Tag Archives: Google

Google Street View coverage maps

I won’t bother reporting that Google Street View launched in Montreal and other Canadian cities today, since everyone else is already doing that.

But I’ll add this map so you can see what areas are covered (sorry Châteauguay, Vaudreuil-Dorion and St. Bruno, it seems you’ve been left out):

Google Street View coverage map for Montreal

Google Street View coverage map for Montreal

To check it out, we’ll start you off in true Gazette style, at the corner of Peel and Ste. Catherine. Now go and find all those embarrassing or quirky photos hidden in the city.

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Does YouTube have more Cancon than CTV and Global?

Google spoke, and naturally everyone listens. Roberto Rocha and the CBC write about its submission to the CRTC about new media regulation. As you might expect, the company prefers a hands-off approach to the Internet.

Google’s argument is that with no government regulation whatsoever concerning content, YouTube still manages to have plenty of Canadian-produced videos, and if measured quantitatively, it has more Canadian content than Canadian TV networks.

Rocha pokes some holes into that argument, mainly by pointing out most videos posted to YouTube are of little public interest. Test videos, family videos, copyright infringement, personal vlogs and just utter crap. There are no professionally-produced scripted dramas produced by Canadians online, and you could probably count on one hand the number of people making a living from posting videos online north of the border.

Quebecor, which has both a broadcasting interest in TVA and an online interest in ISP Videotron, also argues against regulation. To back up its point, it mentions its web portal Canoe:

Quebecor Media believes that the Canadian footprint in the new-media broadcasting environment is significant and continues to expand rapidly. One indication is that the Canoe.ca network is among the top 12 Canadian platforms in terms of unique visits.

OK, hands up those of you who can name 12 “Canadian platforms”. Yeah.

Non-regulation isn’t perfect. It encourages profit-seekers to go after the lowest common denominator. While there’s plenty of “user-generated content”, there’s very little professional production. Even with the almost non-existent barriers to production and distribution, the difference in value between what is produced for television (even cable channels) and what is produced online is still very large. It’s unclear at this point whether that gap will narrow.

But online is also the great equalizer. There are no public airwaves to portion out. There are no limits whatsoever, and so there should be no regulation, just as there is no regulation of newspapers.

Where conventional TV networks sign import deals and use simultaneous substitution law to effectively print money importing U.S. shows, there is no such rule online because there are no international barriers. Sure, some are trying to put up barriers to make our lives difficult, but the majority of content is available to Canadians as much as Americans, no matter which side of the border it comes from.

It hasn’t arrived yet, because many media owners still think that paying for cheap wire content and slapping your brand on it is a good idea, but eventually media outlets will learn that they’ll have to produce original content to get any audience (and advertising money). It’ll be creative ideas, not cross-border dealmaking, that will create wealth for Canadian media companies in the future.

At least, we hope.

In any case, it would be pointless for the CRTC to try to regulate the Internet, simply because it can’t.

Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph archives on Google

As part of a big announcement this week that Google would be offering to digitize newspapers’ archives (with their permission) and put them online for free, the Quebec Chonicle-Telegraph, North America’s oldest newspaper and the only anglo paper in Quebec City, has jumped on board and some of its archives are already available on Google’s site, mainly from the 50s and 60s. (The QCT even got some link love on the Google Blog.)

(via Le Devoir)

Google the wires

Speaking of wire services, Google News, which used to be an aggregator of news content with links to full articles on their original sites (and for some reason annoyed content owners who I guess don’t want traffic from the biggest website on Earth), has come to an agreement with Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Canadian Press and the U.K. Press Association to host wire stories on its site (as evidenced by that CP story hosted on Google).

The result of this is that when you see mention of “Canadian Press” or “Associated Press” in Google News results, that link will take you on a page at Google instead of some cheap generic small-market U.S. network TV affiliate who just republish unaltered wire copy online.

What it doesn’t mean is that you will be able to directly scroll the wires on Google. You still have to go through the Google News homepage. Fortunately there are other places that give you almost-direct access to unedited CP wire copy.

It probably won’t mean a huge deal, but you’ll note that wire copy on Google is much simpler and less ad-riddled than the places you’ll usually find it, which I think will lead to more people linking to stories off Google when given the choice.

Passing the envelope

Google has launched a collaboratively-created video to promote its Gmail service. It features dozens of people all handing over a big red M on an envelope. Among them are a couple of Montrealers dancing, which, because it appears at the exact halfpoint of the video, is the preview image YouTube uses for it.

From Alain Wong:

Just a bit of news. Feel free to bash Google, or flatter them for coming up with this collaborative video idea. I think we’ve just become the most viewed Montreal swing dancers, with over a million views in two days.

Montrealers as thumbnail in the official Gmail video by Google.

Google ran a contest last month in order to build a collaborative video through Youtube for Gmail. The idea was to pass the Gmail logo (an M envelope) in a creative way through video. Ann Mony and I (swing dancers from Montreal) submitted a video of us swinging out with the envelope, and we made it onto the final cut!

Selected from over 1,100 clips from fans in more than 65 countries. We’re proud to represent Montreal.