Category Archives: google earth launches assault on Asian market – itsReal

source: The Australian 

ONLINE property classified leader (REA) has commenced a major assault on the Asian online real estate market, using two newly launched websites in Hong Kong and Dubai as a linchpin to expand in the region.


CEO Simon Baker at AGM. Picture: Bob Finlayson

Chief executive Simon Baker told the company’s annual general meeting that its objective was “to become No1 or No2” in every market in which it operated.

The company was now the No1 online real estate player in Australia, Italy and Luxembourg, he said, with strong positions in a number of other markets, including the UK, through However, the prospect of growth in the Asian market is attracting most of Mr Baker’s attention.

In September, REA – majority-owned by News Limited, publisher of The Australian – bought Hong Kong’s leading English language property publication, Square Foot magazine, and last month launched a sister online property brand,

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TV, the way you want it !!! we shall see. But they launched their new website today, as announced by their email. Once again it is you last chance to go to the website to register your interest to be invited to beta the TV Service.



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Google Earth Gets 3D Berlin…When will Google Earth Get Avatars… itsReal


Click Your Way through the Brandenburg Gate

By Holger Dambeck and Christian Stöcker BridgeLink

As though one Berlin were not enough. A virtual 3D tour of the German capital at Google Earth is the first of its kind. Soon, the site hopes to add a historical tour as well.


Berlin has gone virtual. As of Thursday morning, the German capital – from the gigantic Alexanderplatz TV tower right down to the potholes in the side streets — can be seen in Google Earth. The virtual visitor can even enter the new Berlin Central Station and marvel at the Reichstag. Other landmarks are likewise on offer.


Photo Gallery: Berlin Goes Virtual



For now, the pixelated metropolis is largely unpopulated. There are no virtual politicians wandering the government quarter and no virtual shoppers strolling Unter den Linden. It will be a few years yet before online cities like Berlin get mashed up with computer worlds like Second Life.But 3D Berlin is more than just a pretty computer project. Already, there are those dreaming of online shops occupying the same address in the virtual world that their real-world sisters occupy in real life — and with the same wares on display. Indeed, it seems that the virtual parliament buildings, embassies and election campaigns on Second Life are little more than a test run for the digital version of the real world that Google, Microsoft and others are in the process of building.

In order to see Berlin 3D, you need to have the newest version of Google Earth and must access it through this link.

Berlin has proven a willing partner, having supplied the site with content free of charge. Represented by the Business Location Center Berlin-Brandenburg, the German capital commissioned a 3D model of itself from 3D Geo — which it then made available to Google.

“It’s a new dimension to innovative location marketing and investor incentive,” says Harald Wolf, Berlin’s Senator for Economics, Technology and Women’s Issues.


Berliners are taking particular delight in having beaten their rival Hamburgers to the chase. On January 17, Hamburg announced it would be the first city in the world to present itself in 3D on Google Earth. The press conference featured a virtual helicopter flight over the city; viewers floated over Hamburg’s city hall and its famous historic port.Google spokesman Stefan Keuchel praised the realistic textures of the facades, obtained using aerial shots of the buildings. He promised that Hamburg 3D would be going online “in a few days or weeks.” Evidently he promised too much — the program is still not online. Data protection issues have delayed the project indefinitely.

The result for Berlin is impressive. Some 44,000 buildings in Berlin’s city center can be seen in the simple view, though the facades are not the real ones. But a complete virtual city tour, coupled with historic narration, is soon to come. Some 550 buildings of particular significance have been singled out with photos of their facades.

A further 50 buildings and building complexes are represented in greater detail. Most novel of all, however, is the attempt to bring virtual visitors inside. Users can wander through the Reichstag, check out the new Berlin Central Station, marvel at the stunning interior of Frank Gehry’s building next to the Brandenburg Gate, and visit the Sony Center and Olympic Stadium.

Five especially prominent buildings be entered virtually and viewed from the inside: the Reichstag (German parliament), the central train station, the DZ Bank on Pariser Platz, the Sony Center and the Olympic Stadium.

Further improvements are sure to come. The race is on for the best 3D city in the world.

