The Wrap: 27 November

The Wrap: 27 November

Venturing out

Google Ventures, the internet company's startup investment arm, has spruced up its website under the snappy new URL gv.com. The overhauled user interface paves the way for a bunch of new content in the GV Library. That includes articles about design and picking an agency, video interviews with startup founders, the rules of product management, getting hiring right, creating strong culture, holding useful meetings and a lot more besides. Some workshops available to GV portfolio companies have now been posted as publicly-viewable videos.

Showing your best side

Just when we'd got to grips with updating our Company Pages, LinkedIn starts serving up Showcase Pages. The idea is to let people keep up to date with the things they're most interested in, which might only be one part of what a company does.

Admins set up Showcase Pages by identifying the departments or brands in their business worthy of the spotlight, then LinkedIn users can hit follow if it grabs their attention. The pages are designed to be content heavy and to focus on sharing your firm's latest updates, LinkedIn says.

Destination: Middle Earth

Air New Zealand isn't the only one riding on the coat tails of Hobbit fever. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, here's the site for a Google experiment using Chrome to create an interactive version of Middle Earth as the Desolation of Smaug sequel approaches.

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It starts out with an interactive map of Tolkien-created locations, each of which allows you to drill down into multi-media content and games, like taking on trolls and exploring the ruins of the Dul Guldur fortress. The latest of several Chrome experiments, this one was developed by North Kingdom in the UK, in a partnership with Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema and MGM. It was built using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, Chrome's Touch Events programming interface to support interactivity like pinch to zoom, horizontal Parallax scrolling for the slideshow/commentary about each location, CSS media queries to target different screen sizes, and the WebGL JavaScript programming interface to render the interactive 3D graphics.

It's all pretty clever but so far only three of the seven locations have been unlocked.

Glassy eyed

Google recently released a developer kit for Glass, so developers can make native augmented reality apps for the company's headset.

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The new 'Glassware' will run directly on the hardware rather than over the web, which was the case with the Mirror programming interface. The kit offers access to the hardware's voice recognition system, the gesture detector, the gyroscope, accelerometer, and 'cards', which are part of the user interface. Google also used the launch to show off some cool new Glass apps, like virtual reality word game Spellista and translation app Word Lens.