Editor's note: Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.
The first memory I have of watching a movie is with my dad. I was around four years old, and one afternoon he fired up our bulky, '80s-style front-projection TV and the Betamax, and popped in Star Wars. Of course, it was *amazing*, and I've watched the original trilogy a dozen times since.

It probably isn't a surprise that there are tons of Star Wars fans like me here at Google. You can regularly spot Darth Vaders, dogs dressed like Yoda, and even the occasionalstormtrooper, roaming the halls of our data centers (probably still looking for those droids). So when we first heard about Episode VII, we started thinking about what a Google tribute to these epic stories might look like: “Wouldn't it be cool if there was some sort of Star Wars thingy in Search? The Millennium Falcon in Cardboard would be sweet! What if Google Translate could decipher galactic languages?"... and on, and on, and on. As this list of ideas grew, so too did the band of passionate engineers and product folks who wanted to build them.

We reached out to our friends at Lucasfilm and Disney, and since then we’ve been working together on building It's a place for fans, by fans, and starting today you can choose the light or the dark side, and then watch your favorite Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome and many more transform to reflect your path. And that's just the beginning. We've got more coming between now and opening night—the Millennium Falcon in all its (virtual reality) glory included, so stay tuned. And we've hidden a few easter eggs, too. So awaken the Force within, and be on the lookout for things from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

See you in line at the theater in December. I'll be there with my dad.


For years Canadian families have turned to YouTube to ask questions, explore the world around them, and be entertained from nursery rhymes to the shows we love.  And today people have spent more hours watching Wheels on the Bus on YouTube, than Psy’s Gangnam Style!

Today, we’re launching YouTube Kids in Canada - an app built with parents and children in mind that makes it easier for kids to find videos on topics they want to explore. Since we launched YouTube Kids in the US, it’s been downloaded more than 10 million times by families who rate it among the top kids apps available. This local version of YouTube Kids puts the content we love in Canada front and centre - think  Wild Kratts at the touch of a button and Treehouse Direct on hand to answer tricky questions from curious minds. It’s our first step in reimagining YouTube for families and it’s now available to download for free on Google Play and the App Store. Here are some of the key features:

Bright and playful design
Your 4-year-old may already be a swiping expert, but the app’s design makes it even easier for little thumbs to navigate with larger images and bold icons. And we’ve built in voice search so that even if your child can’t spell or type, they can still find videos of things they’re curious about.

Family-focused content
We’ve built the YouTube Kids app to be a safer version of YouTube, a family-friendly place for kids to explore their imagination and curiosity. You can browse channels and playlists in four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. Your favourite shows like Teletubbies, HooplaKidz, Thomas the Tank Engine, and National Geographic Kids are in YouTube Kids. You’ll also find popular content from Canadian producers and broadcasters such as Kids' CBC, Super Simple Songs and TVO Kids.

Parental controls
We’ve built options into the app that help you control the experience for your kids and put parents in the driving seat.
  • Learn how the app works: When parents open YouTube Kids, they learn upfront how our systems choose and recommend content and how to flag videos. We always try to make the videos available in the app family-friendly, but no system is perfect. So if you ever find a video you’re concerned about, please flag it. This helps make YouTube Kids better for everyone.
  • Search settings: We’ll also prompt you to make a choice about how broadly you want your child to explore - turn search on to access millions of family-friendly videos, or turn search off to restrict your child’s experience to a more limited set. Either way, parents decide the right experience for their family from the get-go.
  • Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to. (You’re welcome. ;)
  • Sound settings: Sometimes you need a little peace and quiet! You have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching while you catch a breath.
  • Custom passcode: Parents have the ability to set their own passcode, and to access settings and other parental information in the app.
  • Logged out experience: The app is currently a signed-out experience with no ties to an account. We’ve also removed all features that are linked to an account like uploading, sharing, liking, etc.

YouTube Kids on the big screen:
You can now also watch YouTube Kids as a family on your big screen using Chromecast, Apple TV, game consoles or a smartTV.

