Tag: Google

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Will the New Google Maps Destroy the Fun of Travel?

May 29, 2013 at 4:54 PM | by | Comment (1)

Forbes has a nice little post about the new version of Google Maps that's getting rolled out. Apparently it has all kinds of neat features. There is a new interface that pops up information cards whenever you search for an address. On the card are options to save the location, get directions, see the Street View, and so on. There are options for comparing trip versions—should you hop on a bus or drive—and a smoother, more detailed map. Slick.

And then at the very bottom of the post there's a mention about how the new Google Maps version has new algorithms for directing users to restaurants and other facilities. Google will compile everything it knows about you—your clicks and preferences, and you social networks, and what you mention over email—to shape the personalize the information it shows you just like it does with search results.

Theoretically users will get to see more of what they prefer, and less of what they don't. Concludes Forbes: "very cool."

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Google Glass Will Not Be a Must-Have Travel Accessory

May 7, 2013 at 4:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

Sergey Brin wearing the glasses

Google Glass Google Glass Google Glass. It's everywhere and yet it's nowhere. The wearable computing glasses are only beginning a trial on actual consumers, and already businesses are eager to ban them.

The NY Times is all over the controversy this week, explaining that the "glasseslike device allows Internet access, as well as the shooting of photos and video, raising concerns about privacy and distraction." Beating them to the punch is Saturday Night Live, whose hilarious anti-Glass sketch with Fred Armisen sums up the public sentiment.

So, where won't you be able to wear Google Glass? Our sister site VegasChatter reported in mid-April that Las Vegas strip clubs are banning them, and casinos are considering a ban. In addition, SFist relays that a Seattle dive bar has banned them, and groups are rising up with petitions against the gadget.

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Who'll Be Flying from Google's Private Airport Terminal?

April 17, 2013 at 12:50 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's happening. A Google airline terminal is happening.

Two months ago we hinted that Google was looking to drop some dough on some tarmac to call their very own. And, according to Airport World, that plan for a Google Terminal at San Jose International is moving full speed ahead after the San José City Council gave the green light for Signature Flight Support to sign a 50-year lease for land at the airport.

It's on that 29-acre piece of land that Signature (a fixed-base operator, or FBO) plans to put $82 million into the construction of 270,000 square feet of LEED Gold facilities (inclusive of the 17,000 square foot terminal) exclusively for "private jets belonging to Google chiefs and other Silicon Valley businesses." So, in other words, not your average travelers or even the highest tier frequent flyers will be welcome.

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Hey, Who's Up for the Inevitable April Fools' Day Travel Gags?

April 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Someday, someone will explain to us the mirth to be found in having the Internet become useless every year on April 1st. It's not that we harbor any hostility toward people who write things that are false but plausible, and who then giggle when people belie—actually, no. Those people are ridiculous and they make the world a worse place to live.

There was maybe a marginal justification for their existence when the Internet was younger. Back then April Fools' Day pranks were the web advertising equivalent of Superbowl commercials. But now that the White House is posting pranks the whole thing is just grating.

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Google Street View Adds Japan's Uninhabitable Nuclear Zone

March 29, 2013 at 2:36 PM | by | Comments (0)

You guys know that we have this weird love-hate relationship with Google Earth and Google Maps, which have basically become de facto travel technology because of all the insane places that Google has photographed. For a small taste of our ambivalence, see here and here for discussions regarding the phrase "now you can travel without ever leaving the comfort of your home." Has a douchier thing ever been said, anywhere? Travel should—and in a very precise sense, just is—about leaving your home.

That said, there are a couple of places we don't see ourselves traveling to. If Google wants to photograph those and dump them into Earth or Maps, we'll happily indulge ourselves for a few hours (read: days). Cue this news that Google Street View has just added shots of Namie, a city that used to house 21,000 residents but is right in the center of the Japanese nuclear zone created by the earthquake plus tsunami two years ago that destroyed the Fukushima plant.

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Scheduled for Arrival: A Google Airport Terminal

February 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

We’re all about the latest and greatest when it comes to airports. From new restaurants, lounges, and even yoga rooms, if it’s taking place in the airport we want to know about it. That’s why we were a little saddened to learn about one airport terminal in California that we probably won’t be able to check out anytime soon. That’s because we don’t have loads of cash, and we don’t have a corner office over at Google.

Apparently there’s such an influx of private business jets in and out of San Jose International Airport that Google is on the cusp of building their own terminal.

