NFC or Near Field Communication is the big buzz word at the moment and everybody is talking about it. The truth is that the technology is nothing new and it has been around for a long time. Nokia had an NFC enabled phone in 2007, it was called the Nokia 6131.
Google has made the term mainstream with their announcement of Google Wallet and most people think of NFC as a way to pay with their mobile device. But that is not all.
We actually have a wall of NFC to showcase all kinds of uses for the technology right in our office.
So what else can you do with NFC apart from using it for payments?
There are already plenty of examples out there.
Below you can find 6 examples on how NFC can be used right now.
1. Use your NFC enabled phone as the key to your hotel room
For the recent Olympics in London a Holiday Inn Hotel gave their VIP customers a Samsung Galaxy S3 as part of their 40 VIP rooms. The guests were able to check in and out of the hotel, as well as change the AC, control the TV, and unlock their rooms with the phone.
Using NFC in your phone as a key to open doors has been used in the Enterprise world as well. The phones were used to enable physical access systems in buildings and track employee time-clock check-ins and attendance, access staff parking areas or cafeterias and pay for services.
NFC tags could be placed inside meeting or conference rooms, and attendees could tap their compatible devices to silence them or to turn on Wi-Fi, for example.
Google had a nice little get together today where they talked about their mapping solutions, Google Maps, Google Earth, Navigation, Streetview etc. etc.
Google has been obsessed with maps for at least a decade now and they made the below video to tell you about their history:
So what is it that Google is envisioning for the future?
First of all there is StreetView wherever there wasn’t before. Google developed the StreetTrecker, a portable device to map out areas that can’t be reached by car, bike or bicycle.
It is about 20kg and it has batteries that will last all day.
Think about exploring every little aspect of the Grand Canyon simple within Google Earth. It can also be used to map your favourite shopping mall.
Take it offline
The next big thing is offline Google Maps, yes you have read correctly. I am most excited about this one as I am overseas at the moment and constantly trying to find my way around, but don’t want to use roaming data so i always have to find a free wifi connection, thank you Starbucks.
Offline Google Maps for Android are coming in the next few weeks. Users will be able to take maps offline from more than 100 countries.
The next dimension
Google has had 3D models in Google Earth since 2006 and today they announced that they will begin adding 3D model to entire metropolitan areas to mobile devices.
This is possible thanks to a combination of a new imagery rendering techniques and computer vision that lets Google automatically create 3D cityscapes, complete with buildings, terrain and even landscaping, from 45-degree aerial imagery.
By the end of the year the aim is to have 3D coverage for metropolitan areas with a combined population of 300 million people.
The rumours have been around for a while but Google finally unveiled Project glass.
Google X – the secret Google lab that focuses on technology that should reach the masses. They worked on this project to deliver a technology that should work for you, to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t. Augmented reality puts information in your field of view with information about your surroundings, answers to questions you asked and waypoints on maps if you want directions. It can also take picture that you can instantly share with your Google+ circles.
check out the video below to get an idea of what it is capable off.
The glasses are in Beta testing at the moment and Google hasn’t released and dates or prices for it yet.
It is fair to assume that Google will release the technology and glasses manufacturers will be able to implement it into their creations.
A great presentation by Brendan ‘Bob’ Forster last night @ Google with an awesome turn out of about 70 YoungBloods supporters from various agencies across Sydney.
First of all… YoungBloods is a platform for young advertising people to socialise, network and have a say on industry issues. The YoungBloods committee puts on a number of events during the year that anyone can attend. These events range from presentations held by leaders in our industry, trivia nights and industry themed parties.
Interested? Click here to become a YoungBlood or to be informed of these events.
Back to ‘Innovation @ Google’ presentation…
Bob (Brendan Forster), who is a Product Specialist at Google, spoke about Google’s innovation and various initiatives that have made significant difference to consumerism on a global scale.
The most notable of these initiatives would have been the Google Crises Response – a project which involves Google helping to connect people with information and their loved ones in times of disaster. For instance, during Cyclone Yasi and the Australian floods of 2011, Google provided a list of resources and phone numbers to facilitate emergency services, donations, volunteers and help people connect with loved ones.