We’re so excited to bring YouTube Kids to Canada, and look forward to your ideas too so that we can better help your family explore, learn and sing along. From our family to yours, happy exploring!
Angela Y. Lin, Head of Kids and Learning for North America, YouTube, recently watched “The Benefits of a Bilingual Brain

Halloween is a just few days away, which means it’s officially crunch time to finish your costume. If you’ve waited until the last minute to pick a Halloween outfit, you’re not alone. Fifty per cent of costume and decoration searches in Canada happen within 5 days of Halloween.

YouTube is the ultimate Halloween destination from pumpkin carving tips to decorations and clever ideas on what to do with your leftover Halloween candy... and of course costume ideas. And with costumes like Harley Quinn, Minions, Donald Trump, Star Wars, Max Max and Left Shark topping the search charts on Google in Canada this year, expect a lot superheroes, cartoons and pop culture icons trick-or-treating at your door.

Tune into some of your favourite Canadian YouTube channels for tutorials featuring 2015’s most popular costumes, plus last minute costumes you can throw together in mere minutes to make this October 31st the spookiest yet.

The Sorry Girls: Harley Quinn
Friends Kelsey and Becky started their YouTube channel while attending university together five years ago. Since then The Sorry Girls have become a destination for DIY and the latest style in home and fashion. This Halloween, they have tutorials for two of the year’s most searched Halloween costumes, Harley Quinn and Furiosa from Mad Max. Find out how you can channel the thrill and chaos of fury road and one of this year’s biggest blockbuster hits.
Procrastinator Tip: Don’t have much time to put together a costume before Saturday? You can also check out The Sorry Girls’ quick and easy last minute costume ideas, mainly made up of items from around your house!

LaurDIY: Baymax
Canada’s DIY darling LaurDIY has a ton of costume tutorials up her sleeve for her fans including the adorable Baymax, a top searched costume this year. The Toronto native started her channel from her dorm room in 2012, and has been spreading glitter and joy to fans ever since - all 2.5 million of them!

Chelsimadonna: Josie and the Pussycats
Looking for a group costume with your friends this Halloween? Newfoundlander Chelsi is kicking it ‘old school’ this year with a Josie and the Pussycats group costume tutorial. As a singer herself, needless to say, Chelsi pulls off this look!
CutePolish: Halloween Nail Art
Dressing up not your thing? Sandi of CutePolish - the #1 nail art channel on YouTube - has the ultimate playlist for Halloween nail art. From skeletons to candy corn, this Windsor, Ontario creative has nail art designs for you, whether you’re looking for something spooky or sweet.
We hope these YouTubers' tutorials can help make this Halloween your best yet. Use their tricks and share some of your own to make the most of this weekend, and have a happy Halloween!

Posted by Jenn Kaiser, Communications Manager, YouTube Canada.

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blog post is from our friends at Buffer Festival 2015. 
Ten years have now passed since the first YouTube video was uploaded - an 18-second clip about how cool elephants are shot at the San Diego Zoo. Today YouTube has grown to become the biggest video platform on the web, and fans have turned creators into the biggest names in entertainment.
As long as most of us can remember, celebrities have existed in a separate world; fans can admire from afar, but any meaningful interaction is strictly off-limits. For the third year, Buffer Festival shows us how celebrity criteria has changed in the past decade and the value of meaningful, authentic engagement.
This weekend, many of the most acclaimed YouTube creators will be in Toronto for Buffer Festival. Fans will have a chance to meet the YouTubers whose lives they have been following online and speak to them in person, taking selfies and recording videos along the way. For the first time this year, we’ll also be livestreaming the red carpet of our Gala Premiere. Starting at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, October 23, tune into or YouTube to catch the red carpet live, as well as premiere videos from some of YouTube’s most notable personalities such as Shay Carl, Jus Reign, Matthew Santoro, Toby Turner and more!
Festival attendees will get the chance to see their favourite YouTubers’ work in theatres throughout the city. From comedy sketches to the world of beauty and DIY, this year’s screenings offer something for everyone from the gamer to the fashionista.
For aspiring YouTube Creators, we’re excited to announce Creator Day, a chance for emerging creators to learn from the professionals, with successful YouTubers, industry professionals and YouTube experts offering guidance on a variety of topics relevant to their trade, such as videography, editing, and monetizing content.
Last year, thousands of fans came out to meet their favourite YouTube stars and get a first glance at their new videos. The breakout success of Buffer Festival and its creators demonstrates loud and clear just how much Canada loves YouTube and the creators who delight us, make us think and make us laugh.
To see your YouTube idols live, you can purchase tickets for Buffer Festival this weekend at
Posted by the Organizers of Buffer Festival.

