about the historic part of town, checking out even the
fine detail of the stonework on the beautiful Basilique Notre-Dame
View Larger Map
The new New Zealand imagery will be available sometime within the next year, and while we don't have a more specific timetable to share right now, we'll be sure to keep Kiwis updated. And in case you were wondering ... unfortunately we can't tell you exactly when we'll be in your area. You'll just need to keep the lawn mowed for the next few months!
If you're ever uncomfortable with an image that appears in Street View, whether in the existing imagery or in the new imagery once it launches, it's a simple matter to have it blurred or removed - simply click 'Report a Problem' at the bottom of any image, and follow the steps.
In the meantime, why not use Street View to check out your summer holiday home before you book it, or plan your Christmas shopping expedition online?
Posted by Andrew Foster, Google Maps product manager, Australia and New Zealand
U2 on YouTube -- Live!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Remember a few years ago when U2 came to New Zealand and everyone wanted a ticket but a bunch of people missed out? (Including me). Well, no one is going to miss out on this U2 concert in New Zealand.
If you're a U2 fan, you may have already caught wind of a little secret. Earlier this week, guitarist The Edge
that you will be able to watch their upcoming performance at the Rose Bowl in L.A. on their
New Zealand YouTubers can join U2 live at the following times on Monday, October 26, 2009, 4:30pm.
In addition to doing your best to sing along with Bono, you'll be able to join YouTube's global listening party via a Twitter gadget embedded on U2's YouTube channel. And if you miss the concert, just press play when you next get to a computer: the uploaded rebroadcast of the full show will be available the next day. Like I say ... a U2 concert that no one will miss out on. Enjoy!
Posted by Matthew Davison, Google New Zealand
Māori language added to Google Translator Toolkit
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
(Editor's note: This is a cross-post from the
Official Google Blog
(Update: We've posted below the text of the recent media release we issued, translated into Te Reo by Dr Keegan)
Last week, we added 285 new languages to
Google Translator Toolkit
, bringing the total number of languages supported by this product to 345 — and making it possible to translate between 10,664 language pairs. Google Translator Toolkit is a language translation service for professional and amateur translators that builds on
and makes translation faster and easier.
In addition, we've made the Translator Toolkit interface available in
, so that more people can access the service in their own language.
At Google, we're focusing on how Translator Toolkit can help preserve and revitalize small and minority languages. Minority languages, also called regional, indigenous, heritage or threatened languages, are languages spoken by the minority people in one locale in a sovereign state or country. Were these endangered languages to become extinct, it would mean an immeasurable loss of knowledge, culture and way of life to minority people worldwide.
For this project we worked with Dr. Te Taka Keegan, a Māori language activist and senior lecturer in computer science at the University of Waikato who spent much of his career on how technology can assist in minority language revitalization. At Google, Dr. Keegan researched how computer-aided translation tools can help preserve minority languages.
To support his research, we released an alpha version of the Translator Toolkit to various members of Māori translation community in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Māori, an Eastern Polynesian language spoken predominately in Aotearoa (New Zealand), is a good starting point because it is one world's 7,000 languages under threat of extinction. According to the
, 132,000 people can hold a conversation in Māori. That's roughly 24% of Māori or 4% of New Zealanders.
Dr. Keegan found that tools such as Translator Toolkit can help minority languages in several ways:
Translation memories and glossaries, when shared across members of a language community, can help unify the language’s written form, increasing translation speed and quality of documents published in that language and preserving the language in the long run.
Because computer-aided translation can improve translation speed and quality, translators become more productive. When automatic translation is available, as it is for 87 of Google Translator Toolkit's 345 languages, it increases speed further by producing instant translations that people can use as a starting point for their work. And at Google, we use these human translations to improve the translation algorithm of Google Translate over time, creating a virtuous cycle that benefits both human translators and machine translation.
Online presence of small languages keeps languages relevant in the age of the Internet and globalization, encouraging minority language use by children, who are ultimately responsible for bringing the language to future generations.
Languages provide identity, pride, a sense of belonging and spiritual guidance to minority language communities. We hope that by giving both majority and minority language speakers around the world the tools to make online content accessible in their language, we will enable more people to share their culture and knowledge with others worldwide.
Ko te reo te hā te mauri o te Māoritanga
Language is the very life-breath of being Māori.
Mak-muwekma mak-noono ya roote 'innutka, mak-'uyyaki_,
Nuhu, mak pekre ne tuuxi,
'At mak roote 'innutka hu_i_tak.
Our culture and our language are the way to our past,
From it we embrace the present,
And follow the road to the future.
(Muwekma Ohlone Indian tribe, original residents of San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties, California, the home of Google)
Kua ū a Reo Māori ki te Google Translator Toolkit
E 285 ngā reo hou kua tāpirihia atu ki te Google Translator Toolkit, ā, ko te reo Māori tētehi. He tino āwhina tēnei kia ora te reo Māori i te ao whānui o Aotearoa.
Mai i tērā tau kua rangahaua e Google te whakapā mai a te Translator Toolkit ki ngā reo tokoiti o te ao, otirā ki ngā reo kāore anō kia whakamahia ki Google Translate.
Ko Dr Te Taka Keegan (nō Waikato-Manaiapoto, nō Ngāti Porou) tētehi o ngā kairangahau i te kaupapa nei. He kaitautoko reo Māori, he pūkenga hoki a Dr Keegan i te tari rorohiko i te Whare Wānanga o Waikato. Ka pau i a Dr. Keegan e 6 marama ki te pokapū o Google, ki Mountain View, California he āta tirotiro me pēwhea e ngā hangarau ā-reo o Google te hapai ake i ngā reo tokoiti o te ao. Hāngai tonu tāna ki ngā āhuatanga hāpai o te Google Translator Toolkit ki te reo Māori.