Bob also explained Google X Lab, which is more or less a secret facility run by Google that works on ‘big ideas for the future’. He also gave examples on how Google has enabled previously unachievable ideas through technology eg The Johnny Cash Project, which allowed fans across the globe to contribute to a global art project which is ultimately a tribute to Johnny Cash. Bob also spoke about how Google has made significant progress in providing powerful consumer insights through search and further more, assisting consumers who want to engage everywhere at any time through mobile.
All in all it was a pretty inspiring presentation and well done to the YoungBloods team for organizing the event!
1. How many hours of video were uploaded to YouTube in 2010?
2. What percentage of smartphone owners, use their device while shopping?
3. What Australian state most frequently searches for the weather forecast?
As a planner, I’m always chasing that one research tool to bring them all together, and while Think Insights with Google attempts to do just that, it does fall short in a few areas. It’s missing the core search functionality that is the cornerstone of Google’s business. After all, the nirvana of a planner research tool would provide just that, a simple way to intelligently search and prioritise, facts, stats and behavioural trends based on a simple question, such as: ‘How many Australian’s use their laptop in the kitchen while cooking?’
On the flip side, this is a good resource if you are looking for general information on search and mobile related topics, particularly for Google brand related products. And, it does include over 100 custom reports, so you can certainly pop it on the list of go-to resources for all things digital.
My personal favourite resources on the site are: Our Mobile Planet tool (though the data is a little shady for the emerging markets such as India and China) and the Research Library finder.
Ultimately, Think Insights with Google is the perfect tool for media planners, and a useful resource for digital strategists too. Despite it’s downfalls it is one of the best free resources that I have found.
Going through the San Diego Comic Con 2011 toy lists, came across this awesome set of Andrew Bell Google Android figurines exclusive to the show. Personal favs little moustachey and capey are just too cool to turn down (I’ve made these names up, you should be able to deduce which ones they are). Any mad bastards in the states wanna help a bro out and nab me a set for my desk?
They really should include these figurines with every Android sold!
For the last few years Google has always stayed ahead of its rivals with products like Google Earth, Streetview, Maps etc but Nokia just launched the Beta of Ovi maps in 3D and it is mind blowing! Every texture is rendered in 3D on every building (for the major cities they have completed) and it is a lot of fun to play with. It’s not often that people in the office gather around a monitor and say “wow”… but today it happened. Well played Nokia – this is really cool.
Cities mapped in 3D in Ovi are : San Francisco, New York, Toronto, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Helsinki, Milan, Prague, London, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Madrid, Oslo, Wien, Florence, Venice.
I am sure many of you might have already seen this today, but Google has launched a new looking home page, it is not another Google test. The new look home page which now includes a fancy grey stripe at the top, a smaller logo and the links moved to the bottom of the browser was introduced to streamline the experience across multiple devices such as the tablet and the mobile. It continues to focus on three core design principles: Focus, Elasticity and effortlessness.
They are continuing to make changes over the coming months with a noticeable change to the search engine results page (SERP). See below. Display URLs will be moved up under the headline, whilst it seems they are changing the colour on the left navigational menu (grey and red) and introducing a slight grey box across the search bar. I also noticed that the tiny blue line on the top navigational bar has changed to a tiny red line, could this mean Google is moving towards a dominate red and grey themed page, instead of the blue?
I personally like the new look, however, not everyone will be a fan.
Googles I/O event is in its second day and personally I was more excited about yesterdays announcements, but Google is not stopping with new and improved ideas.
Today they showed off their Google TV running a new honeycomb UI that will be released later this year.
You will be able to run your apps and widgets on the screen and there will be a much faster way to get back to your live TV.
The Google TV remote app was always a bit too complicated and Google announced today that the source code for it will be made open source (source code here) so anyone can make their own and improve it. The Anymote protocol code is also available (here) which means you can integrate it into phones and tablets.
More things to come as well as soon as Android 3.1 will hit the TVs – mentions of 3D support and Game Controller support for example.
The Android Market was another topic for Google today and they announced improvements on discovering apps – the market has grown to over 200000 apps and it is quite hard to find the good ones. Now there are 5 new features that will help you find the next Angry Birds:
New Top app charts – fresh new look and country specific Editor’s choice section – apps chosen by Google Top Developers section – a special icon next to the name of the developers that fit the criteria improved related apps trending apps – it shows you which apps are growing the fastest
Right now they are only on the web based version of the market, but Google mentioned that it will come soon to the phone and tablet versions of the market.