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New Search Features Hit Gmail to Ease Travel Disorganization

December 27, 2012 at 9:01 AM | by | Comments (0)

We realize that there are many flavors of web-based email from which to choose, and each and every one of them has their plusses and minuses. For those preferring to store and send travel tidbits—and kitty pictures—through Gmail, it looks like things are getting a little bit of an update.

Everyone knows that Google is darn good at searching for stuff, and if you’ve used Gmail before it’s no surprise that searching your inbox is part of its functionality. However, looking through certain attachments and other documents wasn’t really an option, but that’s changing for the better. The latest update from the Google family is great for travelers and receipt hoarders, as certain items are now search-friendly.

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First Comes the Android App, Then Come Mobile Boarding Passes on JetBlue

October 22, 2012 at 9:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

JetBlue is usually pretty on top of stuff when it comes to technology, but it’s been a long time coming for them to jump on the Android bandwagon. Thankfully users of Android phones can now do the mobile app thing with JetBlue, as the carrier just released the latest version of their app in the Google Play store.

If you’ve got a couple different flavors of mobile operating systems this might not be worth an additional download, as much of the stuff is the same when compared to what’s available on the iPhone. Android or iOS will get you access to postcards, TrueBlue enrollment opportunities, in-flight entertainment schedules, flight schedules, and more. The only thing missing is the capability to support a mobile boarding pass, but JetBlue did reveal a little clue...

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Google Now Wants to Tell You Where to Travel, What to Look at

October 12, 2012 at 4:30 PM | by | Comment (1)

To many people - critics and investors alike - Google may seem like a privacy-violating advertising platform built that has some really innovative search and social media technology. But the Mountain View company wants you to know they're committed to being so much more. It's not just that they harvest all of the data based on the information you seek and the people with whom you interact. They also want to be know where people travel, where people eat, and where people shop.

Or more precisely: Google already knows where people do all of those things (the company even published a nice infographic of where Americans traveled last summer). What the search giant actually now wants to know is where you travel, eat, and shop. And to get its hands on that data, it's going to help you. "Help."

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Boingo and Google Team Up for a Little Free WiFi This Month

September 17, 2012 at 9:42 AM | by | Comment (1)

Huzzah—that’s what would be saying if Google was truly getting into the WiFi business, but for now we’ll just settle with the fact that they’re teaming up with Boingo. They’re partnering up to offer up around 4,000 WiFi hotspots for free, and thankfully that includes plenty of locations that do their thing at the airport.

Technically Google Play—the go to spot to buy Android apps—is sponsoring this latest giveaway, so unfortunately you’re out of luck if you’re looking to connect with your iPhone.

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Google Maps is Going 3D!

June 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

Google just wrapped up a live press conference announcing a bunch of Google Maps upgrades. The invite hit people's inboxes last Friday, promising that the Mountain View tech company would unveil features taking Maps to "the next dimension." Summaries are beginning to hit the web, and you can follow what happened from minute one by scrolling to the bottom of the CNet liveblog and reading up.

Originally there was some debate over whether the "next dimension" hint meant Maps was going 3D or getting a timeline. At the very least the 3D rumors were accurate. Google Earth project manager Peter Birch explained that technology has only just recently gotten good enough to make realistic 3D maps, with programmers now using "automated technology to extract 3D from aerial images" and then employing stereophotogrammetry—which Wikipedia describes as a "sophisticated technique...[for] estimating the three-dimensional coordinates of points on an object"—to reconstruct full 3D models of cities. Even the trees are in 3D.

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The Google Heat Map of Global Touristiness

May 17, 2012 at 5:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

The standard recipe for a Google Maps mashup is fairly straight-forward. You find a list of where things are, you code the locations appropriately, and then you put everything on a map. Even though the process is a little bit paint-by-numbers, it can still lead to some very interesting and even mildly addictive results. The Google Incident Maps mashup is one of the better examples in that regard, and the much older Celebrity Houses mashup is an even more basic template.

But if you mix in just a little more programming magic—and you get really creative about what how you grab and package the data - you can do some pretty fascinating stuff. The developers at the Estonian design firm Bluemoon built a script to scrape Panoramio, which is a photo sharing site, and to extract all of the geo-locations from the uploaded photos. Then they created a heatmap based on where photos were taken. The result is this mashup, which according to the project homepage is a global map color-coded "by level of touristiness."

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