Go back in time with Street View

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 11:49 AM

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Editor's Note: Originally posted on the Google Maps blog.

If you’ve ever dreamt of being a time traveler like Doc Brown, now’s your chance. 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.

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If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select a thumbnail to see that same place in previous years or seasons.

Now with Street View, 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. 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. You can even experience different seasons and  see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter.

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Construction of the Freedom Tower, New York City

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Destruction in Onagawa, Japan after the 2011 earthquake

Forget going 88 mph in a DeLorean—you can stay where you are and use Google Maps to virtually explore the world as it is—and as it was. Happy (time) traveling!

Posted by Vinay Shet, Google Street View Product Manager

Plaaaaay ball! Now casting live with Major League Baseball

Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 11:01 AM

Cross posted from Google Chrome Blog

The 2014 Major League Baseball season is off to a big start, and now you can make all those hits, homers, steals and K’s even bigger with Chromecast. Thanks to our friends at MLBAM, as of today, you can cast live games straight to the TV with a tap of the cast button.

MLB.TV is the latest live streaming service to come to Chromecast, so now MLB.TV Premium subscribers can invite their friends over to watch live, out-of-market games. While casting a game to the big screen, use your phone or tablet to check scores, stats and news from around the league. You can even choose between home or away broadcasts to steer clear of the opposing team's announcers when your guys are on the road.



The MLB At Bat app can be found in the Play Store and Apple Store, with Chromecast support rolling out starting today. MLB.TV Premium subscription required. Peanuts and Cracker Jack sold separately. As always, explore the latest new apps on Chromecast.com/apps.

Chromebox for Meetings help employees see eye-to-eye in Canada

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | 9:58 AM

The best meetings are face-to-face. But these days, we often connect with each other from far-flung locations, coordinating time zones and dialing into conference calls from our phones. Starting today, any company can upgrade their meeting rooms with a new Chromebox, built on the Chrome principles of speed, simplicity and security. 

Chromebox for meetings brings together Google+ Hangouts and Google Apps in an easy-to-manage Chromebox, making it simpler for any company to have high-definition video meetings. 


Chromebox for meetings is now available in Canada starting at $1099, which includes the ASUS Chromebox and everything you need to get going. That means for the same price that companies have typically paid for one meeting room, they'll be able to outfit 10 rooms - or more. CDW Canada, Agosto, Cloud Sherpas, SHI and SYNNEX will help bring Chromebox for meetings to customers and resellers in Canada, and Chromeboxes from HP and Dell will be available for meetings in the coming months. 


Companies that have been testing Chromebox for meetings have told us that they love the simple setup, the ease of use, and being able to see their colleagues in other offices. 


Bill Whyte is the Director of Information and Technology Operations for Vision 7, the parent company of integrated agency Cossette and the EDC group of agencies, and oversees the IT strategy for the organization. "We've been using Google Apps for our business for a while, and it’s been instrumental in allowing our employees to connect and get down to business, wherever they may be.”


“With Chromebox for meetings, we've been able to brainstorm openly and collaborate quickly 'face-to-face,' something that is essential in the marketing and communications world. The technology has been really simple for everyone to use, allowing us to focus on our 'real' work - developing and executing effective, creative campaigns for our clients."


                    


Here are a few highlights of Chromebooks for Meetings:
  • Instant meeting room. Chromebox for meetings comes with a blazing-fast Intel Core i7-based Chromebox, a high-definition camera, a combined microphone and speaker unit and a remote control. Set up your entire room in minutes and easily manage all meeting rooms from a web-based management console. All you need is the display in your room, and you’re good to go.
  • Simpler and faster meetings. Walk into the room, click the remote once and you’re instantly in the meeting. No more complex dial-in codes, passcodes or leader PINs. Share your laptop screen wirelessly, no need for any cords and adaptors. Integration with Google Apps makes it easy to invite others and add rooms to video meetings, directly from Google Calendar. 
  • Meetings with anyone, anywhere. Up to 15 participants can join the video meeting from other conference rooms, their laptops, tablets or smartphones. Need to meet with a customer who doesn’t use Chromebox for meetings? That’s easy too—all they need is a Gmail account. You can also connect to rooms that have traditional video conferencing systems using a new tool from Vidyo, and participants who prefer phones can join your meeting with a conference call number from UberConference
Find out how Chromebox for meetings can help you and your coworkers see eye-to-eye. Happy meetings, everyone!

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management

‘Check Out’ the new Chromebook program at the Brampton Library

Monday, April 7, 2014 | 9:53 AM

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Ontario’s Brampton Library kicked off its new Chromebook program this month in an effort to help its patrons connect online and make it easier to reach the information that matters to them.


The Internet is transforming our lives at lightning speed, changing the ways we learn, share information, and connect with one another. Canadians have embraced this change, but about a fifth of us still didn’t have access to the Internet at home in 2012.  



Brampton Library’s new program aims to bridge this digital divide, by providing Internet access to those who don’t have access to a computer at home, including students, seniors and new Canadians.

Library cardholders will now be able to borrow one of 200 Google Chromebooks for use in the library - the largest collection of Chromebooks at a Canadian library!

In addition, the library will be hosting new courses to make it easy for anyone to discover the wonders of the Internet. Classes such as ‘Google Essentials’ will focus on on popular web-based Google tools, including search, maps, and translation, while ‘Gmail Basics’ will teach the foundations of email.

We’re very excited to see how the new Chromebook program impacts the community of Brampton and the half a million residents the library serves. Hopefully, we’re a few steps closer to bridging the digital divide and improving web literacy in our neighbourhood.

