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Google finally launches Cube, play your way through a cubic Google Maps world

Google Maps Cube game

Back in January, Google released a teaser video for a Google maps-based game that was set to be released in February.  But February, came and went and the game wasn’t released.  Now, Google has finally quietly launched the game online at

Travel through New York, Tokyo and many other cities and learn all about the Google map features.   You can even bike your way through San Francisco as fast as possible and Google recommends you pay attention to the biking layer on the map to see which roads are safer.

To play, you navigate the marble by using your cursor.  As you finish each level, your time is recorded.

I stumbled upon the newly launched game after checking the web address which Google registered (Whois) earlier this week.  The website went live in the past 24 hours.

The game is split up into eight levels.

Level 1 has you maze your way through the busy streets of Manhattan to reach your friends at the Brooklyn Bowl.

Level 2 has you in San Francisco on two wheels, biking your way to four different landmarks.

You’re finding your way through Paris traffic to the Eiffel tower on Level 3.  Google recommends you pay attention to the traffic layer to see which roads are fast and which will grind you to a halt.  If you take a busy route, your marble slows.

On Level 4, you’re in the London Underground trying to get to the Big Ben during rush hour. Google points out the subway lines are connected by color and you need to find the fastest combination possible.

Visit Tokyo on Level 5.  You need to find your way through the complex streets of the city, visiting all the tourist locations while paying close attention to the road network.

Dine in Las Vegas on Level 6. You must visit all the six reviewed restaurants in central Las Vegas in the smallest time possible.

Go indoors finally on Level 7.  Find your way through the Mall of America and collect all of the Google Offers on each of the four floors.

On Level 8 you step it up a notch using your knowledge of the previous levels to find your fastest route to your objective in the ever changing cubic city.

At the time of this story, the fastest total time is 2 minutes 45 seconds.

Talking about this story: Techmeme, Engadget, TechRadar UK, VentureBeat, 36kr,, Tech2, SlashGear and Gizmodo

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Could the Google-branded tablet be called the Google Play? [UPDATED]

Google Play

[Update 1 on March 6, 2012:. Google Play isn’t the name of Google’s upcoming tablet.  The company announced that starting today, Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore will become part of Google Play.]

Original story on March 2, 2012:. Rumors have been swirling since late February that Google may launch a Google-branded 7-inch tablet later this year.  So, what might it be called?  How about the ‘Google Play’?

I like to speculate on new domain name registrations and this past week it appears Google registered a slew of domain names like, and, hinting at a new product or device that sure sounds a lot like a Google-tablet. 

On February 29, well over a dozen domain names were registered through the brand protection company MarkMonitor. 

The full list of names includes:

Of course, Google hasn’t officially been confirmed as the buyer of the Google Play domains since the registrant is hidden behind Whois privacy, but Google regularly uses MarkMonitor to acquire domain names.  Its own (Whois) is registered with MarkMonitor.

At the time of this posting, none of the names resolve to a web page.

This is all speculation at this point, but with the tablet expected to arrive in April, I’m guessing whatever the name is, we’ll see more news soon.

As of today, Google does not own or

Discussion: The Next Web,, Geek, RootzWiki, androidandme.comTom’s Guide, Ubergizmo, WebProNews,, MobileSyrup.comPocket Gamer, Electronista, Phones ReviewGeeky Gadgets,, Marketing Land, Tablet Community, WinFuture,, TechCrunch and SlashGear

(Image of Google tablet concept via Chromium)


What is Google’s RoboHornet? Whois record

It may be nothing, it may be something.  But what is known is that Google privately registered the domain names and on February 17, 2012, then removed the Whois privacy and transferred the domains to its own name servers a week later. (Whois) and (Whois) were both registered through internet brand protection company MarkMonitor. 

According to Whois historical records, Google chose to keep the registrant information private.  That is, until the record was updated on February 24, revealing Google Inc. as the owner.

So, what is RoboHornet?

I won’t bother speculating at this point, because Google buys new domain names all the time for a variety of reasons, including future projects that may never see the light of day.

However, after a brief internet search, I did come across a small piece of information.  On May 4, 2011, it appears a Google developer created a project called RoboHornet on Google Project Hosting, a free collaborative development environment for open source projects.  

As of today though, the RoboHornet project home page returns a 403 error.

Neither nor resolve to a web page.

Discussion: Marketing Land


Google Inc. registers more GoogleWeb, ChromeWeb, and Screenwise domains Whois

Search Engine Land’s Matt McGee reported earlier this month that Google had registered a number of Labs, Screenwise and Adwords domains. 

Among the list of fourteen names were domains like,, and

Now Google has registered more variations of GoogleWeb, ChromeWeb and Screenwise.

On February 23, Google picked up,,,, and

It also appears Google privately registered (Whois) and (Whois) through the internet brand protection company MarkMonitor.

The Screenwise domains supplement Google’s Screenwise (, a panel of a few thousand people who are paid to gather data.  As noted by Search Engine Land, the domains hint that Google is serious about becoming a consumer data gatherer and source.

While the purpose of obtaining the Screenwise domains is pretty obvious, less is known about the GoogleWeb and ChromeWeb names.

At the time of this story, none of the new domains resolve to a web page.

Discussion: Marketing Land


UPDATED: Google may be officially launching Rater Hub

Rater Hub web page

Back in 2005, Henk van Ess wrote about the Google Rater Hub, a somewhat secretive program at the time that had people review and rate the quality of Google’s search results.

Well, now it looks like the Rater Hub program will soon have a more public home on the web with the registration of the domain earlier this week by Google.  

Typing the web address today, takes you to a Google 404 page that says, “The requested URL / was not found on this server. That’s all we know.” 

404 pages on Google’s network can be a good sign that something is happening out at Google.

Paying people to review and rate search results at Google is nothing new and the very topic was recently in the news.

In January, Matt McGee published a detailed interview online with a Google Search Quality Rater, after a contractor contacted Search Engine Land wanting to explain and clarify some of the things that had been written and said about the program.

While Google hires contractors to do the job, it’s possible it may be doing more.

The search engine giant registered the domain name (Whois) through MarkMonitor on February 13, 2012, which surprisingly had never been registered before. Whois record

In the past few days, the name transferred from MarkMonitor’s name server to Google.

Given the purchase of the domain, name server changes and the recent news, we could expect to see something soon on

[Update 1 on February 22, 2012: In the past 24 hours, a sign in page has gone online using Google Accounts, as shown in the snapshot below.  The message reads, “Google is not affiliated with the contents of Ewok2 Rater Hub or its owners.”  It appears Rater Hub is a third party service, not operated by Google.] 

Ewok2 Rater Hub

Discussion: Search Engine Land