New Google Earth features, PayPal makes house calls, AC/DC starts streaming, Pokemon Shuffle on mobile, and Super Mario makes an Unreal appearance.
Google Earth Adds New Features at 10
Feeling old. Google Earth is 10, iPhone is 8 today and almost no one I know remembers the Chronic album from 1992.
— Seth Weintraub (@llsethj) June 29, 2015
Google Earth is now 10 years old, and to celebrate its first decade in existence, Google has unveiled a couple of new features. Google launched Google Earth on June 28th, 2005, and the company has been busy improving the mapping software based on satellite imagery ever since.
Voyager is a new layer available in Google Earth, which is designed to highlight the “newest and most interesting imagery around the globe”. Users can explore Street View, Earth View, 3D cities, and satellite imagery, or take a tour of the very best Google Earth has to offer.
Earth View, a library of the most striking locales on the planet, has been expanded to include 1,500 landscapes. Voyager is only available on the desktop versions of Google Earth, but Earth View is available as a Chrome extension and also introduced as an easy-to-view Web gallery.
Google Earth is one of those resources many of us forget about for months at a time. However, once you open it up you’re likely to spend several hours exploring this blue and green ball of rock we all call Home. Here’s to the next 10 years of Google Earth. Isn’t the Internet great?!
PayPal Ends Threat to Call You at Home
The year is 2030. It is now illegal to sing Taylor Swift songs without first donating £300 directly to her by PayPal.
— Natalie (@problemnatique) June 26, 2015
PayPal has updated its user agreement to clarify if and when the company is likely to call you at home. There was uproar at the beginning of June when PayPal’s new terms and conditions opted all users into receiving “autodialed or pre-recorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained”.
The user backlash led to consumer advocacy groups calling for a change, especially as the vague language appeared to go against FCC (Federal Communications Commission) guidelines. Now, just a couple of days before the new user agreement is set to come into effect (on July 1st), PayPal has updated its terms and conditions, and apologized for the confusion.
PayPal insists it “primarily” uses robocalls to, “help detect, investigate and protect our customers from fraud,” “provide notices to our customers regarding their accounts or account activity, and “collect a debt owed to us”. While the majority of people will be satisfied with this change, the use of the word “primarily” does give PayPal a get-out clause for the future.
AC/DC Adds Music to Streaming Services
AC/DC is set to add its back catalog of music to streaming services this week, with the band’s music debuting on the likes Spotify, Rdio, and Apple Music. With Apple Music only launching today (June 30th) it looks like Apple’s involvement was the final straw for Angus Young, Brian Johnson, and co.
Up until now, the Australian rockers have been one of a number of high-profile holdouts refusing to allow their music to be streamed. However, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, and others have all softened their attitudes in recent years, and The New York Times suggests AC/DC is joining the music revolution.
Pokemon Shuffle Coming to Android & iOS
Nintendo is bringing Pokemon Shuffle to mobile devices, with Android and iOS versions of the puzzle game being released later this year. Pokemon Shuffle is already available for the Nintendo 3DS, but the free-to-play Candy Crush Saga clone is “coming soon” to smartphones.
Pokemon Shuffle is a puzzle game in which you match Pokemon heads to deal damage to a rival Pokemon. You need hearts to play a round, and these can either be earned or purchased for cold, hard cash. Which is why this is free on the 3DS and why it will be free on Android and iOS.
Oh, Nintendo, where did it all go wrong.
This Imaginary Mario Game Is Unreal
And finally, we get to see what would happen if Nintendo decided to make a realistic Super Mario game. Nintendo isn’t known for its epic visuals, preferring instead to focus on fun over photo-realism. But that doesn’t stop us wondering what what such a game would look like.
We now know thanks to YouTube user aryoksini, who took Nintendo’s mascot and dropped him in a world filled with environments created using the Unreal 4 engine. I can’t see Nintendo ever actually doing this for real, which is a shame, as I’d certainly buy it. [H/T Polygon]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
How do you use Google Earth? Are you satisfied by the changes PayPal has made? Will you be streaming AC/DC? Will you be downloading Pokemon Shuffle on your smartphone? Should Nintendo make an ultra-realistic Super Mario game?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Image Credits: Mark Doliner via Flickr