(Cross-posted on the Google for Work blog.)

Congratulations to Canadian teens Isabella O'Brien, 13, and Calvin Rieder, 18, on becoming finalists in the Google Science Fair!

Sometimes the biggest discoveries are made by the youngest scientists. They’re curious and not afraid to ask, and it’s this spirit of exploration that leads them to try, and then try again. Thousands of these inquisitive young minds from around the world submitted projects for this year’s Google Science Fair, and today we’re thrilled to announce the 20 Global Finalists whose bright ideas could change the world.

From purifying water with corn cobs to transporting Ebola antibodies through silk; extracting water from air or quickly transporting vaccines to areas in need, these students have all tried inventive, unconventional things to help solve challenges they see around them. And did we mention that they’re all 18 or younger?

We’ll be highlighting each of the impressive 20 finalist projects over the next 20 days in the Spotlight on a Young Scientist series on the Google for Education blog to share more about these inspirational young people and what inspires them.
Then on September 21st, these students will join us in Mountain View to present their projects to a panel of notable international scientists and scholars, eligible for a $50,000 scholarship and other incredible prizes from our partners at LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic.

Congratulations to our finalists and everyone who submitted projects for this year’s Science Fair. Thank you for being curious and brave enough to try to change the world through science.

This Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, New Democratic Party Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May will square off in the first debate of the federal election campaign.

This year, for the first time, you can watch the debates live and in full on the YouTube Canada Elections Hub, via our partners at Maclean’s Magazine, who will be live streaming the debate on the Maclean’s Magazine YouTube Channel.

The YouTube livestream will give Canadians a new option to follow the debate on the screen of their choice, whether that’s a television, laptop, tablet or phone. So, no matter where you are in the world or how you’ll be accessing the internet, you’ll be able to watch the most important events of the 2015 election on YouTube.

This will be Canadians’ first opportunity to hear the leaders test each other on a wide range of critical issues, including the economy, energy and the environment, foreign policy, security and the health of Canada’s democratic institutions.

So, tune-in to the Elections Hub on Thursday, August 6 at 8:00PM EDT to watch the first debate live. And if you miss it, we’ll have the full debate, highlight clips and commentary from across the web, available to watch at after the debate is over.

Ahhh, summer. Time to shop for bathing suits, beach towels and… backpacks? That’s right. July is almost over and it’s already time to start shopping for school. But before they step inside a store, today’s back-to-school shoppers do their homework, heading online to find out what trends are hot, where to get them, and how to get the best deals.

And where are we getting inspiration for what to buy? A quarter of Canadian university students saying that they go to YouTube to find out what’s cool to purchase. In fact, Canadian searches for “back to school” on YouTube  grew 67% last year, and this year we’ve seen a 120% growth in watchtime of back-to-school videos globally.

It’s only July, and we’ve already seen twice as many back to school videos posted on YouTube as last year, including perennial favourites like hair tutorials and dorm room tours, along with rising trends like nail art (which we’ve already watched 2 million hours of on YouTube this year!)

So what items are likely to be on Canadians’ back-to-school shopping list? We looked at search trends year-over-year and identified three distinct patterns:

  • Rising stars - you can think of these as fast fashion trends, they’re things that get really hot quickly, but can fizzle out; we’re searching for them a lot.
  • Seasonal Growth - these are trends that last for several seasons, they have staying power; these searches are steadily increasing year-over-year.
  • Seasonal Decline - these are trends that are slowly on their way out; we’re searching less for them now than we used to.

Canada’s Back-to-School Hot (and Not) List

Happy shopping!

Posted by Jenn Kaiser, Communications Manager, Google Canada

Whether it’s a crash course on the Greek economic crisis through the lens of a gyro lunch, or turning the tables on a political opponent with a bit of cell phone-destroying comedy, YouTube is a powerful platform for political engagement. When it comes to having a voice in our democracy, it levels the playing-field – anyone with a webcam and an internet connection can be seen, heard and make a difference.

As we head towards our own moment at the polls this fall, online video will be a major source of news, commentary and insight.

To make it easier for Canadians of all ages to discover online videos about the Federal Election, we’re launching a new YouTube Canada Elections Hub. Our channel will highlight video content from a variety of Canadian news sources in the lead up to the election. Into this mix we’ll also add topical vlogs from Canada’s YouTube Creators, along with user-generated content from the campaign trail.

Curated by Storyful, the team behind our popular YouTube Newswire service, The YouTube Canada Elections Hub will spotlight top trending video content on a daily basis, giving Canadians a one-stop shop to start exploring the latest videos from across the country and across the political spectrum.

On the YouTube Canada Elections Hub you’ll find:
  • Video content from news media across the country
  • Content and campaign videos from political parties
  • Live streams of the federal leaders’ debates
  • Topical vlogs and commentary from YouTube creators
  • Weekly themed playlists on key election issues
  • Breaking election trends and viral videos 
So get engaged in the issues that matter to you - Subscribe to the YouTube Canada Elections Hub to be notified when new trending videos are posted, and stay tuned for more updates from Google Canada on the ways we’re helping Canadians stay educated and engaged as we head towards the polls on October 19th.

Posted by Leslie Church, Head of Communications, Google Canada

Calling all Toronto, Montreal and Kitchener-Waterloo non-profits!  Google Canada is thrilled to announce that our Community Grant Applications are open once again for applicants!  

