Google

Google Got Nominated For An Oscar

Google introduced their 360 Spotlight Stories a little over a year ago and they have been gaining steady traction since. If you haven’t checked out the VR tech you can see all of the videos on YouTube here, and if you have a VR headset that is connected to the internet I suggest giving it a view that way as well. The films themselves are really well done with compelling stories and solid animation to match, and while this has the opportunity to be a huge marketing tool for any number of industries it really shines as an entertainment vehicle. Case in point the video below that has been nominated for an Oscar at this year’s Acadamy Awards. Yes, Google is in the running for an Oscar for the animated short “Pearl”. The five and a half minute animated short tells the story of a girl and her father as they travel the country in their car chasing dreams and bonding over

The five and a half minute animated short tells the story of a girl and her father as they travel the country in their car chasing dreams and bonding over song, life, and the open road. To get the full experience of the short film you need to actually pan around the environment. You can get the full impact of the story by simply watching, but the experience is far greater when you actually dive into what Google offers here, which is an immersive experience that extends the story.

Google has only released a handful of these short films, all of which are available on their YouTube channel. I think that is a testament to a couple of things. How long it takes to produce quality content, and how complex crafting this kind of immersive environment can be. I’m pretty excited to see how far this can be pushed, and I’m really looking forward to Google releasing a full development kit for this. The potential is huge on so many levels.

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Rain or Shine Googles Latest 360º Immersive Spotlight Story

About a year ago Google launched a new line of video shorts for YouTube called Google Spotlight Stories, a specific immersive video platform with mobile users in mind. The video below can be panned through as the action takes place, but where this really shines is when you watch the video on an Android or iOS device in the native YouTube app.

Rain or Shine directed by Felix Massie is the latest in the series of shorts and is really quite impressive beyond the technology. The story and character development are superb drawing the viewer in and engaging with them as the explore the environment as the story plays out. The story is simple yet clever. The main character, Ella puts on a pair of magical sunglasses and travels through her London neighborhood creating chaos before learning how to use the glasses for good.

This really is a better experience on your phone, so if you have a chance watch it and the other Google Spotlight Stories there.

 

To view the show in full interactive 360, use the YouTube App on a compatible Android device (https://goo.gl/7BYwRJ). For iOS, download the Google Spotlight Stories app now (https://goo.gl/eadPnO).

Subscribe to our channel here: https://youtube.com/gss

Learn more here: https://www.google.com/atap/spotlight…

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These interactive stories are optimized for a fast connection (WiFi or LTE) and a supported Android device. Also, please update your YouTube app for the best experience.

For more information on supported devices and known issues, please visit our FAQ page: https://goo.gl/7BYwRJ

Google Duo. A Better Facetime? Perhaps.

I’m kind of surprised it’s taken Google this long to get it’s Facetime for iOS challenger up and running. If you are interested you can get it here for iOS and Android. I’ve installed the iOS version but haven’t really tried it out yet. The real killer component of this, and something Apple should have done with Facetime quite a while ago, is the fact that this app is cross platform. It works with any Android or iOS phone across carriers. In other words, everyone can use it to call anyone. The app is extremely simple and easy to use, which I like. It’ll be interesting to see how fast this takes off in the next month, and if it will force Apple to open up the Facetime walled garden.

 

AnyPixel from Google.

For sometime now, if you wanted to create an interactive wall, you had to have some pretty solid coding skills or know someone who did. There are a ton of open source frameworks to get the job done, but none of them are very easy to use. Thanks to Google that is changing. AnyPixel.js an an open source code and hardware library created so you can make interactive displays out of pretty much anything. The library contains a solid base of code, and schematics that can be modified for things like lights, screens and sensors. The video below shows it in action at the Google New York offices. Google used 5880 off-the-shelf arcade buttons as our pixels.

 

Get the code library here.

Design Disruptors.

A few years back, actually almost a decade ago, companies began to take notice of the importance of design when it came to business. Since then there has been steady growth and recognition about the effect good design has on products, brands, experiences, and so much more.

“Design Disruptors” by  InVision  is a new documentary film set to be released later this year. It focuses on 15 disruptive companies who’s combined worth is more than a trillion dollars. The trailer below looks promising with valuable insights in the short sound bites you get to hear. The film will focus on customer centric design that is emerging, disruptive, and focused on the future. My favorite quote in the trailer is from Jenny Arden Lead UX Designer at Google, “At it’s best design is human. It’s not about does it have drop shadows, is it pretty. It’s more about the connection I have to it.”

You can sign up to find out when the movie will be coming to a town near you here.

Art, Copy & Code. Nike’s “Phenomenal Shot” campaign.

The business of advertising is a tricky game. You need to keep one step ahead of the competition, constantly create memorable and unique advertisements, develop those ideas across an ever expanding horizon of channels, and constantly create something new for your client. One agency that seems to do this with ease on a regular basis is W+K and when they team up with Grow and Google they produce something really unique that shows just how the world of advertising is changing in clever new ways.