From June onwards the market will also support larger apps – up to 4GB – and it will give the developers the ability to exclude specific handsets – sorry HTC Magics
So what was left for Google? Chrome OS
The biggest improvements to Googles OS are that it will support Netflix and Hulu (can you please hurry up and establish yourself in Australia) right out of the box.
There will be new hardware – both Samsung and Acer models were shown off and they will include offline versions of Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs. They will probably hit the market in a few month.
Chrome OS laptops will cost you nothing upfront – instead you will pay a monthly subscription that includes regular software and hardware upgrades.
There was also a teaser that Samsung is going to build a desktop version called Chromebox that will run Chrome OS
And who would have guessed, but there will be Angry Birds at the Chrome Web Store – it is build in WebGL, but also has Canvas support so it should run in different browsers to Chrome, however it will get exclusive content like chromebombs.
If you have been left out of the Chrome Web store you will be pleased to know that it is now available worldwide.
Google started as an online search engine that within month make a massive impact and took over the space and we all love googling.
Last night Google had their annual I/O event and the future seems to be all about everything you can imaging. Google will be in your life if you like it or not.
Android has been the big buzz word for a while now and with 200000 apps in the Android market, 400000 daily Android activations and a lot of manufacturers joining the Android hardware bandwagon, this train is not going to stop.
One of the big negative aspects of Android is its fragmantation and Google announced today that the new version of its OS, called Ice Cream Sandwich, will change all that. Hardware manufacturers had to promise that newly released devices will need to be capable of new instances of the Google OS for at least 18 month of the hardware release. The new OS starting with Ice Cream Sandwich will also run on both handsets and tablets and will be smart enough to adjust itself to the actual device capabilities.
It is the step in the right direction, but personally I don’t it will stop people like HTC and Samsung to take forever to release the new OS because they are customizing theirs so heavily.
But Android will not be limited to mobile devices anymore.
Google announced the Android Open Accessory API which is based on Arduino, the universal open source hardware. This means that Android can live in any device you can imagine – fridges, medical equipment, exercise equipment and and and
This API will be available at the end of the year so next year we will be overrun with Android devices.
Google Music was announced today as well and Google is going after Amazon and Apple (even though apple isn’t ready yet) by offering a music locker that seems to be worth using. It is really targeted at hard core music fans that can upload their nicely sorted and curated music collection to the Google cloud and then listen to it on any Android device they own.
Then Google announced something new – Home Automation with Android@Home
Their vision is to have little Droid doing all the work for you – Open source libraries will allow developers to create apps that are Android compliant. This way you can dim the lights from your couch, start the washing machine on your way home from work – all you need is a Android@Home receiver.
Another shot at Apple here too as the new libraries incorporate Google tungsten that will allow you to stream your Google Music collection to any speaker in your house – no more Apple Air play
This was only Day 1 of the I/O and there is more to come in the next 24 hours. We haven’t heard anything about Google TV or Chrome. Does Google have something bigger still to come?
Only time will tell – Let me know your thoughts on Googles announcements in the comments below.
It’s crept up on us but it’s little more than a week away… and for anyone in digital The Circus Festival is shaping up to be a stellar event with a lot of interesting speakers (on Wed 23) from Nike, Google, W+K, Contagious, and the brilliant Jeff Cole (Centre for Future Digital) etc …then Battle of the Big Thinkers, Pencil Case Workshops followed by AWARD award winners event on Friday.
There’s some FREE parts anyone can attend (so sign up soon) like the ‘images from adland’ exhibition. Overall pricing for an event pass and individual parts can be booked from here.
Cyber crime and Twitter scams make good headlines but somewhere underground there are a few concerned citizens that take a vigilante approach to dealing with these scammers and fraudsters. For instance http://www.419eater.com/ bait scammers using highly creative methods to engage Nigerian conmen, waste their time and then attempt expose them. There’s also the Salty droid who names and shames would-be conmen who utilize Twitter and other channels to exploit consumers. But it turns out that life of a digital freedom fighter is not easy.
Here’s the problem : Many scams consist of intelligent, organised individuals and groups. They syndicate and they collaborate, and they actively wage a reverse war on the people trying to expose them. Ironically scammers are using the same processes created to report spammers to shut down the people trying to expose them.
