Track The International Space Station(ISS) From PC, Facebook And Smartphone

SightSpaceStation by Tokyo-based Tori Ningen [J] is a site gives you full experience and knowledge on the International Space Station(ISS) watch.

The English/Japanese/Spanish-trilingual web site tells you that the earliest date and time when you will be able to watch the ISS flies over your town next time. Google Maps, Google Street View and Google Earth (requires plugin install) show how ISS can be seen from you, how ISS will see your town, country and continent.

The Smartphone version, available both on iOS and Android, Augmented Reality technology used to show the ISS orbit over the image you see.

See an English demo,

They says that the smartphone version already has 6,000 users worldwide.

and Android

There are also Mixi version and Facebook version, though I could not try the Facebook version by error (maybe overloaded?).

See Also:

Tori Ningen’s Official English Blog

Japan’s Top Search Keywords in 2010 By Yahoo! Japan

It is a year-end buzzword ranking season. Yahoo! Japan, Japan’s most popular search portal, though the backend search engine has been gradually switching to Google’s one (everyday more people report that their search results are the similar with the Google’s results), eventually gets the highest number of search volume in Japanese.

Yahoo! Japan just released the most searched keywords ranking both on PC and mobile during 2010 [J].

PC search

ranking keyword meaning 2009 2008
1 YouTube No.1 movie sharing site 1 1
2 Mixi No.3? social network
(PC No.1)
2 2
3 Google No.2 search 4 4
4 Amazon No.2 online mall 6 6
5 2 channel No.1 bulletin board 3 3
6 Rakuten No.1 online mall 5 5
7 Niconico Douga No.2 movie site 7 7
8 Twitter World and Japan’s No.1 Microblogging
9 Ameblo No.1 celebrities blog portal 14
10 Goo NTT’s portal 8 8

Some notable changes

Last year, most top ranked keywords kept the same positions from 2008. However, this time there are some interesting changes as you see above.

Google and Amazon, two world-class services were searched more, whilst the gigantic anonymous BBS 2-channel and the largest e-shopping mall Rakuten stepped down. Rakuten and Amazon Japan are direct competitors so, even Rakuten is leading the market, it may not be a good sign for them. (it is search “volume” so you may also tell that Rakuten became to be so common to make people less search though.)

Another big newcomer is Twitter, ranked at 8th from out of the ranking (top 100). Facebook jumped into the ranking, too (39th).

CyberAgent Ameblo, is also showing their traction. I can tell that their vacuuming all TV talents into their blog and microblog (Ameba Now) platforms goes successful.

Boosted web services:

  • Cookpad(recipe site) 14th(20th in 2009, 47th in 2008) (Asiajin)
  • Google Maps 22nd (42nd, not ranked)
  • Zozotown(apparel mall, recently allied with Yahoo! Japan) 24th (46th, -)
  • Ameba Pigu(CyberAgent’s avatar social) 30th(-) (Asiajin)
  • Ameba(CyberAgent’s head brand) 42th(-)
  • Gree(No.1 Social Network, 99% for mobile) 43rd(73rd, -)
  • Rakuten Travel 47(59th)
  • Navitime(cellphone navigation service) 68th(90th)
  • Pixiv(UGC drawing site) 40th(-) (Asiajin)
  • Gmail 56th(99th, -)
  • Mobage Town(No.2? Social Network, mobile only) 75th (94th, -)

Services Losing positions:

  • Zenryaku(mobile profile site) 48th (34th, -)
  • Wikipedia 52nd (26th, 19th)
  • Rakuten Market(full name of Rakuten’s shopping mall) 59th (37th)
  • Gurunabi(restaurant review site) 76th(53rd)
  • Hotpepper(restaurant coupon site by Recruit) 82nd(58th)
  • @Cosme(cosmetic products review site) 97th (87th)

“Free Game” went up from 69th to 46th, the word both Gree and Mobage Town used a lot to describe their service on TV CM. Both “Movie” and “Map” downed around 10, but “Weather Forecast” got 21 ranks up (see my article on Japanese weather services).

