Counting down to the start of classes this fall? Time is running out to get through the back-to-school checklist: confirming class schedule, getting new gear to decorate your dorm room, checking out school activities, and of course, buying textbooks. We can’t help with everything on your list, but we can lighten your load, literally.

Starting now, students in Canada can rent or purchase digital textbooks from With thousands of textbooks from top publishers, we have a comprehensive selection of higher education titles from science and mathematics to history and English, and everything in between.

With Google Play Books, your textbook library is stored in the cloud and synced to your devices, giving you instant access to the titles you need, when you need them, on your Android tablet, phone, iOS device, or on the web. An overstuffed backpack is a thing of the past.

With the Google Play Books app, you have convenient tools at hand to make studying simpler and faster. You can instantly search within a textbook for a particular word or phrase, bookmark chapters and pages, highlight and annotate key passages and get quick access to dictionaries, translation tools, Wikipedia and Google search.

If you only need your textbooks for a semester or two, you can choose to rent any textbook on Google Play for six months and save up to 80% as compared to buying print textbooks.

Shop for textbooks today on Google Play, and learn more at our Google in Education site.

When we introduced Classroom back in May, we asked educators to give it a try. The response was exciting — more than 100,000 educators from more than 45 countries signed up to try it. Today, we’re starting to open Classroom to all Google Apps for Education users, helping teachers spend more time teaching and less time shuffling papers.

The teachers of Ontario’s Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board were some of the first to use Classroom. Since May, Google Certified Teacher and WECDSB’s e-Learning expert Joe Sisco has used Classroom in professional development sessions with the Board’s educators. Joe says that teachers have found it incredibly easy to use: “It took about 5 minutes or less to create a class, have 30 teachers join the class, and push out a Google Drawing to have them sort images using a venn diagram.”

Teachers and students have been instrumental in helping us build Classroom. For example, we heard during the preview that educators don’t want to wait until an assignment is turned in to collaborate with students. Now with Classroom, teachers will be able to view and comment on students’ work to help them along the way. We’ve also heard that educators want a simple place to post information and materials about their classes, so we added an “About” page for each course as well.

Teachers can review assignments directly from Classroom and provide feedback and grades to students all in one place.

Starting today, Classroom is available in 42 languages (including Hebrew, Arabic and Persian). It also works well on mobile devices and most popular screen readers. We’ll be rolling out to more users every day, so if you go to with your Apps for Education account and don’t have access yet, please check back soon!

Hopefully Classroom will help you spend a little less time at the photocopier and a little more time doing what you love—teaching.

Posted by Zach Yeskel, Product Manager, Classroom

Whether you’re a university applicant or a curious parent getting to know your kid’s new home away from home, Street View can take you on a walking tour of schools around the world. Starting today, you’ll be able to explore 36 new university campuses across the U.S. and Canada with Street View in Google Maps.

With a click of your mouse, you can visit the University of Calgary, one of Canada's top research universities and alma mater of our 22nd Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Our very own, Engineering Director, Stephen Woods completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Continuing along, visit University of Manitoba, Western Canada's first university, and home of the U of M Bison.

Finally, let’s stop by the University of Regina in Canada. Founded in 1911, the school is known for its emphasis on experiential learning.

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These Canadian universities in the prairies are some of the latest additions to the hundreds of college and university campuses all over the world that are already available for you to explore in Google Maps. To see if a Street View tour of your dream school is available, search for a particular university on Google Maps and click on Pegman to enter the Street View imagery. Visit our Street View gallery for global highlights and other popular universities around the world.

So if you can’t make it in person, Street View can help you get a feel for the place you’re considering spending the next four years. And for you parents out there, this might help you get used to the idea of an empty nest!

Earlier this year we asked students around the world how they would change the world as part of the 4th annual Google Science Fair. Students from all over the world, including Canada, submitted incredibly creative and clever ideas tackling some of today’s biggest problems.

Congratulations to Hayley Todesco from Calgary and her project Waste to Water: Biodegrading Naphthenic Acids Using Novel Sand Bioreactors. Hayley was selected as the first-ever recipient of the Regional Science Fair Award in Canada. And today we’re announcing that Hayley is one of the 15 finalists invited to compete in the final Google Science Fair competition in September.