We are looking for organizations who are moving the needle in the following areas:
  • Delivering or promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or Computer Science (CS) Education for K-12 students, especially among underserved communities (at-risk youth, New Canadians, girls, Aboriginals and youth from low-socioeconomic households)
  • Closing the digital divide by helping to improve access to technology to those who do not have regular access.

Applications are due September 1st, 2015 and any registered Canadian charity is eligible to apply. If your organization has a project or program underway in one of our focus areas please submit your application online through one of our three community programs depending on your location:

Community Grant Recipient Profile: Ladies Learning Code

Ladies Learning Code received a Google Community Grant in 2014. In partnership with Big Brother Big Sisters, the organization launched a Girls Learning Code Evening Program in Toronto for girls ages 8 - 13. Designed to inspire girls to become passionate builders and creators of technology, 30 girls who would not otherwise have the means to learn these valuable technical skills, attended the twelve week program. According to Melissa Sarriffodeen the co-founder of Ladies Learning Code, the grant offered an opportunity to create, test and refine its program. And based on its learnings from the grant-funded project, Ladies Learning Code is hoping to expand this program to its 22 chapter cities across Canada. As Melissa puts it: “We’re just getting started!”
Girls sharing their game prototypes and storyboards as part of the Girls Learning Code Gamemakers program.

When Google evaluates proposals, we look at impact first.  We’re looking for projects which are at the community level but have scale and sustainability.  We don’t tend to fund applications for short-term employment positions or office overhead costs (rent, utilities, etc).

If your organization has a plan to make a difference in these communities and fits our guidelines, please submit your proposal today.

Posted by Lauren Skelly, Community Affairs Manager, Google Canada


Editor’s note -- Today’s blog is authored by Audra Renyi, Executive Director of World Wide Hearing

Mahmoud is a 7-year old boy from rural Jordan. Since birth he struggled to communicate and talk - a burden not uncommon for a child suffering from significant hearing loss. But then, in a moment, everything changed.

Mahmoud was fitted with his first hearing aid. A smile broke across his face. Then he laughed. He could hear the audio technician’s voice loud and clear. Just as the fitting was finishing up, Mahmoud's father arrived at the outreach center to see his son. From outside the room, he called out Mahmoud's name. Mahmoud's ears perked up and he immediately turned around. When he saw his father's face and connected it to the voice he was hearing for the first time, Mahmoud burst into tears and jumped into his father's arms.  

We believe the mobile screening devices we’re developing at Montreal-based World Wide Hearing have the power to make a fundamental difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of people living with a disability. And that’s why today’s news is so important. is committing twenty million dollars in grant funding for a first-of-its kind Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities. Throughout the Challenge, will identify, fund and support nonprofits and technologies working to increase access to opportunity for hundreds of millions living with disabilities. World Wide Hearing is  as one of two initial "anchor" grants.  

World Wide Hearing team in action during a hearing screening campaign: screening a young girl, one of 1,200 school children screened over two days in May 2015 in Mazatenango, Guatemala

With's support and a $500,000 USD grant, World Wide Hearing will develop, prototype and test an extremely low cost tool kit for identifying hearing loss using smartphone technology that’s widely available--and affordable--in the developing world. 642 million people around the world suffer from hearing loss. Diagnosing auditory challenges can be a struggle in low income communities--the equipment is expensive, bulky and hard to scale, particularly in the developing world.

This support from will help identify those living with hearing loss, ensuring we all hear more laughter from people like Mahmoud.

That’s a wrap! More than 15,000 passionate fans joined us on Saturday, May 2, as YouTube FanFest made its North American debut. Toronto welcomed a group of the biggest Canadian and international YouTube creators for a live showcase that wowed the crowd with music, comedy and interactive performances. If you missed the show or want to watch it again, now you catch the full show on the FanFest YouTube channel!

The free, public show featured YouTube superstars Jenna Marbles, Bethany Mota, Michael Stevens of Vsauce and Toronto’s own IISuperwomanII. The performances ranged from the soulful music of American star David Choi to the bhangra drumming of Jus Reign to a live science experiment between Michael Stevens and Jenna Marbles that saw Marbles blow a fireball into the air above the crowd.

Co-hosted by charismatic TV personality Jessi Cruickshank and Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time, the event closed with the world premiere performance of Lilly Singh’s online smash hit new song “IVIVI”, an ode to Toronto, that drew deafening cheers from the crowd.

Lilly Singh, ||Superwoman|| performs the world premiere of "IVIVI"

Other highlights included a fan Q&A with Bethany Mota, as well as a unique performance from Kurt Hugo Scheider, Macy Kate, Madilyn Bailey and Kina Grannis. The foursome of musicians collaborated on a song that was set to a complicated rhythm of handclaps, which they performed while blindfolded. Edmonton-born a capella singer Mike Tompkins had the fans on their feet for a high energy set, and local girl LaurDIY brought fans on the stage for a live DIY fashion challenge that saw fans create a shirt for host Jessi Cruickshank.  

YTFF Collage.jpg
Fandemonium at the first North American YouTube FanFest in Toronto

This was a record crowd for YouTube FanFest - more than triple the attendance for previous events in Asia, India and Australia - which shows the incredible passion of Canadian YouTube fans. FanFest was also a hot topic on social media - the #YTFFTO hashtag trended across Toronto as fans took to social media to share the experience.

Thank you too all the extraordinary YouTube Creators and fans that came out for red carpet and show. Canada is hotbed of YouTube talent and fandom, and we are thrilled we were able to bring this to Canadian fans as a North American first!

Posted by Jenn Kaiser, YouTube Communications