Google’s April Fools’ Day Prank: 8-Bit Google Maps

Old school flashback! Google couldn’t wait for April Fools’ Day to prank the web with its 8-bit version of Google Maps, temporarily replacing its standard version. Not as good or real as the Google Chrome Multitask Mode, but fun nonetheless.

On Friday, Google posted this YouTube video:

Accessing the 8-bit map is easy. Use Google Maps as you normally would to search for cities or landmarks, then click on the “Quest” picture icon in the right area of the screen to view the map as large colored pixels.

Another April Fools’ tease: When you load the map, you may see this joking response: “Your system may not meet the requirements for 8-bit computations.”



Google Wallet Launches

Google officially rolled out its Google Wallet mobile payment system Monday. Is still in its infancy, but the system already shows a lot of promise.

It uses a technology called NFC (Near Field Communication) to securely send your payments digitally.

The only phone in the US that supports NFC is the Google Nexus S, available with t-mobile and Sprint, and there are high hopes that the iPhone 5 will support it too.

Right now, Google Wallet only works with Citi-Mastercards and the Google Prepaid Card. Visa and Google announced a worldwide agreement to support the Visa payWave app, but it will still be up to the financial institutions and banks to add support.

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Google+ Song [humor,video]

Pretty funny Google+ videos showing how it has no immediate competitive advantage … initial reaction is “do we really need another social network”? in this video it shows that if you dig down, the usability is actually quite nice … but people would have to give it a chance first, and as you can see in this infographic: they don’t.

The Google+ Song

LYRICS:


Check my email, got an invite
To a website I don’t know
Looked like googlebuzz at first sight,
But my friend said that’s a no.
Why did we need, another social network?
Doesn’t Facebook work alright?
A new thing for me to learn
This could take all night, Look out!

What is this google +
I don’t Need google +
There’s another +1 and another +1
What is this google +
Hey, Why’s this red thing here?
Go away google +

You want me to put my friends in circles
But circles are for squares
Everday’s like Sophie’s choice
Trying to choose which friend goes where
But No Parents, or Ex-boyfriends…
Can get in without invites
And when I drunkenly post that he’s cute
I can edit it later that night - whoa

I kinda like google +
Can’t believe I’m on google +
Oh another hangout, and another hang out
I dig my google +
Hey, old high school friend
You can’t join my google +

Friends add me, without me adding them
That feature’s really nice
Randos
Uglies
my pot dealer
and all these friend’s I’ve never liked
No one knows, my circle names,
So even good friend’s get handpicked
Do you make it into my main feed
or do I add you to my circle of pricks

I’m in love with google plus
I’m judgemental on goggle +
and Another douchebag and another loser
You didn’t make my google plus
Hey, Now I’m a facist pig
Thank you google plus!

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Google+ infographic

Google+ now finally open to the public “might” make me change my perception. Google+ (plus) launched early July on an invite only basis, which seems to have heavily skewed towards a geeky male US-based audience. At the moment, Google+ really has nothing to offer in the social end … yes, the way you organize friends is better (IMO) than Facebook, and … … … well, that’s it … You might have heard me claim that it will compete against iCloud in the quest to conquer your hard data (photos, videos, music, files) - but that’s another post on its own.

The first Google+ infographic was released an the numbers pretty much confirm it: 26 million users, 100% of which work in software engineering, web development, advertising, or related careers. Should be interesting to watch it shift (or not) now that Google+ is open to the public.

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Innovation & Emerging Trends at SXSW 2012

Buzz words come and go faster than bad news, another year went by and now it’s all about Apple iCloud, Google+, mobile payments, cloud computing, NFC, IPTV - everything is moving so fast, it’s exciting, we want to be part of it all - but how to prioritize? what’s sustainable? which ones are trends and which ones are fads? what are the true drivers behind these experiences that will really impact behavior and habits?

If you’d like to learn how to take a step back, re-organize the fast evolving world, and come up with those critical insights that will drive value and allow to predict the outcome - please vote for my session at SXSW 2012. Would appreciate your help and welcome all feedback.