Next month, Hayley will be California-bound to compete at Google HQ for the Age Category Awards (ages 17-18 category) and of course, the overall Google Science Fair Grand Prize Award. The competition will end in style with an awards ceremony, which will be live streamed on the Science Fair YouTube channel and on the Google Science Fair website. Tune in to find out this year’s winners!

But first, Canada we need your help - pick your favorite project for the 2014 Voter’s Choice Award. Show your support for the finalists and cast a vote on the Google Science Fair website beginning September 1. Every year, we are blown away by the projects and ideas our young people come up with, and you will be too.

What’s next for our young Canadian scientist? Hayley plans to attend the University of Alberta, in the fall to complete a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Microbiology. “My future academic goals also involve the PhD degree program after working alongside PhD students in labs during my projects.” says Hayley Todesco, “I would love a scientific research career in the field of biotechnology, specifically relating to environmental issues. After all, I couldn't imagine pursuing a better path than one that constantly fascinates me.”

Congratulations again Hayley, and good luck!

No matter how things change, a face-to-face conversation is still the fastest and simplest way to communicate. Using Hangouts lets teams collaborate over video meetings across smartphones, tablets and computers. And dedicated Chromebox for meetings devices extend these video meetings to any room. Today, we’re announcing the latest features, updates and partnerships that make video meetings even easier and better for Google Apps for Business customers.

Enhanced reliability and support for Hangouts
Hangouts is now covered under the same Terms of Service that support our other Google Apps for Business products, like Gmail and Drive. That means we’ve got your back with 24x7 phone support and a 99.9% guaranteed uptime, as well as ISO27001, SSAE 16/ISAE 4302 and SOC 2 certification. Additional enterprise integration with Google Apps Vault is coming by the end of the year.  

Simpler to get everyone on video meetings
Starting today, Hangouts video meetings support any Google Apps customer account, including those without a Google+ profile. Any Google Apps customer can start or join a high-definition video meeting that connects 15 participants—from a computer or Chromebox for meetings device and coming soon to mobile phone and tablet.

And to make video meetings with Hangouts and Chromebox for meetings even more accessible, we’re partnering with new providers to let you meet with teams using other systems. Blue Jeans will allow people on traditional H.323 or SIP-based videoconferencing systems to join video meetings. InterCall will let people join video meetings on their phones through an InterCall audio-conference bridge. And with new phone dialing support, you’ll be able to dial out from your Chromebox for meetings device to telephones.

Bringing Chromebox for meetings to more places
In the coming months, we’ll be making Chromebox for meetings work better in rooms of all shapes and sizes. In larger conference rooms, you can connect two displays to one Chromebox for meetings device to see your audience and project a presentation at the same time. And if you’ve ever wanted a dedicated setup for video meetings for your home, new personal calendar integration means you will be able to easily set up Chromebox for meetings outside the office.

Lastly, IT administrators can better manage meetings right from the Google Apps Admin Console with options like remotely starting, muting and ending a meeting.

Spontaneous one-on-one brainstorms, monthly company-wide meetings, or connecting two offices via a continuous video stream are just some ways customers like Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Kaplan and Eventbrite have used Hangouts and Chromebox for meetings. And soon, even more teams across the world will be able to get simple and affordable video meetings. In the coming weeks, we’ll be expanding Chromebox for meetings to the UK and Japan in addition to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And in September, you’ll be able to purchase Chromebox for meetings made by Dell.

To learn more about these updates, join our product team for a live Hangout on Air on August 19. And to help your team see eye-to-eye, check out how you can get Hangouts and purchase Chromebox for meetings devices.

Posted by Clay Bavor, Vice President Product Management, Google Apps

I’m not sure when it finally stuck. There was that time that I turned a Radio Shack circuit snap-kit into a rudimentary metal detector. That was cool. Then there was that Grade 7 physics class on electromagnetic fields. Also, very cool. But looking back, there wasn’t one moment that led me to pursue engineering and computer science as a career. Instead, it was dozens of small instances which gradually illuminated the vast potential of sciences and math.

Campers gather for Google Canada's first Geek St

Today, Geek Street is creating dozens of these amazing moments for 2000 summer campers from across Toronto. We’ve transformed the city’s iconic Distillery District into a digital wonderland. Think traditional Toronto street fair, but instead of roti and bratwurst, it’s robots and 3D Selfies!

