Google offers ‘time travel’ through Street View

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Google is claiming that by using its Street View service, you can at least get an idea of how a street or monument looked a few years ago.

Google says that “time travel” is possible. At least partially. You may not yet travel back in time and look at the dinosaurs up close but Google is claiming that by using its Street View service, you can at least get an idea of how a street or monument looked a few years ago.

“Starting today, you can travel to the past to see how a place has changed over the years by exploring Street View imagery in Google Maps for desktop. We’ve gathered historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007 to create this digital time capsule of the world,” said Vinay Shet, a product manager with Google Street View team.

In some cases, where the area has significantly changed in the last few years, the new Street View feature offers incredible insight. For example you can “see a landmark’s growth from the ground up, like the Freedom Tower in New York City or the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil”.

Shet added that “this new feature can also serve as a digital timeline of recent history, like the reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan” or users can “experience different seasons and see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter”.

The feature, which will be available to Street View users on personal computers from today, can be accessed by clicking a “clock icon” on the top left notification bar in a Street View web page.

While users in India can explore different regions of the world or even some famous India monuments and historical Indian sites using Street View, the feature doesn’t yet covers Indian roads. Google in 2011 started photographing Indian streets in Bangalore but the exercise was stopped after government officials raised security-related reservations. The company is still talking to government officials to resolve the issue.

 

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Motorola’s Moto 360 is one of the first Android Wear smartwatches

Not to be confused with the Xbox of the same name, the Moto 360 is Motorola’s new smartwatch, and one of the first to be announced with Android Wear.

Android Wear is Google’s just-announced new mobile operating system spin-off, a modified version of Android designed specifically for smartwatches and other wearables.

Google mentioned Motorola alongside HTC, Samsung, Asus, and LG as its hardware brand partners for Android Wear smartwatches, and Motorola responded by revealing its own offering in full.

The Moto 360 may look surprisingly like a traditional watch, but with Android Wear built in it’s anything but.

‘A truly modern timepiece’

In its announcement blog post Motorola’s Corporate Vice President of Product Management Lior Ron called the Moto 360 “a truly modern timepiece.”

“It’s time for a watch that looks and feels great and gives you the information you need, when you need it,” Ron wrote.

He emphasized the convenience and ease of use of getting notifications, checking appointments, perusing social networks, and even just checking the time and date with the Moto 360.

And like other Android Wear smartwatches, the Moto 360 relies heavily on Google Now’s voice command capabilities. Saying “OK, Google” will open up a variety of options.

Ron said to expect the Motorola Moto 360 “in a variety of styles globally in summer 2014, starting in the US.”

Motorola’s announcement of the Moto 360 was preceded by LG’s unveiling of the LG G Watch, its own Android Wear device.

  • “Before there was Android Wear, Google Glass was Google’s favorite wearable.” –¬†Michael Rougeau

READ ALSO: Google announces Android Wear, confirms smartwatch plans

Google announces Android Wear, confirms smartwatch plans

Google announces Android Wear, confirms smartwatch plans

 

Google on Tuesday announced Android Wear, “a project that extends Android to wearables” like smartwatches.

The announcement is aimed at  attracting developers, who can create apps for the new family of Android devices, before smartwatches and similar devices powered by Android Wear start appearing in the market.
“We’re always seeking new ways for technology to help people live their lives and this is just another step in that journey,” Sundar Pichai, who heads Android and Chrome divisions in Google, wrote on the company’s official blog.

According to Google, the smartwatches powered by Android Wear will show information “when you need it”, provide answers to spoken queries, monitor physical activity and allow access to other devices like a smartphone.

Goggle said that it was already working with several consumer electronics manufacturers, including Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring consumers watches powered by Android Wear later this year.

Google Glass Could Bring CRM Into Focus

Google Glass Could Bring CRM Into FocusCould Google Glass put an end to the laborious task of writing sales call reports? Perhaps — and that’s not all. Glass might one day recognize that familiar face you run into at a conference and jog your memory with the subject’s full profile. Glass could call up a household’s service history during a field call, or let a trainer virtually tag along on a sales call to dispense real-time advice.

Google last week debuted several trendy eyeglass frames for Glass, enabling the device to shed its dorky look while accommodating prescription lenses.

The more natural look means consumers likely will be more accepting of Glass once it becomes generally available — assuming it also sports a price point more in line with most people’s budgets.

The new Glass frames and support for nearsighted and farsighted people — who make up roughly half of the U.S. population — are also a boon for a smaller constituency, but one that is more likely to buy the first wave of devices and apps when they hit the market: businesses that decide to use Glass in their customer service and field service operations.

This embrace of Glass for business — and customers’ acceptance of a service rep wearing Google Glass — will be far easier now that the device can be worn with less of a sci-fi effect.

CRM, productivity and field service hold huge potential for Google Glass, and apps with these use cases in mind are likely to materialize sooner rather than later.

On the Trade Show Floor

For instance, one expected CRM-type use for Google Glass — both with and without facial recognition — will be on trade show floors or at conferences. There are Glass apps under development that can line up profiles for people who have scheduled meetings throughout the day or who are attending a meet-and-greet. When facial recognition is part of the mix — and despite Congress’ concerns, I believe it inevitably will be — the use cases in this scenario multiply.

The new frames also will be more acceptable to reps making sales calls while sporting Glass. Here, Salesforce.com may play a significant role, as Adam Honig indicated last year.

An integration between Glass and Salesforce.com could go well beyond pulling up contact profiles. A special feature could automatically log reports in Salesforce — a task most sales people loathe, he speculated.

Such an integration holds real promise for sales coaching, according to Honig. An app could allow coaches to directly observe and record the calls their sales teams make.

“No more flying to Indianapolis for that sales call just to watch Joe Salesman pitch a client,” he wrote. “Now sales managers can provide feedback both after the call has ended or in real time!”

Field Service Reps and Google Glass

Another intriguing use case — which, again, seems far more likely to materialize with the new frames — is in the field. A generation ago, field service reps were the first to adopt mobile CRM in smartphones and tablets — and before then in specialized devices.

App developers are looking to replicate that trend in situations where Google Glass is easier to use. Sullivan Solar Power, for example, early this year announced that it had developed a Google Glass app that gives field technicians “volumes” of electrical system data.

“Having two free hands is critical in a rooftop environment,” said Michael Chagala, director of information technology for Sullivan Solar Power, when announcing the app.

Sullivan Solar sees Google Glass assisting with training — and being put to more ambitious uses too. Collaboration in the industry via live-streaming video conferencing functionality is one of its goals for Google Glass. This means a team of experts can be with the technician at the job site virtually in order to diagnose a problem.