Appreciated, and looking forward to another great year at SXSW.

SapientNitro is going to have great presence again this year, take some time and check out all our proposals.


Firefox Shows Off Its Upcoming Browser For Tablets

In a blog post published Tuesday, Mozilla user experience designer Ian Barlow previewed the user interface their Mobile Team is in the process of building for a tablet version of Firefox.

Firefox for tablets, which does not yet have a release date, will be optimized to run on Honeycomb Android tablets. The browser will include features from the desktop version of Firefox such as tabs, themes and the Awesomebar, an adaptation of a feature launched with Firefox 3 that enables quick access to bookmarks and browsing history. Items synced from the desktop can also be accessed there.

Firefox has long run on Android-based smartphones, but the team is now looking to scale the UI up to the tablet form factor, adding back a few features it had to remove from the mobile version and taking the time to design a more attractive, layered interface.

Firefox android tablets



The Future of Mobile Payments [Infographic]

As smartphone vendors and mobile operators shift their strategies to incorporate wireless payment technologies into mobile phones, consumers will soon be able to drop their wallet and carry every piece of important payment information on their handset.

NFC is already starting to be built into a range of Android smartphones, RIM and Nokia have committed to the technology and Apple is reportedly adding the contactless technology to its new iOS devices. GPlus has created an infographic detailing how NFC will replace our wallets and shows how companies are set to revolutionise the way we shop.

This infographic is focused mainly in the US, and it should be very interesting to see if Google Wallets would add more credit cards, and what ISIS has really planned as it gains support from all the major carriers.

Security has to evolve, new types of fraud and nfc sniffing will arise, and along with mobile merchant payments - we should keep a close eye on peer to peer money transfer that will enable the second market and shadow economies.


Cannes Review > AOL Seminar

Monday, 20 June. Review for The Re-Calibration of Form and Function Online by AOL, presented by Tim Armstrong, CEO - AOL, and Arianna Huffington - Co-founder, Editor-in-Chief - The Huffington Post.

Huffington Post: Adrianna opened up, she’s extremely charismatic, funny, and overall a great entertainer. Overall she provided a lot more entertainment than good content, but that’s part being up there.

Her big idea: values online should mimic values offline. She gave a brief history of the Internet and claimed it has been very immature, and asked what shou

ld the Internet be when it grows up? All online brand experiences should focus on 4 pillars:

1. Trust: brands need trust 2. Authenticity: is like pornography - you know it when you see it 3. Engagement: around their values, not their products 4. Pursuit of happiness

…. that was it - very enlightening! :)

AOL: Then Tim took the stage, here comes the good part. Tim shows state of the art research and studies performed on aol.com using eye tracking to fully understand behavior, attention, reactions to visual stimulus, and A/B testing performed by changing key content units on the page. The result, staggering, Tim concludes that the future of the Internet and effective monetization models will consist of migrating from old fashion traditional banners to new improved bigger banners. Yes! By changing the format, adding more richness, better experience, more video, and making it longer, you can effectively increase the noise to effectively disrupt the attention of the web users and make him look at the ad. That Tim described as Ads with human emotion.

Then to try to make this statement a little more appealing, the rephrases it as brands will simply rent 20% of AOL’s portal space, so it’s not technically a banner anymore, it’s a space where they can embed rich content. Much better, phew, I thought the future of the Internet are better banners.

Ok, now finally for some real business value. Studies show that 83% of consumers use fewer than 30 sites a month; they use 20 fixed brands, and 10 rotating brands. I found this insight quite useful, makes you rethink the entire SEO and long-tail strategy. So that’s AOL’s strategy? Let’s acquire all the top brands to make sure we’re always part of the top 20.

Finally some words of wisdom: give creativity a space in the web and stop taking orders from the silicon valley.

Such statement was intended to please a creative audience, but I totally disagree. There is much to learn from the silicon valley, and the future of experiences is a marriage of brands, creativity, and entrepreneurship.

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