Apparently, some sort of global sport competition commenced last night against a backdrop of samba beats and protests. Fear not if football’s not your thing, there was still a healthy dose of app-fuelled strike action while Google emptied its wallet once more. Here’s our pick of the most innovative stories from the last seven days.
If you only remember five things this week then make sure its these…
Wednesday saw thousands of taxi drivers bring parts of central London, Rome, Milan, Paris, Madrid, and Berlin to a standstill in protest at a rival mobile app service called Uber. It represented the world’s first ever strike sparked by an app even though their grievance arguably lies with the regulation of the taxi industry rather than the service itself. Uber uses a ‘meter’ style comparison functionality that only licensed cabbies are entitled to use, and in the UK TFL is seeking a High Court ruling on the legality of the system. The strike appears to have been an own goal for the taxi drivers after Uber reported they had seen a 850% increase in sign-ups compared to last Wednesday.
Google has moved one step closer to completing the circle with its purchase of satellite firm Skybox Imaging for $500m. “Skybox’s satellites will help keep our maps accurate with up-to-date imagery… and help expand internet access,” said Google in a statement. Skybox’s satellites offer video images and stills at a resolution of just over one million per pixel – which can track a single car on a road. With the potential ability to track individuals, Google are entering into some murky legal and moral territory but sources feel that the focus will be on macro-data and trends around population and natural resources.
The racing fans among you will be aware that it’s the famous 24 hour race at Le Mans this weekend. To mark this year’s race, Reigning champions Audi have released this short video on YouTube… which rather surprisingly ‘welcomes’ rival Porsche back. The tone of this video works perfectly as it manages to reinforce Audi’s recent dominance of a race that they have won 12 times, by demonstrating that they’re really up for the added competition. Race on!
Xbox One owners are complaining that a new TV advert is switching their consoles on without their permission. The ad – featuring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul – has the actor say “Xbox On” near its start. The instruction appears to trigger the machine’s Kinect voice/motion sensor, activating the console. A spokesman for the firm said it had no comment at this time, but noted that previous ads had also featured voice commands. This is either very smart by Xbox or entirely accidental, either way it could lead to a whole new set of regulations for TV ads.
Nike’s latest spot, entitled ‘The Last Game’ which forms part of its ‘risk everything’ campaign (and battle versus official World Cup sponsor Adidas), is a five-minute animation that places some of the biggest names in the beautiful game in a world where footballers have been replaced by passionless clones. Since its launch on Monday, the video has already been watched 33 million times, received 245,000 likes on YouTube and sparked 14,000 new subscriptions to the Nike Football channel. Its viral impact was helped significantly by Cristiano Ronaldo’s tweet promoting the video to his 26.5 million followers. The spot ran on UK TV for the first time last night in ITV’s coverage of the opening ceremony and it sparked more than 3,067 tweets at 7pm alone. Overall 50% of tweets carried a positive sentiment against just 11% negative and perhaps unsurprisingly 86% of those talking were men.