Sadly YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo accounts etc belonging to web vigilantes trying to alert people to scams are being shut down faster than than those belonging to the scammers. How do I know this? Read on:
The Sad Story of the SaltyDroid
I’m not sure how I first came across the Droid on Twitter but I became interested in the Droid’s outspoken ‘attacks’ on certain individuals. Some of the people it was targeting had HUGE followings on Twitter, some with high profiles and. SaltyDroid had no qualms in confronting them directly in public view and alerting other users. I have no reason to doubt that SaltyDroid’s only purpose was to expose people it believed were engaged in unethical practices (such as this one which was exposed).
I noticed a few months ago that SaltyDroid (which had a few thousand Twitter followers) just ‘vanished’. The blog was still alive and kicking so I wrote an email to find out what the story.
Me: “What happened? Where did your accounts go?”
Salty Droid: “I lost. I’m basically banned from the Internet. Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo, Bluehost, Youtube, etc. Everywhere I go the scammers file false complaints and horrific lies about me. The web companies all default to caving in and banning you rather than risking "trouble". Most of them, and especially Twitter, do it with zero notice, process, or chance to respond. It says sad things about the state of free speech on the all important fringes … IMO.
I don’t have time to fight the web companies and the scammers … so I just gave up on the web companies. I’m on a special free speech server where some really great people take special care of me … and otherwise I’m silenced.
And the Twitter bannings are not as bad as the death threats, the private investigators, the plots against my personal life, etc.”
The Droid also let me know that although he began his pursuit anonymously it wasn’t long before a syndicate of scammers found him at which point the he decided it would be safer to unmask the droid. Revealing himself as a lawyer it gives the whole saga an even bigger sense of irony.
In summary, it’s easier for a scammer to have a web vigilante shut down than vice versa. The Droid is now absent from all social networks and yet the people being named in his blog continue to tweet freely etc. In an age where consumers are able to interact so easily with anyone from close friends to complete strangers there is no easy and quick way of distributing warning messages to others in the case of genuine scams. That’s a service SaltyDroid was attempting to provide before being shut down in social media circles. The internet at present sometimes appears lawless and wide open territory for the scammers, and the presence of government and local authority is limited, and at best slow moving. I’m not condoning Salty droids methods or even agreeing with all his posts but freedom of speech is important so I certainly don’t want to see people prepared to take on these issues disappear especially with the bad guys roaming free so easily.
Beware wolves in birds clothing: Currently I know of one major Twitter account belonging to a convicted spammer in Australia with close to 100,000 followers. This person appears free to be able to act on Twitter regardless of their history. Sadly the only way you are likely to hear the name of this person is via someone like SaltyDroid.
What can you do? 1. Send this link on to people in the industry.
2. Copy and paste this story – reproduce it in your own blog.
I believe Internet TVs are the future and this seems to be a great step into the right direction.
Sony is hitting the ground running too as the new TVs will be available in the US from this weekend and will cost from USD399 (24”) to USD1399 (46”) – With the Aussie dollar being strong there might be a bargain in here
The issue: traversing a busy urban street in a 360-degree photographic bubble can be disorienting, especially when searching for a specific address or business
The solution: Microsoft Street Slide, developed by MS Research. Zoom out of your panoramic bubble and the street is presented as a dynamic, multi-perspective "strip" giving you an instant visual summary of the surroundings.
Supposedly Microsoft is already working on taking Street Slide mobile with an iPhone port, and probably a version for the upcoming Windows Phone 7 series.
Unfortunately, don’t expect this to be released anytime soon as the team has only processed about 2400 panoramas so far covering just 4 kilometers of streets.
For those who haven’t seen it here’s a quick look at ‘live traffic’ function for Sydney on the iPhone Google maps app. Screenshot below.
So how good is it? Well, it’s ok but a long way from perfect. Driving around on a busy Saturday afternoon there were a lot of yellow roads which should have been red, green ones that should have been yellow etc. I don’t blame the app or Google for the quality of the data – I’m sure pretty the info is from the RTA
Marks out of 10 = 6
Red=congested, Yellow=slow but moving, Green=all clear.
Tip: Google maps app with GPS and traffic updates drains your battery… make sure you have a power source in the car.
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