Shaunak Das from Serampore reaches Google headquarters, Courtesy: Google Local Guides

‘Local Guides’ is a program hosted by Google, which invites its users to help them make the map better, by asking them to review, add photo, answer questions regarding any location in the NASA satellite-aided map. Even one can add places, rectify incorrect information and can claim his/her business placed in the map.

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After Google launched this feature in public, it got a huge response from all over the world, and different people from different cities went on to contribute their known locations to improve the world map provided by Google. Local Guides from a same region regularly arranged meetups to discuss about it. India was not unaware of it, although initially, it got not much response. The interest of public over it took new heights after a doctor from Serampore, Hooghly, West Bengal, got chance to represent India at the prestigious annual Local Guides Summit arranged by Google at its headquarters at San Fransisco, California, United States of America.

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Today, we will listen to his story, and would of course gain some motivation from the hard work he did to attain success. Before that, we must introduce this young, vivacious man to our readers. His name is Shaunak Das, or we should say, Dr. Shaunak Das, a doctor who is currently associated with a private company at Salt Lake, Kolkata. Dr. Das had been invited by Google to visit their annual summit which took place from 12th to 15th September, 2016, after a tough selection process involving numerous other Local Guides.

Here is what he said about this journey in his own words:-

Introduction to Maps

I started keeping my eyes on this initiative from 2000, when there was no Google Maps, but Panoramio, which used the NASA copyrighted satellite images to locate the positions. I was eager to know if I can locate my position in it too, so that the world can find me. I was an active user in Panoramio during 2002-2003, and I regularly contributed for them. In 2005, Google started its mapping service called the ‘Google Maps’, for which they had to tie up with NASA, since Google had no own satellites. At that time, the maps were very ordinary, we could mark the roads, meadows and the water bodies through the Polygon.14894578_10157638946640333_959729963_o

I was doing it actively, meanwhile I was busy studying the BHMS course (Dr. Shaunak Das is a doctor). Unfortunately, some group of hackers attacked Google Maps, and damaged this Polygon system, forcing Google to disable this feature completely. Following this incident, the current Local Guides feature evolved out.

Equipment Used

It’s a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which I brought from the Rhode Island, U.S.A. I downloaded ‘Google Street View’ app from the Play Store, which has a feature of 360 degree camera, which allows one to capture the 360 degree image of a place. Earlier, Google did not allow users other than USA residents to access this feature on this app, but I was surprised to see that I could access it even in India. Later I asked Google, they said since I brought this phone from USA, and its address is registered there, I’d have no problem using it. It was very advantageous to me, and I started roaming around the city and capture 360 degree images. Other photographers also asked me how to capture these images. I think, I was the only 360 degree photographer in India that time, and this feature appeared as an X-factor, while Google selected me for their LG Summit among thousands of applicants.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

The Selection Process

Yes, it was a tricky form actually. We were completely unaware of the fields of this form, and maximum people put their name as ‘XYZ’ to proceed to next pages to know what Google actually wanted from the applicants, but in this process, they could not proceed further. Google said we’d need 20-25 minutes to fill the complete form, but in reality, it took around 1 hour. On one Sunday, I sat to do it, and I was puzzled instantly. After asking about country, Visa information, they asked what had I done as a local guide, and what have I done for my regional forum of Google Guides.

This Local Guides program is not very popular in Bengal, and we had a small forum called ‘West Bengal Local Guides Community’ created by Amitesh Gayen, our fellow Local Guide. I had to provide information about a Local Guide meetup we organized last year at Eco Park, and how a hospital in Uttarpara helped me in this activity. And finally came the hardest demand ever – they asked me to send a 1-minute video explaining why I want to visit the summit.

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I asked my fellow Local Guides to help me shooting this video, but unfortunately majority of them refused to do so because they could not find any personal benefit from it. I did not rely on professional videographers too because they would edit the video themselves and I may not be satisfied with it. So finally I took my selfie stick bought from the Niagra falls, and went to Millennium Park and recorded my words with Howrah Bridge at the backdrop on my own, while people almost considered me a half-mad watching me talk alone like that. Thereafter I used Camtesia software to edit it into a 1-minute time frame, before uploading it in Youtube to send Google its link.

Google received almost 1000 such applications, among which only 75 Local Guides were invited for the summit. I came to know that I got a place in the list when Google announced the results on 20th May 2016.

