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Review: Deciphered 2013

Magazine article Marketing

Review: Deciphered 2013

Article excerpt

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith reviews the tech developments of 2013 - a year in which it was hard to keep Google out of the news, wearable tech promised to change our behaviour (and find our keys), video content both expanded and contracted, and Bitcoin became serious money, while Twitter made serious money.

GOOGLE MAPS REVEALS BURIED TREASURES

Since developing the technology to enable the capture of off-road imagery last year, the footage produced by Google Maps' Street View Trekker team has been inspirational: with a click you can now travel from the highest peaks to the depths of the Grand Canyon, or the top of the Eiffel Tower to the underwater home of sea lions in the Galapagos Islands.

Other gems that Google has embedded into its Street View system are the quirky, hitherto inaccessible places that are fascinating once you get to navigate around them.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, for example, Google planted an 'Easter egg' in Google Maps outside Earls Court Tube station in the form of a police box that whizzed fans inside the TARDIS for a state-of-the-art tour. Google Maps also enabled users to visit the set of the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, taking fans on a tour of Diagon Alley; it has also partnered CERN, which allowed access inside the Large Hadron Collider and, last month, it was the turn of HMS Ocelot, a decommissioned submarine that resides near Gillingham on the River Medway after 30 years of service in the Royal Navy. It's been a revelation.

STAT ATTACK

100m - Google was asked to remove more than 100m links to piracy sites between January and July this year, which is twice as many take-down requests as it received during the whole of 2012.

WORLD'S THINNEST KEYBOARD ... COMING SOON

We may still have to wait a year for this product, but when news of it emerged a few months ago the expected long wait didn't detract from its groundbreaking nature.

CSR, a company that develops technologies for use in consumer electronics products, claims to have created the 'world's thinnest wireless touch surface' - which translates as a keyboard that is less than 0.5mm thick. It is flexible, extremely lightweight (obviously) and designed to be used in conjunction with tablets and smartphones.

However, this is not simply an ultra-thin keyboard that could come in handy for tablet owners; the entire board is touch-screen. This means people can swipe, pinch or zoom in and out of images on screen, and it can be slipped behind the pages of a notebook and used to pick up handwriting or sketches created with a modified pen. To connect to smart devices, it uses Bluetooth Smart, a low-power version of Bluetooth.

Though a release date is still to be confirmed, 'the world's thinnest keyboard' looks certain to be worth the wait when it finally arrives.

PEBBLE AND SAMSUNG MAKE MOST OF A FREE HAND IN SMARTWATCH MARKET

MIT declared that the designers of the Pebble smartwatch 'realised that a mobile phone is more useful if you don't have to take it out of your pocket'. The concept for the watch itself came from founder Eric Migicovsky's desire to be able to use his smartphone while cycling - and without the risk of falling off his bike at the same time.

The resulting product was shipped to customers in January this year after a large-scale Kickstarter fundraising campaign that managed to secure backing of more than dollars 10m.

While Pebble is being declared the best launch of its kind this year, others have followed suit in recent months, including Nissan, with its Nismo smartwatch, which connects driver and car by providing driving, biometric and social-media data.

More high-profile, however, was the launch of Samsung's Galaxy Gear, a device that connects to other Galaxy devices and boasts a voice-operation feature enabling users to make hands-free calls, draft messages, create calendar entries and set alarms. …

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