Google

Guy supposedly finds himself sneaking a smoke at work on Google Street View

The fact that cameras are just about everywhere these days has all but guaranteed that you’ll get caught doing anything even remotely socially unacceptable unless you do it in the privacy of your own home (and even then you better make sure you close the curtains).

Gone are the days of anonymously ringing the crazy cat lady’s doorbell and running away, or sneaking in to your local Masonic Temple to uncover their nefarious, cult-ish deeds (true story!). You can pretty much forget about doing anything in an elevator.

Oh, and, better be sure to tell your supervisor before you take that smoke break, or the ever watchful, judging gaze of the Google Street View car might out you to your employer, as a Japanese Netizen apparently found out recently.

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Google knows you’re no April Fool, so they offer you Pac-Man playable in Google Maps

You may remember Google’s April Fools’ challenge last year, since it was pretty epic. If you missed it, Google came out with a game where you could search for Pokemon on the Google Maps app on your mobile device. It got rave reviews and it’s such a shame that it was only available for a limited time.

This year, Google is reaching out to a slightly older generation of video game lovers, letting us play Pac-Man on real streets of Google Maps!! Of course, being Google and April Fools’ Day, there is a catch, but more or less, you can transform neighborhoods into Pac-Man game screens.

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Possibly real viral image shows potential but ridiculous way app developers influence sales stats

If you’re one of the many, many people who downloaded smartphone smash Flappy Bird only to find yourself decidedly underwhelmed and wondering why it was getting quite so much praise and press, you’re not alone. And while the aforementioned game may well have made it to the top of the charts due entirely to word of mouth and its strangely addictive, if simplistic, gameplay, you wouldn’t be considered completely crazy for wondering whether some games got to the top Google Play and the App Store’s popular downloads lists by some other means.

Case in point, this viral image doing the rounds online today, which purportedly shows a Chinese employee of a firm which makes its living boosting apps’ stats.

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Laughter online as Google mistakes Japanese beauty researcher for someone a little different…

When the subject of artificial intelligence comes up, people tend to default to “Skynet is going to murder us all!” mode faster than you can say “overreaction.” While we can understand their concern–even Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk seem pretty intimated by the concept of a sentient Arnold Schwarzenegger–this little story goes a long way to showing just how far we are from computers being able to identify and terminate any random person they feel like…

A Japanese Twitter user recently noticed that Google was accidentally identifying a legendary Japanese entrepreneur and beauty researcher as a certain member of America’s pop royalty. Can you guess who?

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Sharks go for the great taste of internet

When you hear terms like “the cloud” being bandied about, it’s hard not to conjure up images of internet infrastructure being some servers housed in slick network of Gattaca-style complexes, each connected by some glowing, neon-colored optical cables like something out of Tron all topped off by touches from other sci-fi films.

Although shown to be relatively reliable, the reality is far less sexy: just a massive fiber optic cable lying along the murky depths of the ocean floor. What’s worse is that our internet service is constantly under attack by none other than hungry sharks. These occasional nibbles cause companies such as Google to undergo costly repair and reinforcement projects at several locations of their own undersea cables to protect themselves from the ravenous fish.

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Google’s Street View cameras are taking spooky selfies in museums around the world

It turns out that there are a surprising number of mirrors in museums, so when Google unleashed its Street View cameras to catalog the insides of museums around the world, more than a few of them ended up accidentally taking pictures of themselves, we learn via Quartz.

Spanish artist Mario Santamaría noticed this happening quite a bit and did exactly what one should do upon noticing a trend: build a Tumblr around it.

Titled “The Camera In The Mirror,” Santamaría’s site catalogs the eerie moments in which Google’s cameras photograph their own reflections. You get a peek at them wrapped up in silver cloth or exposed to reveal a surprisingly robot-like body.

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Google sends winners of Pokémon Challenge ‘Pokémon Master’ business cards

Google Maps‘ elaborate April Fools joke got even better. On April 1, Google launched its Pokémon Challenge game, where users could search real world locations on Google Maps and catch the original 151 Pokémon to complete a Pokédex.

Players who successfully completed the Pokédex received a message from Google Maps to fill out a form for a “surprise.” It turns out their efforts weren’t for naught, as several players, including Reddit user “tinygrump” received a congratulatory letter from Google Maps software engineer Tatsuo Nomura and 10 business cards with the title “Pokémon Master.”

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【TBT】Pigeon people flock to Google Street View in Tokyo

If you happen to be looking for directions around Mitaka Station in Musashino, Tokyo you might be in for an eerie surprise. As Google’s Street View camera strapped to a guy’s back passed through the quaint tree-lined path alongside the Tamagawa Aqueduct, it was momentarily surrounded by a group of people standing around wearing pigeon heads.

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TwitchPlaysPokemon: Here’s one of the weirdest subcultures on Google’s video game streaming acquisition

Google is reportedly in talks to buy Twitch.tv, the live video-game streaming site that has exploded in popularity over the last year, currently ranking fourth in U.S. Internet traffic, behind only Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Twitch is a site where users can view other users playing popular video games. The site is also the host of Intel’s Extreme Masters World Finals, the “Champions League” of e-sports (organized video-game competitions). More than 23 million people tuned in this year to see the world’s best players square off in Counter-Strike, StarCraft II, and League of Legends.

The Twitch phenomenon was punctuated in March by one of the weirdest online experiments in recent memory. For over three weeks, nearly 1.1 million video game players collectively beat Pokemon Red on Twitch after 390 hours of game-time.

