Google’s Street View fun continues with virtual visits to zoos & animal parks

panda

Google’s expanded Street View program today added coverage of a range of zoos and animal parks in North America, South America, Canada, Mexico, China, Germany, Spain, France, Belgium and the UK. This includes the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, home to more than 30 percent of the world’s Giant Pandas, reports the Google Maps blog.

If you enjoy watching wildlife, but find yourself stuck in the urban jungle, never fear. You can now use Google Maps and Street View to preview the must-see spots at zoos around the world before heading there in person, or take a virtual trip to some of the most famous zoos and animal parks, right from your living room.

The development adds to a diverse range of fascinating Street View tours offered by Google in recent times …  Read more

Google ready to raise its TV profile by spending $1B+ on NFL streaming deal?

hdr__NFL_SUNDAY_TICKET_2013_video

AllThingsD reports that Google may be in discussions with NFL to buy the rights to the Sunday Ticket package when DirectTV’s contract runs out at the end of the 2014 season.

Today, according to sources, Google CEO Larry Page, along with YouTube content boss Robert Kyncl, met with a delegation from the NFL led by commissioner Roger Goodell. And the Sunday Ticket package was among the topics of discussion, according to people familiar with the meeting …  Read more

From Robocop to Roboshopper: the Google Glass apps keep coming

robocop

Google Glass is generating a lot of interesting ideas lately. A couple of new ones that caught my eye are an app from Mutualink designed to assist emergency services personnel, and a Glass version of Amazon’s Price Check app.

Mutualink’s app, spotted on TechCrunch, is designed to enable emergency responders to get access to key documents on-scene. Examples they give are a firefighter being able to see layout plans before entering a burning building, a police officer being able to tap into live CCTV feeds from the surrounding area and medical personnel being able to access medical records and transmit video footage back to a hospital for review by specialists …  Read more

Google developing parental controls for Chrome via ‘supervised user’ accounts

parental

BrowserFame spotted a feature in the Canary (development) version of Chrome that would allow parents and schools to created ‘supervised user’ accounts whose access to the web can be controlled by a master account.

The approach is an extension of the standard accounts available in Chrome, allowing different users to have different settings and to be automatically signed-in to Google services …  Read more

(In Soviet Russia) Beats to drop HTC

HTC Rezound Launch Event

According to the Wall St. Journal, Dr. Dre’s Beats may be considering buying back HTC’s share of the business.

The maker of the popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphones is looking to buy out its Asian partner and bring in a new investor that can provide it with fresh funds for growth, people familiar with the matter said.

The moves come as the founders of Beats Electronics LLC—music mogul Jimmy Iovine and American hip-hop producer and artist Andre Young, better known as Dr. Dre—are broadening the company’s business from headphones to include speakers, audio systems in cars and consumer electronics and a soon-to-be-launched online streaming music service.

It isn’t mentioned in the article but with the much larger Beats partner HP now making Android tablets and possibly phones, there might be some conflict in Beats branding land.  HTC is obviously having some issues financially so maybe the smaller guy is getting edged out and is more willing to take the money and run.

Having listened to a variety of Beats phones and headphones, I haven’t noticed an appreciable improvement in performance, especially for the price. The Beats Pill was one of the best portable bluetooth speakers I’ve listened to however.  Read more

Google’s 20 Percent Time – birthplace of Gmail, Google maps & Adsense – now effectively dead

20-time

One of the cornerstones of Google’s reputation for innovation – its 20% Time scheme – is now effectively gone, according to a report by Quartz, citing anonymous Google employees.

Google’s 20% Time allowed engineers to spend the equivalent of one day a week working on a personal project without having to justify it to anyone. Gmail, Google maps, Adsense, Google Talk and many other products were born from this scheme. Adsense alone is responsible for around 25 percent of Google’s annual revenue.

Now, says the report, it is all but dead …  Read more