SiliconFilter

Google Launches Street View-Based Travel Guide to Japan

/

Just in time for the cherry blossom season in Japan, Google today launched what it calls a “new visual travel guide” for the country. This new interactive guide, which Google created in cooperation with the Japan Tourism Agency and the Japan National Tourism Organization, is based on Google’s street view images and allows you to visit eight distinct areas in Japan (though it’s worth nothing that four of these are actually in Tokyo, including the city’s famous fish market and the Ahikabara and Ginza shopping districts).

The guide, it is worth noting, also features some indoor imagery, as well as the ability to virtually stroll through some of the country’s famous gardens. Besides the obvious Street View feature and sightseeing suggestions, the guide also features restaurant, hotel and shopping recommendations – all of which feature indoor Street View images and a bit of information about the establishment.

According to Google, the guide features 339 locations – including “26 great cherry blossom viewing spots.” The guide is available in English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

It will be interesting to see if Google plans to expand this program to cover other countries as well. While there are a number of third-party sites that use Street View to augment their travel guides, this guide for Japan is actually Google’s first foray into using this feature for a home-grown travel guide. The fact that the company calls this an “edition,” though, provides a hint that more of these guides may be in the works.



9:31 am


Study: Mobile Web and App Usage Now at Parity

/

The online analytics company comScore released its annual "Mobile Future in Focus" report earlier this morning. Just ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, comScore is taking a closer look at how consumers in the U.S., the five largest European markets and Japan are using their phones. The report is far too long to be summarized here, but here is an interesting statistic that I don't think most people are aware of: mobile Internet users now use apps at about almost exactly the same rate as they use the web on their devices.

ComScore 2012 mobile browser and apps

 

 

European Smartphone Users Still Different from their U.S. Counterparts

There are some interesting differences between the U.S. and the top European countries. Even though the overall smartphone penetration is about the same in the U.S., Germany, Spain, France, the UK and Italy (41.8% in the U.S., 44% in those five largest European markets), Europeans don't quite use the mobile web and apps at the same rate as their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.

Maybe this is due to the fact that European and U.S. users do have slightly different usage patterns, with European users, for example, using mobile email significantly less than U.S. users (30% vs. 41%). They also seem to be less interested in using social networking platforms and reading blogs while on the go (26% vs. 35%).

Another factor may be the higher popularity of tablets in the U.S. when compared to every other major market. According to comScore, more than 14% of U.S. smartphone owners also own a tablet. In Germany, that numbers is just 7.4%, while the other European countries fall in between the 8% to 11% range.

ComScore 2012 Mobile Future in Focus pdf  page 28 of 49

Enhanced by Zemanta


9:59 am


Afraid the Government is Spying on You Online? You're Not Alone [Infographic]

/

Today is Data Privacy Day and the good folks at Opera used this as a chance to commission a survey of 1,000 web users each in the U.S., Japan and Russia and ask them about how worried they are about online privacy.

In the U.S. – far more so than in Russia and Japan – Internet users tend to think that the government has too much insight into their online behavior (35%). Surprisingly, only 9% are worried about what search engines know about them (guess most people never check their Web History page on Google) and 5% think shopping sites are the worst offenders here. When it comes to social networking sites, 15% of U.S. Internet users and a whopping 38% of Russians think these sites know too much about them.

In the U.S., the majority of users (54%) also feel that they themselves are responsible for their online safety and privacy. About a quarter of U.S. Internet users thinks the ISPs and other companies operating on the web should ensure their privacy and 10% think the government should be in charge.

To protect themselves, most use antivirus software (80%) and safe passwords. Interestingly, 47% say that they regularly delete their surfing history to ensure their online privacy, which generally doesn’t do much good when it comes to being tracked online.

Around 15% of U.S. Internet users also claims to just use sites and software that does not collect information. We can only assume that these users just use DuckDuckGo as their search engine and have never encountered a cookie online…



11:26 am