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Latest Technology

Street View floats into Venice

Venice was once described as “undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man,” and from these pictures it’s hard to disagree. You can now explore panoramic imagery of one of the most romantic spots in the world, captured with our Street View Trekker technology.

It was impossible for us to collect images of Venice with a Street View car or trike—blame the picturesque canals and narrow cobbled walkways—but our team of backpackers took to the streets to give Google Maps a truly Shakespearean backdrop. And not just the streets—we also loaded the Trekker onto a boat and floated by the famous gondolas to give you the best experience of Venice short of being there.

Our Trekker operator taking a well-earned rest while the gondolier does the hard work

The beautiful Piazza San Marco, where you can discover Doge's Palace, St. Marks' Cathedral, the bell tower, the Marciana National Library and the clocktower

We covered a lot of ground—about 265 miles on foot and 114 miles by boat—capturing not only iconic landmarks but several hidden gems, such as the Synagogue of the first Jewish Ghetto, the Devil’s Bridge in Torcello island, a mask to scare the same Devil off the church of Santa Maria Formosa and the place where the typographer Manutius created the Italics font. Unfortunately, Street View can’t serve you a cicchetto (local appetizer) in a classic bacaro (a typical Venetian bar), though we can show you how to get there.
The Devil’s Bridge in Torcello Island

Once you’ve explored the city streets of today, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of Venice’s past by diving deep in to the artworks of the Museo Correr, which has joined the Google Cultural Institute along with Museo del Vetro and Ca’ Pesaro - International Gallery of Modern Art.
Click on a pin under "Take a tour" to compare the modern streets with paintings of the same spots by artists such as Carpaccio and Cesare Vecellio

Or delve into historical maps of Venice, like this one showing the Frari Church, built in 1396


Finally, take a look behind the scenes showing how we captured our Street View imagery in Venice.

The Floating City is steeped in culture; it’s easy to see why it’s retained a unique fascination and romance for artists, filmmakers, musicians, playwrights and pilgrims through the centuries—and now, we hope, for Street View tourists too.

Posted by Daniele Rizzetto, Street View Operations Manager (and proud Venetian!)

Google, Latest Technology

A new look for the Gmail app on iPad

Posted by Carmen Wilkinson, Gmail Software Engineer

(Cross-posted on the Gmail blog.)

Tablets are great because the large screen not only gives you a more immersive experience but also extra room for serious multitasking. And with today’s update to the Gmail iOS app, you’ll be able to do even more with your iPad.

If you hold your iPad in landscape mode, you’ll immediately notice the new left hand navigation bar, which allows you to quickly switch between multiple accounts, or between inbox categories, with a single tap. To help you get through your email faster, you’ll also see a new message counter for each category.
For those preferring a more focused immersive experience, hold your iPad in portrait mode to get a full screen view of individual messages.
In addition to improvements to scrolling performance, there’ll also be extra room to compose your messages in full screen.
Lastly you’ll notice several iOS 7 visual updates on both iPad and iPhone. You can download the app right now from the App Store.


Latest Technology

BBM for Android and iPhone updates now available

Originally published on the Inside BlackBerry Help Blog A new update to BBM is rolling out for Android and iPhone users. In addition to several new features, bug fixes and performance improvements, we are also proud to deliver something you’ve been asking for: support for iPod and iPads! Here’s a quick overview of what’s new […]
Latest Technology
Latest Technology

A million plus reasons why we love Twitter

It launched in 2006 and was nearly called Smssy, Throbber and Friendstalker. Now, the far more aptly named, Twitter has more than 200 million active users worldwide. It...
Latest Technology
Latest Technology

Android tablet revenue temporarily inches ahead of iPad

Android pretty much rules smartphones in terms of market share, but Apple held a firm grasp on tablets. In the third quarter this year things changed though and Android tablets surpassed iPads in revenue for the first time ever.

According to an analyst from Morgan Stanley, Android-powered tablets raked in 46.2% of the revenue, while iPads took 45.6% home.

In terms of units, Android tablets grabbed two third of the market in Q3, up from 58.5% a year ago, driven by Samsung and Lenovo. Apple’s iPads accounted for 29.7% of the market, a sizable drop from 40.2% a year ago, according to IDC.