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RUMORS: More about and a virtual world game – even if they do create a virtual world GAME, Can it compete with Secondlife’s leading advantage in its COMMERCE driven virtual world ?

I invite your feedback, send me your views !

Sly rumours of a persistent world ‘game’ from Google have been re-ignited this week, with analyst Michael Eisenberg of Benchmark Capital caught ruminating on the prospect of a Google-engineered ‘metaverse’. To the uninitiated, a metaverse is a virtual world, a la Second Life, with the speculation being that Google will use real-world data gathered from their existing enterprises to craft an alternate reality platform online.

Popular web mag Business 2.0 previously implied that Google could be working on a ‘virtual world’, and a social-interaction model. Eisenberg points to an ‘academic source’, as revealing that Google were in the process of buying in-game ad company AdScape, with a view to monetising any virtual world service. A report on tech-culture blog points to sources in China as confirming that a local firm has been employed to craft avatars for users to navigate the world with, while an internal team at the internet giant builds the ‘metaverse’ itself.

Google have in the past refused to comment, but speculation from the blog report hints that a team formerly of the fame, are working on the world presently. is an alternative to Second Life, though lacks the economic clout of Linden Labs’ rival. Finally, one of the key figures behind Google Earth and Maps, John Hanke, is said to have a gaming pedigree, sparking chatter that some kind of online world could be on the cards. The search engine firm’s own SketchUp service already has a product for crafting 3D models for using as layers on Google Earth, though whether this would fit with with overall aim of an engaging persistent-world remains uncertain.

Google are certainly in a position to put a new spin on the whole 2.0 social-interaction phenomenon, and given their existing prowess in the field of context-relevant advertising the company could certainly be looking to new methods for ad delivery, capitalising on the present online ‘zeitgeist’: MMO games and social-networking.

If further proof were needed that Google could be plotting a ‘metaverse’ funded by some clever ad tie-ins, we need look no further than Google’s recent entry into the radio ads market through acquisition, which suggests Google are considering new methods of ad delivery away from their search engine results pages.

All just gossip at present. Source:


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Sweden to set up FIRST embassy in Second Life – itSreal

Sweden to set up embassy in Second Life

Published: 26th January 2007 18:02 CET

Sweden is to become the first country to establish diplomatic representation in the virtual reality world of Second Life, officials said on Friday.

“We are planning to establish a Swedish embassy in Second Life primarily as an information portal for Sweden,” Swedish Institute (SI) director Olle Wästberg told AFP.
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The embassy would not provide passports or visas but would instruct visitors how to obtain such documents in the real world and act as a link to web-based information about the Scandinavian country.

“Second Life allows us to inform people about Sweden and broaden the opportunity for contact with Sweden easily and cheaply,” Wästberg said.

The Swedish Institute is an agency of the Swedish foreign ministry tasked with informing the world about Sweden. The ministry fully backed the initiative, he added.

Second Life — a fantasy world inhabited by computer-generated residents created by San Francisco technology company Linden Lab — has attracted several real-world companies, including car manufacturers and sports clothing makers, which created 3-D stores.

While there were individuals in Second Life calling themselves the “Canadian Ambassador” and “The United States Embassy to Second Life”, the Swedish initiative would however be the first officially sanctioned embassy in Second Life.

Wästberg hoped the embassy would open soon. In the longer term the Swedish Institute envisaged buying an island in the virtual world to create a home for Swedish companies.

On Friday, according to the Second Life website (, there were 2,938,247 inhabitants in its alternative reality, more than one third of them having signed up in the last 60 days.

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RUMORS: Google Earth a Secondlife in the making ?

All this hype about Second Life is resulting in lots more competitors, it seems. There was another rumor today about Google turning Google Earth into a sort of Second Life competitor. This one comes from Michael Eisenberg, a partner at Benchmark Capital, which is one of the investors in Second Life. He says the rumor is “Google is working on turning Google Earth into a virtual world a la SecondLife.”

Last month Business 2.0 speculated on this as well, noting that Google’s SketchUp product has tools to create 3-D models and add them as a layer to Google Earth.

The only missing pieces are avatars and a functioning economy. As EirePreneur pointed out, Google’s already eyeing the right advertising platforms for a virtual world, too.


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