Posts Tagged 'singapore'

google street view for singapore

A HIGHLY controversial virtual-tour service by Google arrived in Singapore yesterday. And, already, it has polarised Internet users here on whether it infringes privacy.

Street View was launched by the American search-engine giant in the United States in May 2007 and is now accessible for free in more than 100 cities in the world.

Users can embark on a virtual tour in and around the streets of Singapore, enjoying a 360-degree and panoramic 3-D view of roads, buildings and iconic landmarks.

The service is available via smartphones as well.

Singapore is the first country in South-east Asia to get the service. Japan is the only other Asian nation to have it.

While some users welcome Street View, others are not so enamoured of it.

Privacy advocates in countries such as Britain, Japan and the US had complained that images featuring private gardens as well as people sun-tanning, leaving strip clubs or falling off their bikes were captured and made available to all and sundry.

In response, Google started, in July last year, to blur faces and licence-plate numbers.

However, it has been criticised for some poorly-blurred images.

Just last month, Swiss privacy watchdog Federal Data Protection and Information announced that it would sue Google for failing to make human faces and car plates “sufficiently unrecognisable”.

Mr Andrew McGlinchey, Google’s head of product management in South-east Asia, said users who object to certain images can report them by clicking on “Report a Problem” in the bottom left-hand corner of each image on maps.google.com.sg

While concerns will be addressed within 24 to 48 hours, requests for removal will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Mr McGlinchey said that its pictures are taken from public areas, and hence “we prefer not to (remove them)”.

Also, he added that “99.9 per cent of users love” the service. Still, if the images feature private homes, they will honour requests to take them down because of privacy issues, he said.

Marketing executive Sylvia Ng, 24, likes the tool as it helps her plan her itinerary.

“A map is 2-D, so sometimes you can’t gauge the actual distance of the next turn. This can provide landmarks. Also, now I can find the entrance to obscure carparks,” said the motorist.

She has no issue with having her image taken if it was recorded in a public setting, she added.

However, for project engineer Timothy Lim, the idea of having his image splashed online for all to see is “a little unsettling”.

“It feels like Big Brother in the book 1984, where people are watching your every move. I wouldn’t want to be caught doing something embarrassing,” he said.

Google said that images of Singapore streets, which range “in the millions”, were taken between October last year and the beginning of this year.

Cameras perched on top of cars took high-resolution pictures every few metres.

Mr McGlinchey said that the service will be updated “sometime next year” when major construction projects such as the integrated resorts and shopping malls in Orchard Road are completed.

From October, it had also begun using tricycles to record images of small nooks and pedestrian paths which cannot be accessed by cars.

The information gathered will be made available only next year.

Mr Ken Low, assistant chief executive for marketing at Singapore Tourism Board (STB), is a fan of Street View.

He said: “It will raise Singapore’s prominence and reach through the Internet. People unfamiliar with Singapore can now get a first look at our city.”

Just 2 days ago I took Google Street View out for a test drive. It’s pretty awesome finally being able to see familiar places on Street View – Up till a few days ago, Google Street View wasn’t available in Singapore. Most of the major roads are covered so far, bu the images look like they were taken months ago. It’s great to know that they’ll be updating the images next year once the integrated resorts and shopping malls are finished. Else, foreign visitors wouldn’t be able to see these buildings on Street View.

On a side note, now we can build an exercise bike and hook it up to Google Street View too! Just like what this guy did: http://hackaday.com/2009/11/11/biking-through-google-street-view/

risks in the recovering economy

World economy faces bank, bubble risks, says Zoellick

The good news is financial markets have broken the fall and there is a sense of revival in those markets, says World Bank president Robert Zoellick

Singapore: The global economy faces risks next year as rising unemployment may hurt banks and asset bubbles in Asia could undermine confidence, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said on Wednesday.

The good news is financial markets have broken the fall and there is a sense of revival in those markets, Zoellick said in a speech in Singapore. “Most expectations are for a relatively slow growth process. I am actually relatively comfortable about the prospects this year but as I look at 2010 we anticipate some risks,” he said.

The recovery won’t be symmetrical around the world, Zoellick said. Governments around the world should follow through with their current stimulus measures even as new stimulus packages may not be necessary, he said at a separate roundtable in Singapore.

Asian nations may still have time before they need to begin tightening policy even as the region, which is expected to grow faster than other parts of the world, may face inflationary pressures, Zoellick said.

The region must be vigilant on asset bubbles, and solutions won’t be easy to determine, he said. Policymakers should consider using other tools before raising interest rates to contain asset price surges, he added.

The global recovery in part has been fuelled by confidence, which may be undermined by asset bubbles, Zoellick said. Banks also face renewed risks as global unemployment rates rise, making it more difficult for consumers to repay loans, he said.

Are we heading towards another financial crisis? With economies on the road to recovery, we start to read about news of banks in the US going back to their old ways, giving huge performance bonuses to their executives. This is precisely what caused the sub-prime crisis in the first place. We have to be vigilant in order to prevent another such crisis from happening. I don’t think we can afford to have another such crisis in such a short span of time.

Shamim Adam / Bloomberg

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Singapore: The global economy faces risks next year as rising unemployment may hurt banks and asset bubbles in Asia could undermine confidence, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said on Wednesday.

The good news is financial markets have broken the fall and there is a sense of revival in those markets, Zoellick said in a speech in Singapore. “Most expectations are for a relatively slow growth process. I am actually relatively comfortable about the prospects this year but as I look at 2010 we anticipate some risks,” he said.

The recovery won’t be symmetrical around the world, Zoellick said. Governments around the world should follow through with their current stimulus measures even as new stimulus packages may not be necessary, he said at a separate roundtable in Singapore.

Asian nations may still have time before they need to begin tightening policy even as the region, which is expected to grow faster than other parts of the world, may face inflationary pressures, Zoellick said.

The region must be vigilant on asset bubbles, and solutions won’t be easy to determine, he said. Policymakers should consider using other tools before raising interest rates to contain asset price surges, he added.

The global recovery in part has been fuelled by confidence, which may be undermined by asset bubbles, Zoellick said. Banks also face renewed risks as global unemployment rates rise, making it more difficult for consumers to repay loans, he said.

migrating after graduation

Did you see this in the newspaper a few days ago?

From The Straits Times:

SINGAPORE is a top immigration hot spot, according to a global survey conducted by Gallup.

If it were to take in all adults who wish to settle in the country, its adult population of 3.6 million would jump to 13 million, said the survey released this week.

Gallup arrived at this figure by using what it called the Potential Net Migration Index (PNMI).

The index is the estimated number of adults who wish to leave a country permanently subtracted from the estimated number who wish to immigrate to the country, as a proportion of the total adult population.

The higher a positive PNMI value, the greater the potential of net population gain, proportional to the population size.

Singapore emerged tops with the highest PNMI value of 260 per cent, followed by Saudi Arabia (180 per cent), New Zealand (175 per cent), Canada (170 per cent) and Australia (145 per cent).