Here’s a timely phrase that’s on the mind of a lot of Canadians this year: how to vote.
This election day, Google has the answer to this important question and a whole lot more! From the ballot box to watching live results, here’s what you need to know to participate in your democracy on October 19th.

Step 1:  Make sure you know how and where to vote—and who’s on your ballot!

For the first time ever in Canada, simple searches for [how do i vote], [register to vote] and [my election candidates] will confirm what you need to bring to the polls, and will show you who is running in your riding on Monday.  
Step 2: Pledge to Vote
You’ve found all the information you need for Monday, but have you pledged to vote yet? Visit our interactive tool and make your pledge to vote today. And don’t forget to challenge your friends and remind them how important it is to head to the polls!

Go to and share why you are turning out to vote.  
Step 3: Track the results
After the polls close on Monday, you can track all the real-time election results by searching [election results]. If you use Google Now, you’ll get updates on the winners straight from the app to your smartphone!
Step 4: Watch election night coverage
Tune in to the latest live news coverage from Canadian broadcasters at

Throughout the election, Canadians have turned to YouTube as a source of news, commentary and insight. We’ve tuned into YouTube to watch our leaders debate live, and for the latest election trending videos.

Starting at 5PM on October 19th, tune into the YouTube Canada Elections Hub at for live election coverage from Canadians news organizations such as Global News, CBC, RadioCanada and Vice News.

All set Canada? Happy Voting!

Kate Sokolov, Program Manager, Politics & Elections Google


As voting day fast approaches, let’s take a step back to look at the issues, stories and leaders Canadians searched over the 78 day election.

Leader Searches
At the outset of the election we looked at the most searched federal leader in each of Canada’s 338 ridings. In the month of July, Stephen Harper was the most searched federal leader in 56% of Canada’s ridings. The number didn’t change much after the campaign got underway, when Stephen Harper remained the most searched leader in 54% of ridings. Justin Trudeau was the top searched leader in 33% of ridings and Thomas Mulcair was the top search in 10% of ridings.

We just ran the numbers for October and have seen a different pattern emerge as the election continues. In October, Justin Trudeau has become the top searched leader in 50% of Canadian ridings, Stephen Harper in 45% of ridings, and Thomas Mulcair in 3%.

A riding-by-riding breakdown of search interest for the federal leaders over the course of the campaign.

In early September CBC’s Peter Mansbridge sat down with each of the federal leaders. And, with each interview came a jump in searches as Canadians went online to learn more about the various party leaders

In terms of the issues that have generated the most search interest over the course of the campaign, the refugee crisis and niqab saw the largest spike in searches along with several issues associated with Canada’s economy.

The refugee crisis generated strong search activity across the country. To see what was the top searched issue in your riding, explore this interactive map.

The only real competition for Canadian search attention during the campaign was Canada’s own Toronto Blue Jays. So with two big October showdowns looming on the calendar, we took a look at how interest in the Jays compared with interest in our democracy. Looks like a dead heat!


Issues aside, Canadians are clearly passionate about participating in their democracy and making an informed decision come voting day. The top question Canadians searched about the election: When is the election? The answer is, of course, Monday October 19th.

Mark your calendar… and see you at the polls!

It’s just under a month to go before Canadians head to the polls... and the stakes are high as the five federal party leaders take the stage tonight for the first French language debate, hosted by Radio-Canada, La Presse and Télé-Québec. To watch, go to at 8pm ET, where the entire debate will be streamed in both French and English.


As the federal election campaign heats up, Canadians are making sure they’re prepared for voting day. Last weekend, the phrase ‘How do I register to Vote?’ was a trending search on Google. And ‘When is the Canadian election?’ remains a top searched question in Canada (Answer: October 19th!).

If you plan on exercising your franchise on that day - why not #PledgeToVote and challenge your social network to do the same? Head over to, to take the pledge today.

Enjoy tonight’s debate. And make sure to follow tomorrow for the latest analysis and coverage from the campaign trail.