Take a virtual step into Abbey Road Studios

Last year, we opened the doors to the music landmark Abbey Road Studios, where musical legends like the Beatles and Pink Floyd have recorded. With a click of a mouse or a tap of a screen, more than 2 million fans from around the world have stepped Inside Abbey Road to explore the famous studios. Now you can go even further and experience what it actually feels like—and sounds like—inside the studios, using Google Cardboard and your smartphone.

To get this virtual reality experience, download the app on Android (iOS coming soon), then start your journey with a nine-part guided tour narrated by Giles Martin, the son of the late Beatles producer, George Martin, who shares the history of the studios from the 1930’s to present day.

After the tour, you can quite literally move around the studios at your leisure to see hidden treasures like Studio 3’s Mirrored Drum Room, where the mirrors help to create a close, bright and loud sound quality. Uncover one of Abbey Road's Mastering Suites, where a record gets its finishing touches before a release. In Studio 1, experience what it’s like to be in a recording session with the London Symphony Orchestra with surround sound.

With Inside Abbey Road for Cardboard, you can get even closer to the history, stories and innovation of the most famous music studios in the world.

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What happens when you bring together the head of the Metropolitan Opera, YouTube creators, Comedy Central and Justin Bieber’s manager to discuss the Internet’s impact on arts and culture?

In partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, our Big Tent in New York City, held this week, fostered a constructive and sometimes challenging conversation that saw more opportunities than challenges for artists through the Internet and technology.

While the speakers recognized the disruptive force of the Internet, they also saw the possibilities that technology creates for artists of all stripes to connect with audiences and tell stories in creative ways. As Scooter Braun, manager to artists including Justin Bieber, said, “I don’t think the music industry has changed as much as people think it has. It starts with music. All we have to do today is study interaction, which is the same thing we’ve always had to do.”

Many speakers saw the Internet as essential to their own creative endeavors. YouTube creators like Michelle Phan, Issa Rae and Julia Nunes all used online platforms to launch their careers.

Newsweek Daily Beast’s art and design critic Blake Gopnik, while seeing benefits to new cultural platforms like Google Art Project, reminded the audience of the importance of appreciating the space that contextualizes a work of art. His message of the communality and shared experience of viewing art live was one that resonated with speakers from the performing arts who stressed that the live experience could not be replicated or replaced by technology.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt made a surprise appearance and emphasized the power of mobile and new platforms to change the way we live. He highlighted how the Internet has led to an increase in content and lower costs of distribution. One of the accompanying challenges, he noted, is how, in this shift to abundant content and cheaper distribution, business models adapt to build audiences and deliver value.

The afternoon ended with drinks under a literal big tent, hosted by Cirque du Soleil, which launched Movi.Kanti.Revo—a new sensory Chrome experiment—to close out the day.

Each Big Tent gives us the opportunity to engage with our audience on the impact of the Internet and society. Our next event is on innovation and entrepreneurship in Seoul, South Korea. Keep up with us at www.google.com/+googlebigtent.

The Official Google Blog

For the first time, you can ride a train on Street View. Through a partnership with UNESCO and Rhaetian Railways, we captured 75.8 miles/122 km of the famous UNESCO World Heritage Albula/Bernina railway line with Street View cameras. Starting today, in addition to accessing the imagery from directly within Google Maps, you can also find the collection in our new gallery.

Like our trip to the Amazon, this Swiss mountain journey also began last year, when we attached the Street View trike to the wagon of a Rhaetian Railway train. From the very front of the train, the trike took 360-degree images along the expansive track.

You can watch the video of how we did it here, and for more Street View collections around the world, visit our updated Street View gallery.

Enjoy the ride!

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)

The Official Google Blog

Take a walk on the sell-side

In June, we announced that we are acquiring Admeld, a New York-based company that helps large publishers (also known as the “sell-side” by people, like me, who live and breathe display advertising) maximize their revenues from online advertising. We’re pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has today cleared this deal. We’ll close the acquisition in the coming days and then start the real work—building improved products and services that help our publisher partners to make more informed decisions across all their ad space, and to grow their revenues.

The opportunity for major online publishers is huge...and growing. People are spending more and more time consuming online content across numerous devices, advertisers are running more online and mobile campaigns to reach them; and ads continue to get more engaging and relevant. This represents an unprecedented moment for publishers. We believe that improved technology and services can help publishers seize it and make online advertising work much better.

For now, it’s business as usual—Admeld’s products will operate separately to Google’s existing solutions (such as DoubleClick for Publishers and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange). But over time, there are opportunities to bring the best of both businesses together in a variety of ways; and to develop entirely new solutions, too.

As we do this, Admeld and Google are guided by some core shared beliefs:

  • We want to give publishers more control over their ad space, and offer more flexible ways to manage and sell it. Publishers’ businesses should influence the technology they use; not the other way around
  • We believe that publishers can make better decisions to maximize their revenues when they have better insights at their fingertips
  • We envisage a much simpler system that enables publishers to manage and sell their ad space—across desktop, video, mobile, tablets and more

The content produced by Google’s and Admeld’s publisher partners is the lifeblood of the Internet. We can’t wait to start building the next generation of tools and services that will help them grow their businesses.

(Cross-posted on the DoubleClick Publisher Blog)

The Official Google Blog

Take a walk in the park with Street View

Whether you’re planning a trip to a park around the block or around the world, you’ll now find more parks showing up in Street View. Over the past year, the Street View team, equipped with the Street View trike, traveled to 22 different countries to photograph some of the world’s most beautiful and unique parks. Starting today, you can explore the couple hundred new special collections we’ve added by visiting our gallery.

You can now tour High Line, which sits 30 feet in the air, over the bustling streets of New York City. The park sits on an elevated freight train spur that spans 1.5 miles and cuts through the western side of Manhattan. Because of Robert Hammond and Joshua David’s efforts, visitors can experience an innovative park that would have otherwise been a demolished urban structure.

You can tour the park in Street View here:

Across the pond, you can visit Kensington Gardens in London. Once privately owned by Kensington Palace, the majestic arbor skyline and delicate flower beds draw locals and tourists alike. Kensington Gardens is also dotted with famous statues, such as Peter Pan, and home to the idyllic Serpentine Bridge.

Community parks are where we take our evening stroll, play sports on weekends and picnic with friends. Koganei Park in Tokyo, Japan is one such place, especially during the cherry blossom season—a charming park beloved by photographers, joggers and romantics.

You can see more Street View special collections in this gallery or get inspired to travel with this video.

The Official Google Blog

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