In a campaign for Nike, W+K and Grow created a series of Real-Time ads that were designed to let fans celebrate, remix, and share customized posters, and images within 10 seconds of a sporting event happening live. “Phenomenal Shot” uses a Nike sponsored player rendered  in 3D along with a series of prewritten headlines, phrases, stickers, and filters, that allow fans to remix that moment and share with friends across a variety of digital networks.

The Real-Time Ads are rendered with a  3D-Engine and then distributed via the Google Ad Network across all devices creating an immersive experience powered by HTML5, CSS, and java script. Using the gyroscope that is built in to smartphones and tablets fans can spin the Nike athlete in 3D space to create the perfect shot before embellishing with ad-ons. Since the entire experience is rendered with WebGL the experience happens within the browser and there is no need for plugins or a dedicated app. Pretty damn slick, and a great way to promote your brand without being overly pushy or doing a hard sell. For more info on #ArtCopyCode click here.

10 Things I Want Google Fiber to Fix.

google-fiber-bunny

UPDATE:

When I wrote this post over a year ago, I was a Google Fiber user. Since then I have moved and spent the last 18 months with Consolidated Communications (Surewest). I have no idea if Google fixed or implemented any of the items listed below. I’m sure they have, Google is a smart company and listens to their customers.

I also want to say that in the last 20 plus years I have used Time Warner, and AT&T for cable and internet service. Yesterday, I signed back up for Google Fiber after it became available in my area. Yes I am going back to Google because it is simply that much better. I say this as someone that works from home, needs the speed and dependability that I had with Google Fiber before. Sorry, Time Warner, AT&T, and Surewest, your products, customer service, bandwidth, and consistent up-time fail compared to Google Fiber.  

Consolidated Communications (Surewest) is every bit as bad as Time Warner in terms of speed and service going out. I have lost my internet service a half dozen times  in the last year during work hours and have had to go to Starbucks or the Library to continue doing my job. So, when you read what is posted below, remember Google Fiber is still better than any of the alternatives out there. 

Back around the first of December I finally got my Google Fiber. Having been a solid user of both the TV and internet service for the last 90 plus days, I have to say it’s pretty damn great. I also have to say if it went away, I’d never go back to Time Warner Cable. Google Fiber isn’t perfect, but it blows TWC out of the water. All in all I like the service. There are however a few things I’d like to see Google fix, add, or improve as they continue to roll out and update the service.

Google, if you are listening, this the top ten list of what I would like.

  1. The Tablet that Google gives is called a “Super Remote” and for the most part it is. What it needs though is a volume control for the TV, and the ability to turn the TV on and off.
  2. When you fast forward or rewind, playback needs to jump a couple of seconds in either direction. You know so when you stop, it attempts to override your slow reflexes and jumps back to the point you want to stop at, not the place your slow finger led you too.
  3. While the TV browser is solid, and much better than anything TWC has, Google should take a page from the Logitech playbook and look at how the Logitech Review implemented their UI/UX for browsing and search for shows. The Review showed the promise of what “Google TV” could be.
  4. I want the ability to install apps on the set-top box. Yes I really do. I want to be able to install things like Amazon Prime and then watch the content on my TV. No I do not want to buy Chrome Cast. I want a native feature that lets me install apps. Once again, Google needs to look at the Logitech Review.
  5. If I can’t install apps, then maybe Google could add Chrome to the current app list that is on the set-top box. Things like Amazon Prime work just fine via Chrome.
  6. I want to hide all the channels I never watch. Maybe you can already do this and I simply don’t know how. If that is the case, Google needs to make that feature easier to find.
  7. Playlists. I really want the option to create playlists of my favorite channels. If this is the future of TV, then this is a must have.
  8. 802.11 AC. I have a super fast fiber connection. I’d like a WiFi connection to match. The 802.11n is great, but I want to take full advantage of AC on all my AC equipped devices.
  9. AMC. I know this is a tough one, but the premier of Mad Men is coming and I miss watching it and recording it to my DVR.
  10. Fix your DVR smart recordings. I’m not sure what is up, but there are a bunch of TV shows I have set to record only first run episodes. For some reason it records re-runs as well. I have a feeling this is because of the way the station tags the broadcast metadata but I’m not sure. Either way it would be nice if this stopped happening.

All in all I really can’t complain about the Google Fiber experience so far. Like I said before it blows away what I had with Time Warner Cable. The fiber connection is fast as hell, especially when you are hard wired to the fiber box. Apps like Netflix are instant on with no buffering, frame drops, or picture degradation due to poor bandwidth. The Google Fiber experience has so far been great, from install to billing, to customer service. They just need to improve a few things, which I’m sure they will as they move forward.