This lull will probably last only a little while though, since Apple had no new tablets to show in Q3, the new iPad Air and iPad mini 2 have only recently hit the shelves. IDC expects iPad shipments to bounce back, analysts from KGI expect Apple to move 23 million iPads in the next quarter.

Source | Via

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Latest Technology
Latest Technology

Solar in California and Arizona: More of a good thing

You’d think the thrill might wear off this whole renewable energy investing thing after a while. Nope—we’re still as into it as ever, which is why we’re so pleased to announce our 14th investment: We’re partnering with global investment firm KKR to invest in six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona. Developed by leading solar developer Recurrent Energy, the projects have a combined capacity of 106MW and will generate enough electricity to power over 17,000 U.S. homes. Google will make an approximately $80 million investment into these facilities.

The 17.5 MWac/22 MWp Victor Phelan project (pictured), located in San Bernardino, Calif., is part of six Recurrent Energy developed projects acquired by Google and KKR. The six-project portfolio is expected to operational by early 2014 and will generate enough clean electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.


This investment is similar to one we made back in 2011, when we teamed up with KKR and invested $94 million in four solar facilities developed by Recurrent. Those facilities have since started generating electricity, and we’ve committed hundreds of millions more—more than $1 billion in total—to renewable energy projects around the world.

These investments are all part of our drive toward a clean energy future—where renewable energy is abundant, accessible and affordable. By continuing to invest in renewable energy projects, purchasing clean energy for our operations and working with our utility partners to create new options for ourselves and for other companies interest in buying renewable energy, we’re working hard to make that future a reality.

Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Head of Corporate Finance

Gaming Technology, Latest Technology

PlayStation 4 early adopters reporting bricked consoles

IGN is reporting that several publications and end users who received the next-generation PlayStation 4 console ahead of its launch in the US on Friday, via special contest or promotions, have received consoles that were either bricked when they arrived, or soon developed a fault that stopped them from displaying correctly.

In many cases, the issue was identified as a faulty HDMI jack, and Sony will replace the units under the standard  twelve-month warranty. The issue is not too worrying, but it does set a bad trend ahead of the launch, with the units in question likely being the first units in the full-fledged retail wave. Sony has reportedly been quite helpful to the major media houses that reported their consoles' displays were broken, replacing the units shortly.

However, few regular users who struck gold are apparently not being treated too well, as in some cases, Sony's replacement units would only arrive by launch day, negating the benefits of winning a contest that gave them early access to the PS4.  In another case, IGN reported Arogon (Reddit name), who also received a bricked console, followed up persistently with Sony's support service, and because of his non-central location in Maryland, was not helped as actively by the company, which said it would take 5-6 days for a replacement unit to arrive.

IGN does admit that early runs of console hardware do often experience minor issues, with the myriad interactions between "hardware, software and user behaviour" resulting in some use scenarios that were not adequately tested for, with only the gauntlet of actual full-scale public adoption serving to help the manufacturer remove all bugs.  

Early US adopters who are experiencing trouble are encouraged to contact Sony support at 1-800-345-SONY.

Latest Technology
Latest Technology

Government requests for user information double over three years

In a year in which government surveillance has dominated the headlines, today we’re updating our Transparency Report for the eighth time. Since we began sharing these figures with you in 2010, requests from governments for user information have increased by more than 100 percent. This comes as usage of our services continues to grow, but also as more governments have made requests than ever before. And these numbers only include the requests we’re allowed to publish.
Over the past three years, we’ve continued to add more details to the report, and we’re doing so again today. We’re including additional information about legal process for U.S. criminal requests: breaking out emergency disclosures, wiretap orders, pen register orders and other court orders.

We want to go even further. We believe it’s your right to know what kinds of requests and how many each government is making of us and other companies. However, the U.S. Department of Justice contends that U.S. law does not allow us to share information about some national security requests that we might receive. Specifically, the U.S. government argues that we cannot share information about the requests we receive (if any) under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But you deserve to know.

Earlier this year, we brought a federal case to assert that we do indeed have the right to shine more light on the FISA process. In addition, we recently wrote a letter of support (PDF) for two pieces of legislation currently proposed in the U.S. Congress. And we’re asking governments around the world to uphold international legal agreements that respect the laws of different countries and guarantee standards for due process are met.

Our promise to you is to continue to make this report robust, to defend your information from overly broad government requests, and to push for greater transparency around the world.

Posted by Richard Salgado, Legal Director, Law Enforcement and Information Security