Fancy being driven to work not in, but by your car?

Well, Google is one step closer to making this a reality – by introducing it’s new self-driven cars on the roads of America – developed by Stanford Professor and Vice President of Google – Sebastian Thrun.  The vehicles have been licensed to legally drive on the highways of Nevada – the first of which is a Toyota Prius.  

The cars themselves rely on a number of elements to ensure that they are safe – from radar sensors to a series of lasers, video cameras and also on a large database collected by real world drivers.   So far, self driven cars have travelled on, amongst others, the Pacific Coast Highway and the Golden Gate Bridge.  

With the prevalence, and the incredible detail being poured into Google Maps, self-driven cars were really only a matter of time.  It will be quite interesting, from a safety point of view in the future to see how successful these cars are – especially in terms of the reaction time of a computer versus a human.  

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JNLR figures released

The latest Ipsos MRBI JNLR (Joint National Listenership Research) figures were released yesterday – for the period covering April 2011 to March 2012 (12 months).

Just under 16,000 people were interviewed as part of the survey and the results show that 85% of the public (adults) listen to radio for up to 4 hours during the 7am to 7pm timeframe Monday to Friday.  Every weekday, an average of 59% people listen to their local or regional station while 47% tune into national stations.   

15-34 year olds are more likely to listen to local/regional stations rather than their national counterparts – with the figures at 62.9% versus 37.1% (although this demographic has seen a 0.5% increase in listening to national stations in recent months).  

Those in the 35+ age bracket prefer to listen to national radio – with the figure being at 51.3%.  This is broken down as 68.1% in Dublin, 67.7% in the Dublin Commuter region and 59.1% in the Multi-city area.  

In terms of local radio, this is still making significant progress in individual areas throughout the country – with the likes of Mayo, North Donegal as well as some south western counties seeing more than 50% of the adult population listening in daily.  

For full details, you can view the JNLR Press Release here.  

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Google Drive

There is no doubt about it that cloud storage is the way forward, for the past 1.5 years we’ve been using Dropbox for sharing and it’s defiantly the way to go for sharing files with colleagues and family etc. We also use Google Docs for group collaboration and it works very well.  Learning of Google’s new cloud storage facility ‘Google Drive’ yesterday excited us but are Google a little too late to the party? We think there is plenty room for more competition. 

*Google Drive is not available in Ireland at the moment. 


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Facebook – now with 901 million users

On Monday, Facebook announced that it is creeping even closer to a staggering 1 billion members. 

The company now has 901 monthly active users, with 526 million being described as daily active users in the month of March.  

488 million also used Facebook mobile services in March. 

Interestingly enough, Twitter is beginning (slowly but surely) to catch up on Facebook with a reported 500 million users in February of this year.  However, of this 500, only roughly 140 million accounts are active.  

So who’s got the champagne for the 1 billionth user?  

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QR Con 2012

So we attended the launch of the Dublin Web Summit recently and met with several  tech folks.  One of the elements that came up in conversation was that of QR Codes.  What is their uptake like? Are they absolutely amazing or just something which is cool, but will never probably take off.  

Given the variety of opinions we said that we should hold a meeting with some digital marketing folks as well as web developers and designers.  

We’re happy to announce this event will be taking place next Monday at 6pm in the Digital Hub.  It’s just an informal chat where you can put across your thoughts about QR Codes – if you or your business have used them, what you thought the ROI was like and so forth.  

So if you’d like to attend, just click on the Eventbrite invitation below.  The meetup is free and we’d love to see as many people from Twitter there as well.  Let’s turn virtual reality into reality again!  

If you’ve got any questions, just tweet @eimearmccormack, @davidod or @john_geoffrey. 

Looking forward to an interesting discussion.  

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CloudFlare – another $1 billion valuation?

With the recent purchase of Instagram by Facebook for a cool $1 billion dollars, the tech world has once again proven that despite any recessions, there is still money in the tech/smart economy.  

‘CloudFlare’ – which is a San Francisco based startup is also reported to be in talks to raise funding which would increase their valuation to a cool $1 billion dollars.  This is being reported by multiple sources close to the discussions.  

Cloudflare itself provides protection for websites from threats to their security along with increasing how quickly their websites loads.  

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Google – 1980’s style

For anyone who grew up before the invent of Facebook, Bing, or even MySpace, the image above will be quite familiar.  Old ASCII style interface. 

But this is actually a proper Google search – it’s called the Google BBS Terminal – developed by Masswerk and it’s an amazing and retro version of the search engine. 

The home page even returns the latest news stories, accessible by pressing…yes, pressing a key – no clicks allowed!

You can check it out for yourself by visiting the Masswerk site, or else, have a look at the video below.  

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Celebrity iPhone 4s advertising!

Apple have now turned to Hollywood stars Samuel L. Jackson and Zooey Deschanel to demo their iPhone 4S Siri voice recognition technology.  

They have also ensured that they keep all of the carriers happy so depending on which one advert you see, AT&T, Verizon or Sprint will show up in the left corner.  

So what are the ads like? Well…in typical Apple fashion they’ve got a nice quirky way about them.  Samuel L. Jackson’s one for example sees him asking Siri for the location of organic mushrooms and also converting measurements – this all in time for ‘date night.’

Zooey Deschanel on the other hand uses Siri to check the weather outside – while she’s looking out of the window.  She also asks for the closest place which delivers tomato soup – mainly so that she won’t have to put on shoes.

Apple have always been known for their ‘different’ type of advertising – in recent years using ‘cool’ advertising to describe the Mac, and ‘business like’ advertising to describe Windows.  

Here’s Samuel L. Jackson…

Here’s Zooey Deschanel… 

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Facebook acquires Instagram for $1 billion

In what was really a surprise move, Facebook announced on Monday (9th April) that they had acquired the photo-sharing app ‘Instagram’ for…wait for it – $1 billion dollars.  

It was announced on Mark Zuckerburg’s Timeline, before being released as a press release by the company. 

The company says that they Instagram will remain independent but within minutes, users took to twitter to voice their concerns in terms of privacy with many stating that they would be deleting their Instagram apps straight away.  



Instagram itself is a relatively new company only having been launched 551 days ago.  An interesting tweet suggested that Instagram made $1.8 million dollars each day since they started.  Wow!  

Instagram recently launched a new Android app to compliment it’s iPhone app.  It has a base (so far) of 8 million users but with Facebook coming on board, this is likely to increase significantly.  

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Fancy a Google 360 tour of The White House?

We all use Google Maps – it’s a fantastic tool. The introduction on Streetview a few years ago was an equally impressive step forward.  You could visit anywhere you wanted – at any time. 

However, the latest idea now is to move in from the street inside.  Go to Google Maps, type in ‘White House’ and then click on the Streetview person – drag them onto the White House – and go exploring!

Google Maps have partnered with The White House in order to let the world take the tour – from the comfort of their own computer screens.  

The White House YouTube explains…

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