Posts Tagged ‘google’

Legal gridlock ahead for driverless cars?

February 9, 2012

We’re used to seeing the latest technological revolutions sweeping through stores and into our homes and offices. From the rise of mobile phones, to smartphones and tablets, it seems that society is prepared to embrace the rapidly increasing pace of change.

However, the same cannot be said when technologies require buy-in not just from consumers, but also from governments and law-makers. Unfortunately, this is true even when the reasons to adopt such technologies are hugely compelling.

A good example of this is driverless cars. The technology needed to remove error-prone humans from the driving equation has been coming on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Thanks to the ingenious combination of laser range finders, cameras, radar, inertial sensors and high-detail maps, cars already exist that can  autonomously drive while humans sit behind the wheel and monitor software.

Google has been making big strides in this area and was awarded a US patent  self-driving cars at the end of last year. But despite the amazing success of the technology, which has now logged more than 150,000 miles of driving experience without any mishaps, governments and standards bodies have been reluctant to accept its implementation on the open road. This is despite the fact that, according to the World Health Organisation, road traffic injuries caused an estimated 1.2 million deaths worldwide each year.

Certainly, the technology still needs to be refined. It may take years before robotic cars can cope with the huge variety of scenarios human drivers face around the world every day. Governments and motoring bodies will also insist that the technology is tested and retested – ensuring absolute reliability before it is allowed to see the light of day.

One can only hope that the time taken to test the technology is what is needed, rather than a jungle of unnecessary red-tape. The bottom line is, the consequences of not deploying this technology as soon as it is proven to be ready can be directly linked to road deaths. A delay of even two years (very little in government terms) could cost thousands of lives.

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Google + Twitter = Facebook?

July 28, 2011

As Google + launched almost a month ago, now seemed like a good time to blog on how our first few weeks playing around with its latest attempt to crack social networking has gone.

Although this isn’t Google’s first time when it comes to launching a new social platform, the first impressions suggest it is taking this one very seriously. For such a massive company that never makes a habit of coming second at anything, it has been a very slow and cautious start. So far Google + has only been accessible to those with an invitation and Google itself has said that it is still very much a work in progress.

Having said that, early reports suggest there are around 20 million users on the network already…which isn’t really very slow, especially considering it took Facebook 10 months to get its first 1 million users (in very different circumstances, I know). After the issues Google encountered launching Buzz to its Gmail user base, it seems that it is really trying to get things perfect before it sets about attracting the rest of the web!

Anyway, at first glance Google + seems instantly familiar. You can work out where everything is and how you can edit, change and get things the way you like them pretty quickly. Credit has to go to Google for creating a very clean and simple layout, but I think the real reason comes down to a familiar interface. Its looks and feels very much like Google + is trying to sit perfectly between two other very popular social networks that I already use. It’s almost like Google did it on purpose!

Once you get going you will find you can put people in circles (friend/follow them) although they don’t have to put you in one of their circles if they don’t want to. This feels a lot like Twitter. Your home page is laid out in a very familiar way too, with a stream (news feed) down the middle, info off the left and right and photos/profile information along the top.

Like millions of others, I’m on Twitter and Facebook. I also happen to be a Gmail user, so I guess it’s little wonder that Google + felt so familiar so quickly. At the moment it’s just geeks and cool kids that are the early adopters using Google +. The real questions will come over the next few months when the whole platform opens up. That’s when we will get to see if Google can persuade the rest of the world that they need another social network, or better yet a completely new one.

Donkeys can’t sleep in bathtubs and other useful tips

May 13, 2010

We can all respect the dead, after all...

After my last post about the strange terms you all seem to love googling, I thought I’d give you an update.

Some more recent classics include the sarcastic (“I don’t mean any disrespect, but….I hope you are buried alive”) the illogical (“Bananas are…proof that God exists”) the comical (“Does your virginity…grow back?”) and the just plain weird (“Donkeys can’t…sleep in bathtubs”).

Wander on over to Autocomplete me to read some more!

Why is there a… dead Pakistani on my couch?

September 15, 2009

The Telegraph has put together a list of the 20 funniest predictive searches on Google, providing a unique – and slightly scary – insight into what is running through the minds of the global populous. Classics include:

“What would a… chair look like if your knees bent the other way?”

“I like to…tape my thumbs to my hands to see what it’s like to be a dinosaur”

And my personal favourite (which is actually a quote from LOST):

“Why is there… a dead Pakistani on my couch?!”

Check out the full list here.

What are you searching for?

What are you searching for?

Amazon.com – covers all your worldly needs, from DVDs, CDs, books to cheese!

February 11, 2009

Can you say cheese?

The other day I was wondering how unhealthy goat’s cheese was for the average person… as you do… and so I Googled it. One of the hits, pretty high up the page, was telling me that you could buy cheese from Amazon

Amazon, I hear you cry?! Yes, apparently they’ve been selling gourmet food since 2003.

After a bit more digging, I discovered that food is only available on amazon.com, not amazon.co.uk, hence why I probably haven’t heard of the service before. However, this got me thinking about how difficult it can be to change perceptions of a brand once those perceptions are set in the minds of consumers.

The ‘Got your number’ campaign from direct assistance service 118118 is a good example of how PR can be used to change perceptions.  Last year the company recruited a PR agency to realign the 118118 brand with texting and support their ‘Safe Text’ campaign. The client apparently reported an 11 per cent spike in text volume around the launch, which is certainly impressive.  

So what’s next – HMV selling popcorn to accompany your DVD of choice when you buy online? Play.com forming a partnership with Ben and Jerry’s so you get a free tub with every purchase? Well Blockbuster already offers these sorts of deals in store, so why not online?

In my mind, if brands stick to their ‘roots’, so to speak, then consumers are more likely to see it as a natural progression and more likely to make that all important purchase. Right now, it seems a random leap for me for Amazon to go from books, DVDs etc, to gourmet food…

That said, the goat’s cheese from Madam Chevre does look pretty appetising… and it’s at better price than any other generic online supermarket…  

Now where’s my purse?!?

Youtubers stare into the future, Google stares into you bedroom!

February 4, 2009

 

This video, created around this time last year, is brilliant not just in its creativity but also in its prophecy. What started as satirical take on Google Maps’ technology has been transformed into Orwellian reality thanks to Google’s new service, Latitude.

As you may have seen, Latitude allows users to track their friends’ locations via Google Maps from either a PC or mobile device. However, adulterers and sneaks of the nation should fear not! Apparently there are privacy controls built into the software allowing people to control who sees their location and decide what location they see. Well, that’s alright then.

Congratulations Google!

September 24, 2008

Google officially celebrates its 10th Birthday today and they’ve released a timeline of the company’s history to commemorate their achievement.  From Google setting up in a Silicon Valley garage in 1998 to becoming the behemoth it is today, Google has revolutionised how we use the internet.

In keeping with their ‘don’t be evil’ mantra, Google has also launched Project 10100 which is “a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible”.  People can submit their ideas that they think will help the world, vote on the submitted ideas and Google has committed to fund the best ideas.  Genius.

Check out the introductory video here:


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