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Monthly Archives: July 2011

GLOBAL TRAVEL MARKETING TO HAWAI’I GOES VIRTUAL!

Honolulu

Image by backonthebus via Flickr

Hawai virtual tours

 

Travelers to Hawai‘i can now get a feel and essence of a location before arriving, made possible thru Virtual and Video Tours on MyDestinationHawaii.com. Interactive environments like virtual tours have a much greater impact than static images. “We were interested in showcasing our multi-faceted performing arts center to viewers and sharing the diverse offerings of Maui Arts & Culture Center with the world. The virtual tour with MyDestination Hawaii is a state-of-the-art way to present our facility to potential patrons and customers so they can see it all at a glance,” said Karee Carlucci, Director of Marketing at Maui Arts & Culture Center. In the magnitude of global travel marketing, virtual and video tours allow travelers to familiarize themselves and know what to expect upon arrival to their destination. It empowers the traveler to pick and choose before arriving on-location. Consumer surveys reveal that 80% of online shoppers say images are imperative when deciding to buy or use a company’s product or services. Obviously, this has large implications on the travel sector. Good, interactive imagery of the premises and facilities has a powerful impact on visitor numbers and sales. My Destination Hawai’i is the one-stop travel guide online showcasing the best of Hawai’i to the world. With a network of over 100 + International travel destinations, Hawai’i is presented to a host of International travelers looking for information about Hawai’i. Virtual Tours are now offered inclusive with hosting and syndication across the web, great for businesses looking to expand their online marketing reach at: Expand your Business. About MyDestination.com: My Destination Hawaii is part of the My Destination network. A global network of sites created in 2006 by two young entrepreneurs, James Street & Neil Waller. My Destination is focused on providing websites that offer unrivalled levels of local information, actually written by locals. Each site is run by a team on the ground in each destination who have their fingers on the pulse and are providing real time information. The websites combine accurate information on the local area and businesses with the added usability of an online booking engine, offering travellers a one-stop shop where they can research and book their holiday on a single website.

.travpr.com/

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Tour Wrist Uses Augmented Reality To Teleport You Into A Foreign Land

Augmented Reality  of tour wrist

Ever wanted to visit the Trevi Fountain in Rome or the Taj Mahal? Now you can, from the safety of your iPad.

Virtual tours have got to be one of the lamest things ever invented: Sit at your computer, squinting at some never-quite-good-enough photos of a place you’ll never go to while clicking impotently with your mouse to “move” around. But touch interfaces, tablet devices, and augmented reality have changed all that. A company called Tour Wrist has one of the most spectacular virtual-tour user experiences I’ve seen: their free iPad app lets you hold the device up like a magic window and pan it around in physical space to reveal a totally different location — many quite exotic. This video gives you a sense of how it works:

 

Users will soon be able to move forward and backward “into” the scene.

“If you’ve ever played with Google Earth, you zoom in and get this sensation of being able to go anywhere — but eventually you stop going back because it doesn’t let you do anything,” explains Tour Wrist CEO Charles Armstrong. “Our goal is to give you the opportunity to actually explore these places.” At the moment, Tour Wrist only offers 360-degree panoramas — although “only” is an uncharitable way to describe the fluid experience of using them. But soon the company will roll out a feature called Hot Spots which will make Tour Wrist quite Google-Earth-like indeed: users will be able to “look around” in all directions and move forward and backward “into” the scene, much like Google Street View. “Our interface is always in a constant state of improvement,” says Armstrong.

Tour Wrist is plenty appealing for taking a quick pretend-vacation, but Armstrong wants Tour Wrist’s intuitive, 360-degree visual interface to become “a new way of communicating” in general. Compared to typing or clicking, it certainly maps much better to our hardwired intuitions about spatial memory and physical affordances. The idea is to make the term “touring” so open-ended that it can apply to almost any kind of visual communication or demonstration: for example, Tour Wrist already lets you “tour” vehicles as well as cafes, hotels, and museums. Imagine getting a physical sense of the interior of that Range Rover you’ve been eyeing up without ever leaving your Barcalounger.