Mobile search

ranking keyword meaning 2009 2008
1 Mixi No.3? social network 1 1
2 Mobage Town No.2? social network 3 3
3 YouTube No.1 movie site 4 5
4 Gree No.1 social network 5
5 2 channel No.1 bulletin board 2 2
6 Google No.2 search 6 7
7 Rakuten No.1 online mall 7 9
8 Twitter World largest microblog
9 Amebro CyberAgent’s blog portal 8
10 Amazon No.2 online mall 9 8

2-channel lost its popularity on the mobile ranking, too. Twitter comes up also on mobile this year.

See Also:

The 2009’s ranking we covered

Google Maps Throws Off “Beta” In Japan On Its 5th Anniversary

Google Japan cerebrated the 5th anniversary of Google Maps with bloggers event and the special logo, which may be the first time custom logo for Google Maps.

The event was held at the Roppongi Hills, to where Google Japan moved from Shibuya recently.

At the event, Google Maps developers made presentations how Google Maps team used Tokyo/Japan, one of the most dense megalopolis, as their guinea pig for their new features. For example, the feature to display shop’s photo on the side by the reviews on the searched map, the one to display users photos on the map overlaid and the one you can switch foreign place name in your languages (like showing town names in Paris in Japanese for Japanese users) were firstly introduced in Japan, then applied to other countries.

The event’s guest, popular animation director Mamoru Oshii, who is known by “Patlabor” and “Ghost in the Shell“, both of which depicted near-future Tokyo. He talked around time and clock, map, movie, animation, desire for destruction of fictional Tokyo, etc. [J]

IMG_9598 photo by a Japanese A-list gadget blogger Masaki Ishitani

Google Japan’s official video of the (part of) anniversary event is on YouTube,

Mamoru Oshii’s session,

See Also

Google Japanese Official Blog [J]

Have Sushi At Fish Market, Then Check Pins Out

In commemoration of announcing “Favorite Places[J]” as a promotion campaign of Google Map, on Monday Google Japan[J] placed “real” red pins at several locations, which imitate mark-up symbols used on Google Map, including JR Shibuya Station and a Buddhist temple next to Tokyo’s fish market that foreign visitors never forget to drop by.

Tsukiji Honganji Temple with Google Map Pins

Google Map Pins at JR Shibuya Station

The pin statue is 4 meters (=13.1 feet) high, and a specially designed pin has a hole in the heart of its body, where a small monitor shows you the video of hot spots selected by celebrities as their favorites. The pin statues are exhibited at the following locations for the dates given.

  • Honganji Temple in Tsukiji: from August 3rd to 9th
  • West Exit, JR Ebisu Station: from August 3rd to 9th
  • Center Exit, JR Shibuya Station: from August 3rd to 9th
  • New South Exit, JR Shinjuku Station: from August 4th to 5th
  • Central Exit, JR Ikebukuro Station: from August 8th to 9th
  • Exit for Showa St., Akihabara Station: from August 8th to 9th

The videos being played at the pin with a hole are available on YouTube as well. The following is prepared by Google Japan and introduces “Favorite Places” in Tokyo. (4 mins. 20 secs.)

In Kyoto, Japanese-style paper lanterns are decorated at the Favorite Places.
Paper Lantern with Google Map Icon

Via Google Japan Blog[J] and CNET Japan[J]

Google Launched Google Maps in Korea

Google started Google Maps Korea on November 25th. Goole was not providing map service in Korea before. Google’s presence is much lower than their presence in the US or Japanese market.

Google Maps Korea will be very helpful for overseas travellers, because they can use the service with their familiar Google Maps interface, even though the map itself is written in Korean.

We hope that many Korean startups will create mashup services using Google maps API.

*Other map services in Korea

Many Korean portals, including Yahoo! Korea [KR] or Paran [KR], are already offering map services.

Yahoo! Korea map (so called ‘gugi’) can overlay traffic situation on the map. you can see traffic situation in Seoul and other cities realtime. Colored lines in the map indicate traffic situation on the road.

Paran is providing a map service using a system of GEOPIS which has been offered a map service in Korea. By drawing a line on the map, users can make their own map. Also, they can upload and share movies about cafe, restaurant and so on.