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Google’s three most-searched Japanese foods in other countries surprises Japan

Last December, while conducting a study on the number of characters input into Google’s search engine, the company compiled various statistics on people’s search habits between January and November, 2013. Among them were the most-searched Japanese foods outside of Japan.

We’ll get number one right out of the way because it’s not really a shocker: “sushi.” Number two, however, was a little more unexpected. Can you guess what it is?

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Enjoy the beauty of Angkor in your underpants thanks again to Google Street View

It seems Google Maps and Google Street View is truly unending in their quest to walk around and take panoramic photos of some of the Earth’s most beautiful locations. So far we’ve witnessed the eerie wonder of Gunkanjima and the spectacular sights of Mt. Fuji’s summit all courtesy of Google. And now we are treated to a place found on many people’s bucket list: Angkor, Cambodia.

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“How do you google using Yahoo?” and other amazing questions from Japan’s Yahoo! Answers

Japan has its own version of Yahoo! Answers, the question and answer site where you can ask anything and receive a quick reply from other users. The Japanese site is named Yahoo! Chiebukuro (“Yahoo! brains” or, more literally, “knowledge bag”), and as this collection of the best Q&A sets shows, the questions people ask range from the bafflingly inane to the unexpectedly profound!

As we’re about to see, Japan has its fair share of loveable idiots as well as geniuses!

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Google ad wins praise for touching on troubled history of India and Pakistan

On 13 November, Google India posted a three-minute advertisement on YouTube titled Google Search: Reunion. In the span of only two days it reached nearly one and a half million views and as of this writing is swiftly approaching four million.

All along the way, it’s received overwhelmingly positive reviews such as “NOT just an ad”; “This little 3 minute video is better than all the movies I have seen this past year”; and  “I am not from India, but I still appear to have something in my eye that is making it water.”

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Google Street View captures view from top of Mt. Fuji, negates only reason to climb it

There’s a saying in Japan about Mt. Fuji that goes to the tune of, “You ought to climb it once, but only a fool would climb it twice.”

That’s because, as yours truly learned just last weekend, climbing Mt. Fuji is  a lot like spending up to eight hours repeatedly swinging a mallet into your knees as hard as you can. It’s also – at least this year, after having been declared a World Heritage Site – so crowded you’re guaranteed to be spending the climb with your face in dangerous proximity to someone else’s ass at all times.

Lucky for those that haven’t climbed it yet, Google Street View strapped some poor sucker with 100 pounds of weird Google robot gear, maybe gave him a bottle of water and some peanuts, and told him to walk right on up and take some pictures from the top. “It’ll be cool,” they probably said. “We promise.”

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Unfortunate Google employee forced to wander alone on eerie abandoned island for Street View photos

Google Street View seems to have its priorities all out of whack. While only just getting around to snapping the more remote areas of mainland Japan and having yet to cover the majority of Canada, Google sent out one intrepid employee to explore the completely abandoned Japanese island of Gunkanjima.

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Pigeon people flock to Google Street View in Tokyo

If you happen to be looking for directions around Mitaka Station in Musashino, Tokyo you might be in for an eerie surprise. As Google’s Street View camera strapped to a guy’s back passed through the quaint tree-lined path alongside the Tamagawa Aqueduct, it was momentarily surrounded by a group of people standing around wearing pigeon heads.

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Police in Japan pull over Google Street View car, presumably not for speeding

The Google Street View car, once something that people would have simply watched roll by while scratching their heads in confusion, has become so ingrained in popular culture that should we ever spot it trundling down our own street many of us would immediately bound in its direction like excited golden retriever in an attempt to get our ugly mugs plastered on the internet for all eternity.

It’s rare, though, to see the the famous car running into trouble with the law.

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Can you understand me now, Google Glass? A Japanese perspective

By now, you’ve surely heard about Google Glass, the head-mounted computer that allows the wearer to interact with data while going about their day thanks to a tiny display that hovers in the top-right corner of their vision. While this all sounds like a wonderful little slice of the future, the product has come under scrutiny recently amid privacy concerns raised by politicians, and many are wondering about the possible implications of using it in the real world.

While most reviews have been from the perspective of native English-speakers, today we stumbled upon an interesting review written by a Japanese speaker. Despite the country being considered by many to be the home of computer wizardry, Japanese people are often a little shy of new devices at first (the iPhone was positively ignored for its first year on the market), so we were keen to get a Japanese perspective.

Just a couple of paragraphs into the writeup, however, we noticed that the reviewer had stumbled upon a couple of minor problems with Google Glass.
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Japanese Man Places Ad For “Girlfriend” on Google – Nabs Himself 5 Girls at Once

Google’s Ad Words service is a tool used for displaying adverts based on the keyword one enters into the Google search engine. For example typing in “sushi” would yield a selection of sushi-related adverts at the top of your search. The actual price of placing an advert is rather on the reasonable side, and increasingly not just organizations but individuals are jumping on the band wagon.

For an individual wishing to use the service, perhaps the most typical course of action would be to post information about an item you were selling or looking to buy. However when it comes to technology, there will always be unintended methods of use that have up until now eluded even the most creative of minds.

Let me introduce you to a young Japanese man who found a rather obscure use for the Google Ad Words tool by placing an advert for, wait for it… a girlfriend!

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Google Maps Easter Egg Lets You Street-View Famous Open-Air Hot Springs Bath

On 15 January, a tweet emerged revealing a secret Google Maps Street View available nestled deep in a valley in Nagano Prefecture.  The tweet simply read “Open-air bath on full display in Street View.”

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