The Tour Wrist API, rolling out this week, is a big part of Armstrong’s vision to turn his platform into a ubiquitous, sharable form of digital communication much like YouTube, Flickr, or Twitter. Six companies that offer panoramic photo products are already on board to use Tour Wrist’s API. What does that mean in non-dorkspeak? “Say you’re a realtor or just the guy who always finds the hot new place in town,” Armstrong explains. “When you go into this place, you just wave your phone around to ‘paint’ the environment with the camera, and upload it to Tour Wrist.” From there, TourWrist generates an embeddable link that can be emailed or pasted into blogs and other social media. “We’ve really modeled ourselves after YouTube,” Armstrong says. “We give people tools for sharing this experience without forcing them to download the app.”

Will the Tour Wrist experience be as ubiquitous five years from now as YouTube is today? Will 360-degree augmented reality party shots from the Playboy mansion (or news events!) someday go viral like so many cat videos? Tour Wrist isn’t there yet, but it’s an ambitious vision, and given how engaging the experience already is, it doesn’t seem out of the question.

 

source..fastcodesign.com/

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Google Plus Invite: Tumblr, Facebook, and photography fans review

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Is Google Plus a “hit” or “miss”? Three other social networking fans said..

 

 

I got my invite from a friend in Twitter last Thursday, three hours after Google launched the Google+.

The Google Plus invitation is an e-mail with a header “invitation,” and inside, written are the words, “The Google+ project is currently working out all the kinks with a small group of testers. If you’re not able to access Google+, please check back again soon,” and below the e-mail’s body is the link “Learn More About Google+” wrapped by a red box.

After clicking the red button, I’ve spent the next 6 hours of my life playing inside Google’s new social networking website. The next morning, 50% of my Friday work (at least 7 hours) were spent inside the Google+ website.

Like other testers, you’ll notice that the user interface of Google Plus looks a whole lot like Facebook, but better. The UI is cleaner, crisper and easier to navigate. I’m in love with Google Plus maybe because I can follow other tech bloggers and journalists and some Google employees. I want other feedbacks from other “users,” or fans of other social networking sites to see if Google Plus is an “early success,” or just a “yet another social networking site.”

I invited a friend addicted to his Tumblr account. I got his reply the next morning, he said, “it’s neat. I want to eat it.” This friend is always online in Google+ after I invited him, and he even “hang outed” with me three times (Hangout is the video chatting feature of Google Plus). He also added that he invited at least 30% of his Tumblr friends to continue their “journey” inside Google+, because Google Plus is one of the hottest topics inside Tumblr now and they want to brag.

My second invite went to a friend who is obsessed with his Canon camera. According to him, uploading high quality photos and videos in Google+ is better than Facebook because you do not need to configure or toggle anything before uploading. He also added that videos shot with 1080p resolution played 1080p too, and with YouTube-like player interface. He also added that GIF works inside the “news stream” or the “dashboard” of Google+, and he’s loving it.

I also invited my aunt living in Nevada who loves her Facebook account. Surprisingly, teaching her how to use Google+ is easier than teaching her how to use Skype. She also installed the Google+ application in her LG Revolution 4G without my help. She said, “it’s in the Android Market already.” We also huddled after she installed Google Plus. (Huddle is the BBM-like Android app of Google Plus).

Looks like Google Plus is an early success, knowing that it’s still in BETA, or still on its “unstable” stage. Can this kill Facebook? Well, not this year, only time will tell, but honestly speaking, it can if at least 5 million more users will join before this year ends. Can this kill Tumblr? Most Probably. And how about Twitter? Well, it’s really the main target according to my instinct after using Google Plus.

 

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Free Virtual Tours From the Getty Museum Using Google Goggles

virtual tours with google goggles

For all you museum and art buffs out there, Google is partnering with the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to provide virtual tours using nothing more than their Google Goggles app. The way it works is simple. Take a photo of the paintings in the museam and Google Goggle’s will pull the necessary information from the Getty’s mobile site. From there you can read all about the artwork in question and even listen to commentaries from the artists and curators. Nifty stuff.

While, normally Google Goggles allows for identifying book covers to landmarks, its nice to see a more educational approach like this. Equally cool is even when you’re outside of the museum and you come across art in a book or advertisement, you can snap a pic and Google Goggle’s will provide you with even more info. Who says all apps have to be about soundboards and fart noises anyway?