E ai ki te taturanga whānui 2006, e taea ana e ngā tāngata 132,000 te kōrero Māori i Aotearoa nei (ko te 23% o Māori, ko te 3% o ngā tangāta katoa i Aotearoa), heoi anō ko te reo Māori tonu tētehi o ngā reo e 7,000 o te ao e āwangawanga ana te oranga.
He tautoko tā te hangarau ā-rorohiko i te reo, pērā i te Google Translator Toolkit, ka tere ake ai te whakamāori, te tika hoki o te whakamāori, me te whakaū hoki o te reo Māori ā-tuhi. He kounga anō nō te reo Māori ā-tuhi, he tautoko hoki i te pānga ki ngā āhuatanga whānui o te ao hou nei, tae noa ki te ipurangi.
Mā te ngāwari o te whakapā ā-ipurangi o te reo Māori ka tau ai te ao Māori ki te ao ipurangi, otirā te ao whānui. He whakahau anō i te hunga tamariki ki tōna reo, mā rātou te taonga hei kawe.
Mā te reo te hunga tokoiti e mārama ai ki tōna tuakiri, ki tōna mana, ki tōna ihi, ki tōna tapu, ki Aotearoa, ki te ao whānui. Ko te tūmanako a Google mā te whakawātea i te Google Translator Toolkit ki te hunga reo tokomaha, reo tokoiti hoki ka āwhina ai ngā reo me ngā reo ā-iwi.
Hei āwhina te Google Translator Toolkit i te kaiwhakamāori ki te mahi i ngā takahuringa reo 10,664. Ka tere ake ai, ka tika ake ai mā ēnei tūmomo hangarau ā-reo. Mā tēnei tukunga i te rā nei te kaiwhakamāori tūao, whaiutu hoki e āwhina ki te takahuri reo mai i ngā reo e 31 ki ngā reo e 345. He tautoko tēnei i te here a Google kia wātea whānui te mōhiohio i te ipurangi.
Posted by Michael Galvez, Product Manager, and Sanjay Bhansali, Engineering Manager
Top 20 announced in first ever Kiwi Doodle 4 Google
Monday, October 19, 2009
2009 marks the first time we’ve run
Doodle 4 Google
in New Zealand, in association with
the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
. We called for entries from every primary, intermediate and secondary school in New Zealand, challenging students from Years 1 through 10 to design a Google ‘doodle’ inspired by the theme “My New Zealand'.
(‘Google doodles’ are the name we give to the
customised Google logos
that appear on the Google homepage. These first started appearing in 1998 – since then,
Google’s official Doodler Dennis Hwang
and his team have commemorated occasions and holidays worldwide with doodles that celebrate everything from ANZAC Day and the anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's historical ascent of Mt Everest to the birthday of the barcode.)
We received thousands of entries from more than 600 schools across New Zealand. One hundred finalists were selected on the basis of artistic merit, creativity, and how well the theme of 'My New Zealand' was communicated.
We then invited our judges, Te Papa’s Curator of Contemporary Art Charlotte Huddleston,
founder Steve Dunstan and Erin Simpson, host of TV2’s
The Erin Simpson Show
(see below), to come together at Te Papa’s amazing multimedia room
to select the top 20. The really high standard of entries in all age groups made this a very difficult choice.
The top 20 entries can be viewed at
where the public can vote for their favourite to find the four age group winners. Visitors to Te Papa can also view the top 20 doodles in Our Space (that's a photo of it below!) as well as on the giant Our Space TelstraClear Screen on the outside of the complex next to Te Papa’s main entrance – if you’re in Wellington, make sure you head along to check it out.
All students in the top 20 will be flown to the grand final event, to be held in Wellington on 5 November, where
will select the overall winner whose design will appear at
for one whole day next year.
Here's the list of the top 20 entrants – make your vote count at
2009 Doodle 4 Google New Zealand Top 20
Amelia Abbott, Hampden Street School, Nelson (Years 1-3)
Umut Baro, Summerland Primary, Henderson, Auckland (Years 1-3)
Thomas Wellington, Churton Park School, Wellington (Years 1-3)
Harrison Dykes, Heddon Bush School, Southland (Years 1-3)
Abigail Sadlier, Awapuni School, Gisborne (Years 4-6)
Zachary Helm, Balmoral School, Auckland (Years 4-6)
Atalya Fakavamoeanga, Coastal Taranaki School, Okato, Taranaki (Years 4-6)
Samantha Waters, Whenuapai School, Whenuapai (Years 4-6)
Meg Robinson, St Thomas's School, Kohimarama, Auckland (Years 7-8)
Havannah Pearson, Pukekohe Intermediate, Pukekohe (Years 7-8)
Harry Hartley, Paraparaumu Beach School, Paraparaumu (Years 7-8)
Andrei Golovko, Kirkwood Intermediate, Christchurch (Years 7-8)
Sophie Arnold, Fairfield Intermediate School, Hamilton (Years 7-8)
Jordan Earl, Heretaunga Intermediate, Hawkes Bay (Years 7-8)
Olivier Bartolomei, Cashmere High School, Christchurch (Years 9-10)
Ashley Brown, James Hargest College, Invercargill (Years 9-10)
Emily Fountain, Epsom Girls Grammar, Auckland (Years 9-10)
Tanisha Dyer, Motueka High School, Motueka (Years 9-10)
Molly Ploeg, Immanuel Christian School, Auckland (Years 9-10)
Emily Chin, Onslow College, Wellington (Years 9-10)
Posted by Annie Baxter, Google New Zealand
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