Geek Street promises to delight and captivate young minds, highlighting the amazing innovation happening in this region’s technology sector and showcasing the world of possibilities offered by STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

Harrison of TVO's Finding Stuff Out

Whether it’s taking an augmented-reality bike ride, coding a simple video game or taking a stroll down ‘Robotics Row’ (an entire laneway dedicated to mechanical bots!), Geek Street hopes to generate more than a few of those cool, inspirational moments for Canada’s next generation of technology builders!

Posted by Stergios Anastasiadis, Engineering Manager, Google Kitchener-Waterloo

Given that I’m currently in the throes of all things comedic during the 32nd annual Just For Laughs Festival, I was challenged with the question: “What’s the role of YouTube for the next generation of comedians?”

Right now, so many of the current generation of comedians—particularly the stand-ups—are using YouTube effectively and efficiently to drive their live business and overall image. Not only has this rendered the promo DVD or cassette (now I’m showing my age!) extinct, but seriously minimizes the amount of travel for any Festival talent scout. What I used to do in clubs, I can now do at home. And the drinks are cheaper.

But using YouTube exclusively as a promotional tool is like using Google Glass to magnify and read the printed word.

At its best, at its most promising, YouTube is the Garden of Eden; not only for the next generation of comedians, but actually for forming the next generation of comedians.

Right now, comedy is more than killing it on the platform. And what’s working best takes advantage of the YouTube platform:
  • Democracy (anyone can do it)
  • Speed (shoot in the morning, upload in the afternoon)
  • Vast Audience Reach (every niche is huge)
  • Quirkiness (impact over aesthetics)
Pranks and pranksters are huge (including Just For Laughs’ Gags channel, with over 4,000,000 subscribers). So are eccentric people simply talking to their rabid fan base. Most promising is that the low barrier to entry allows infinite experimentation…which will lead to new breeds of humour analogous to the medium (and to its increasing mobile use). Without even trying, YouTube has already spawned a motherlode of unique talent that has built its own infrastructure.

I remember a sobering trip to Los Angeles a couple years back where I discovered the parallel universe being driven by unconventional YouTube-friendly digital comedians, NONE of whom I had ever heard of before. During my meetings in traditional Hollywood—along Santa Monica or Wilshire or Sunset—we talked about “digital comedians,” but they were merely savvy analog acts who had a grasp of digital tools like social media accounts.

Once I ventured “below Highway 10” so to speak, the homeland of pure video plays like Maker Studios, Fullscreen and their ilk, I was exposed to a whole new breed of off-beat creators who didn’t care about the old rules, and considered the intrusion of cameras a friend rather than a foe.

And today, that dividing line is blurring rapidly.
  • Grace Helbig, namesake of YouTube hit Daily Grace, has been anointed one of Variety’s 10 Comics to Watch, a list that in the past has brought initial attention to the likes of Jenny Slate, Amy Schumer, Lewis Black, Louis C.K., Zach Galifianakis and the aforementioned Patton Oswalt. 
  • The massively popular Epic Rap Battles of History is being featured in full-page ads on the backs of old-school magazines like Entertainment Weekly. 
  • Net content pioneer Chris “Nerdist” Hardwick is now the host of Comedy Central’s mega-hit, “@midnight.”  
  • One of my childhood heroes, Weird Al Yankovic, is using YouTube to launch eight new videos from his new album (they still make those?) over eight days.  
  • And if you think Orange is actually the new black, you should meet The Annoying Orange, a cloying crossover megastar of web, TV and merchandise. 
THIS is where YouTube has its greatest role, opportunity and responsibility for the comedy of tomorrow. In the 1967 book “The Medium is the Massage,” visionary Marshall McLuhan said that “We impose the form of the old on the content of the new”; in other words, our new content takes on the form of that which preceded it (which is why early TV looked like visual radio). Right now, despite its success, it’s not enough for YouTube to be satisfied with server farms filled with filmed live performances, talking heads or sketches that look like old TV or indie films. The role of YouTube is to drive the next generation to do more, to take the next shot, to take risks, and to deftly incorporate the past to drive the future.

That is why, at this year’s Just For Laughs, my number one priority is welcoming the new-breed YouTube comedy stars to the event, and ensuring that they don’t merely meet their more traditional brethren and sistren, but find a way to collaborate with them…and change the humor industry.

And perhaps while doing so, find a nice niche within it for a gutsy, outspoken, ostentatious veteran like me to occupy ;)  

Posted by Andy Nulman , Co-Founder of Just for Laughs Festival, Businessman, Professor