Monthly: January 2016

Mobile Technology, New Orleans

GOOGLE: Better Than YELP

To YELP quite literally means “to Howl, Yap, Screech, or Cry.”

Think about that the next time you regard a “Yelper” as a legitimate anything.

Since moving to New Orleans from the REAL culinary capital of the South, Lafayette, my girlfriend and I have made it a goal to try a different culinary establishment each week and give it a true taste-test. Being the Google AdWords Manager at Velocity Agency, it is my natural instinct to Google “Best Restaurant Near Me” rather than ask locals. Upon searching, there is a bevy of places that pop up. I narrow my destination upon two factors: ratings and types of food. One place caught my eye with its 4.5-star rating with over 170 reviews and Creole description, Jacques-Imo’s.

When doing a random search, it is easy to overlook all the amenities Google provides to help you in your decision. When searching Jacques-Imo’s, not only did it show salivating pictures of Southern dishes known to this region, but you can view their menu, hours of operation, and also click the map to give you directions from your current location. But, you already knew that. The features that Google recently added that are really captivating are the popular times feature. It shows which times you can expect the largest crowd. This is based on the users who have chosen to store their location information on Google servers and average out over the previous weeks. This feature is used for restaurants, bar, gyms, or other establishments Google deems relevant.

The other feature that Google recently rolled out is to make a reservation. All you have to do is simply click on the restaurant of choice to show more options, select the size of the party, and chose a time. Voila! Your table is waiting. However, to use this feature, the restaurant must use Open Table. Sadly, Jacques-Imo’s did not have this functionality, so we had to stand outside and wait (so 2012). These are just some of the features Google has provided to make our indecisive lives and future New Orleans tasting tour that much easier.

Digital Innovation, Mobile Technology

Virtual reality in the palm of your hand

As technology increases at an exponential rate, the public is being integrated into the technological realm faster and faster. With advancements such as 3D printers, voice recognition software and hover boards, the world we inhabit is slowly becoming what was once only imagined in a sci-fi movie. Thanks to another innovation by Google, virtual reality has become a physical reality.

Google Cardboard has brought the world of virtual reality to the comfort of your home, in the palm of your hand. Cardboard gives the user full submersion into a 360-degree virtual world. The purpose of Cardboard is to encourage the development of virtual reality applications and to make these applications available at a low cost.

One application of Google Cardboard being tested is virtual field trips for students. The affordability of Cardboard, and the authenticity of its virtual worlds provides students with an opportunity otherwise unattainable. Through Cardboard, the students can travel across the globe to locations far from reach, even underwater and the surface of Mars. Each student will view the selected reality through Cardboard, while the instructor uses a tablet to conduct a guided tour and point out learning objectives.

When should students expect to travel across the world from their desks? The Expeditions Pioneer Program is currently scouting locations to introduce Cardboard into the classroom. This program came to New Orleans through Loyola University to spread awareness, and revealed that it hopes to be inside schools as soon as the 2016-2017 school year. Aside from the occasional student catching a case of motion sickness, Google Cardboard looks to have a promising future in schools of five countries.

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