Posted by James Lambe, Head of Google Enterprise, Canada

Charting Canada’s Digital Future

Friday, April 4, 2014 | 9:40 AM

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At Google Canada, we see the impact digital technology can have in the everyday lives of Canadians. As smartphones and high speed Internet have become available in communities across the country, Canadians have jumped at the chance to record and share their stories, consume online content and even dabble in some online shopping. Canadians are world leaders in terms of the number of webpages we visit monthly, we’re second only to the United Kingdom when it comes to watching online video, and more than half of Canadian consumers have used the Internet to order a good or service.

Still, many Canadians have been slow to recognize the potential for digital technology to transform our economy. For instance, according a recent study by L2, Canadian retailers are falling significantly behind on e-commerce and digital marketing, driving 68 percent of Canadian online shoppers to purchase from non-Canadian retailers and effectively ceding the Canadian market to international competitors.

Digital tools can accelerate innovation in every sector of our economy, help Canadian businesses develop new products, and access new markets at home and abroad.

Digital Canada 150, released today by the Government of Canada, makes it clear that Canada must embrace this digital challenge, much as our ancestors explored our great rivers, laid a ribbon of rail from sea to sea, and first established radio-communication across the country with the help of microwave towers.

With this strategy, the Government of Canada not only recognizes that digital technology is having an impact on every aspect of Canadian life, but argues for us to make a greater investment in digital adoption - as individuals, communities, businesses and a nation.

Digital Canada 150 also commits to supporting the collection, preservation and popularization of our cultural and historical heritage. We share this focus, making information available through Google Maps, the Cultural Institute, the Maps Gallery, and our partnerships with groups like Parks Canada.

We are a digital nation. Digital Canada 150 challenges us all to have a truly global impact by revolutionizing how we interact with our government, our customers and each other.


Posted by Chris O’Neill, Managing Director of Google Canada

It's April Fools' Day - How Will Canadians Prank?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 11:34 AM

After a long, harsh winter, Canadians are looking to blow off some steam and April Fools Day may be the perfect outlet. In fact, Google searches for ‘April Fools’ have been on the rise since December. While Canadians across the country should prepare for pranks, Albertans should be the most alert. Searches for ‘pranks’ are most popular in Alberta, followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

How will Canadians prank? 
Be on the look out today, and watch out for your colleagues as searches for ‘office pranks’ are outpacing searches for ‘school pranks’. But, you might be in for a scare as we see that searches for ‘scary pranks’ have also been popular among Canadians.

Don’t rule out the classic ‘prank call’ as searches are the highest they’ve been all year, particularly on the east coast. Those in Nova Scotia may want to screen their calls - it’s the province with the highest search volume for the term ‘prank call’. Many people prefer texting, and we find that searches for ‘prank text’ have also been on the rise.

If you are planning to pull of a big prank, today and need a little inspiration, below is a list of some of our favourite Canadian Youtuber prank videos.

  • For the ultimate inspiration: Expert pranksters from Just for Laughs have devised some of the most elaborate, funny, and clever pranks that you will ever see on the Just for Laughs Gags YouTube channel
  • For playful pranks and sketches: Vancouver-based YouTuber TheChengman has no shortage of new pranks, funny characters and public twerking. 
  • For Canuck comedy: The signature style Canadian-grown funnyman Tom Green turns ordering a sandwich or using Windex into a comedic experience. 
  • For pranks ... with love: Ever wonder what it would be like to start a prank war with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Jesse and Jeana of Prank vs. Prank have done just that! OK, they are not Canadian, but they have collaborated with Tom Green so we added them to the list. 
  • For a simple how to … Check out PrankVote’s video on how to really make a pop bottle pop in the ultimate explosion prank

Posted by Wendy Bairos, Google Canada

TechRaking: Digging the News

Thursday, March 27, 2014 | 11:34 AM

Editor’s note: Today’s guest author is Jennifer LaFleur, senior editor for data journalism at The Center for Investigative Reporting 

In 1952, Walter Cronkite predicted the US Presidential election for his readers before the poll closed using an analysis of election results on one of our first mainframe computers. Walter’s analysis predicted the election for Dwight Eisenhower, despite polling that said Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson would win. 

Today, spreadsheets and databases are commonplace in newsrooms across industry.The tools used to analyze data and to make it available online are cheaper, faster and more powerful. But there continue to be significant challenges that prevent journalists from harnessing this data. Accessing information from governments and institutions remains a significant hurdle for newsrooms in Canada and the US. And when data does become available, journalists still need the tools to unlock the stories which are important to the public.

                
TechRaking via Hangout with Richard Gingras, the Head of News and Social Products at Google


Over the next two days, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), The Canadian Press and Google Canada, are hosting a conference and hands-on learning session called TechRaking Toronto: Digging the News. While Google and the CIR have hosted similar events in the U.S. in the past, we are excited to bring this expertise to Canada for the first time. 

Designed for journalists, digital news desks, and broadcasters, this two-day event will explore innovative uses of data in the newsroom and the most recent tools of the trade for digital production and research. We will be joined by nearly 75 Canadian journalists, students and design experts who will participate in sessions exploring best practices to produce groundbreaking investigations. Attendees will be participating in a data journalism design sprint to collaborate on potential projects – one of which will be selected to receive a development grant from a local app developer, The Working Group, to bring their idea to reality. 

Our hope is that TechRaking: Digging the News provides a forum for reporters to tap into the enormous potential of data, and to uncover the tools necessary for that essential pillar of our democracy: great journalism.