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Interesting Google Earth Sightings
Photo credit: Imgur via Bored Panda
Google Earth has been around for quite some time, but its users are still finding interesting sights from around the world, like this marina in Milwaukee with some winter ice breaking up. “This is my favorite. It’s a marina near Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA). The winter ice is in the process of breaking up. I don’t know why, but this is very visually appealing to me,” said this anonymous Google Earth user. Bored of Earth? The computer program also has globes for the Moon and even Mars as well as a tool for viewing the night sky. Read more to see additional sightings.

Augmented Reality Google Maps AR

The Google Maps augmented reality navigation may only be available to Local Guides (community reviewers) for now, but these new videos provide a first look at the feature. Just to recap, Google Maps uses GPS get your location, and then uses the camera to pinpoint where you are with 3D arrows hovering over places you need to turn. If you hold the phone up in AR mode for too long, the app automatically darkens the screen to force a change to conserve battery power, data, as well as safety. Read more for another hands-on video preview.

Google Maps Augmented Reality
Photo credit: Wall Street Journal
Google Maps is currently testing an augmented reality feature, first unveiled at the 2018 I/O developer’s conference, that provides users with turn-by-turn directions from your phone’s camera in real-time. It works by first locating a person via GPS and then uses Street View data to narrow it down to your exact point. Once this is determined, big arrows and directions appear on-screen. Read more for a video and additional information.

Google Translate Phishing
Photo credit: Akami
Another day, another online phishing scam, but this one makes use of Google Translate to make it appear legitimate at first glance. Simply put, these group of hackers masks the phishing with a Google Translate URL (www.translate.google.com), and once the victim clicks on that link, they will be redirected to the Google Translate portal, which load the phishing page with the Google Translate toolbar up top in an iframe. One more thing to note is that the sender is “[email protected]” and not even a Google or GMail address. Read more to see what that page looks like.

Google Translate Magic: The Gathering
Photo credit: Rosewatta Stone
Released in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering was the first trading card game created and it continues to thrive, with approximately twenty million players as of 2015, and over twenty billion Magic cards produced in the period from 2008-2016. One thing players may notice is that the flavor text – the italicized text, but not in parentheses, on a card that serves to provide a mood or give background information on the game world without effecting gameplay – on Magic cards is mystical, so this Google Translate experiment has yielded some unusual results to say the least. Read more to see a few examples.

Google Chinese New Year Shadow Play
Google officially announced Monday that it would welcome the Year of the Pig with an artificial intelligence experiment using shadow art. This shadow play game of sorts utilizes front-facing cameras and users are taught how to create images of their Chinese zodiac sign using shadow puppetry. The Mountain View, California-based internet giant is betting on AI and machine learning-driven services in hopes of making such technologies ubiquitous, helpful and intuitive. Read more to see it in-action and for a link to try it out yourself.

Google Translate Super Bowl
Yes, even Google has their own Super Bowl commercial, and this year, they decided to showcase their Google Translate service. Called “100 Billion Words”, it features the Pixel 3 XL and how “more than 100 billion words are translated every day” with the search giant’s translation service. It also features people using the app on their smartphones to communicate across different languages as well the built-in camera translation feature (pictured) to translate signs. Read more to watch the video.

Google Plus Shut Down
Google official announced the shut down date for its troubled Google+ social network: April 2. On that day, all Google+ accounts and any pages created will start being deleted. However, any photos and videos that were also backed up in Google Photos will not be affected. The search giant has posted directions on how to download an archive of your Google+ content. Read more for a video explaining why the service is shutting down and for additional information, including how to download your archive.

Unity Google AI Challenge
Unity Technologies has partnered with the Google Cloud Platform to launch the Obstacle Tower Challenge, which aims to test the limits of artificial intelligence in games. Contestants will be able to win cash, travel vouchers, and Google Cloud Platform credits, valued at more than $100K. This game is built upon Unity’s Obstacle Tower, a newly released game-like environment intended for machine learning researchers that involves a combination of platform-style gameplay with puzzles and planning problems inside a tower setting with potentially endless floors. It will examine how machines operate in a variety of areas, including computer vision, locomotion skills, and high-level planning, through platform-style gameplay with puzzles and planning. Read more for a video and a link to sign up.

Google DeepMind AI StarCraft II
You’ve probably seen a plethora of Tool Assisted speedruns of classic games (Super Mario Bros., etc.), and Google wants to followup in the same spirit with their DeepMind Technologes AI in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. Real Time Strategy games showcase human multi-tasking limits, along with the numerous optimizations available during a normal game. Professional gamers boast a high APM (Actions Per Minute) and lightning fast decision making, since they know there’s always something they could be doing better. Read more to watch this AI play the game.