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At the Summit

On the first day there (12th October), we had a reception party. We were staying at Hyatt, where Google booked 100 rooms for 75 of us and 25 Google employees. The next day, we visited the Google headquarters at Mountain View, Silicon Valley, where we had a private meeting regarding some of their internal issues. We boarded a special bus there, which could kneel down to ground level while exchanging passengers. There, the 75 guides were divided into 7 teams, and I got place in Team Yellow. The vice president of Google Geo, Jen Fitzpatrick gave a welcome speech to us, and mentioned the top 5 Local Guides who helped improvement of Google Maps to a large extent. In that top 5, apart from me, there was a Malaysian girl who uploaded 640 GB photos to the map, and another boy who showcased the physically disabled people on his video. A man from Nigeria also featured in that list who helped in the Google Local Business.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Then they showed which Guide had to travel the most to reach there. A guy from the Reunion Island (French colony in Africa) was declared as the one who had to travel the highest distance. I was second in that list, although I had to cover greater distance through a break journey. We were asked to click unlimited photos and post it with #LGSummit16, they’d show those on local TV, and the best photographs would get prize. Then, we had a grand lunch session at the large Google canteen, before heading to the Merchandise store. We as well visited the Android garden, where all the sculptures of the existing Android OS are kept (Cupcake to Marshmallow). The next day, we visited another local office of Google and then, a bowling game center.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

That was the end of the Google tour, and 30 of the 75 of us visited the Alcatraz Island, which is quite similar to Cellular Jail at Port Blair, Andaman Islands. I met with the prison officer there, who was selling his autobiography to the visitors. Thereafter, I spent time with my relatives in U.S. and returned here on 18th October.

Any Special Moment

I wanted to get in acquaintance with as many as Local Guides from the world as I can. So, among all the 75 people who visited there, I have talked to at least 25 of them. I even calculated time to talk with each so that I could get enough time to talk to maximum number of people there. Meeting so many different people from different nations were the most special experience for me. Apart from that, getting into the Silicon Valley, which contains the headquarters of internet giants such as Google, Facebook, was also special.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Tips for the Junior Local Guides

It’s easy for anyone to get 500 points and reach Level 5 in this program, but as it has some positive sides like one can give instance of his contributions in job opportunity, it has some negative sides too. People in India are too much competitive, and in a country like ours with 120 Crore population, lacs of people are using smartphone. Google hosts this summit annually, and hardly have they selected 2-3 local guides from a country, so if one contributes in the Google Maps with the particular aim to reach U.S.A. Google headquarters somehow, then that’s not a great idea. You should not leave your studies and do this all the day, to reach there. The people I met there said that they did it just for fun, at their leisure time, they clicked photos and submitted to Google Maps. An Indian guy even scored 10,000 points, and there were reports about him that how he could attain that much, and finally he was not even selected for this summit. I would suggest junior Local Guides not to take this thing as a competition, instead just enjoy doing it.

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Photo Credit:- Google Local Guides

Even I faced some bad experiences regarding this qualification process. When I got selected, my fellow Local Guides protested against my selection, and they even set up Facebook pages complaining against me. In a large country like India, if every top scorer from a state wants to go there, it’s totally absurd.

Do it as fun, and think about it from a completely different angle rather than setting an eye on the annual summit. If you add your home to the Google Maps, it’s your family who would get the advantages of it, maybe while returning at night from somewhere through private cabs which use Google Maps for navigation.

Britain to Leave EU

Pallavi Ekbote

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What is Brexit?

Brexit is literally British Exit (from the EU – European Union) and is favored by the majority of the voters in the UK. British and European leaders shall negotiate the terms of Britain’s departure based on the result of the Referendum deal held on June 23.

 

About European Union :

After world war 2, a movement was created for the alliance of 28 European countries including UK in 1993. EU operates single market and allows free movement of goods, services and people between the member states.

 

Why Britain departed from EU :

In 2008, a financial crisis occurred, resulting a recession in Europe. As a result, unemployment rose and tax revenue fell. Banks needed bailouts. The financial crisis of EU were uneasy for the wealthy nations like UK. Also, the employment opportunities in Britain got the attention of other European nations, and they started migrating to England. This was also the major fact that made the British voters to leave the European Union.

 

Votes that decided whether to remain or to leave

The vote for leaving –  51.9% (17,410,742)

The vote for staying – 48.1% (16,141,241)

More than 30 million people have voted.

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What Article 50 claims :

According to Art-50 of the European Union treaty, the state should be notified and obliged to try to negotiate a withdrawal agreement. However, the Brexit doesn’t represent this notification. It could take place within days. Hence, the vote is not legally binding and still can be theoretically blocked.

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Consequences of this step :

1- The departure resulted in the resignation by the British PM David Cameron as he had not wished the country to exit from the EU.

2- The possibilities are that the next PM could be Boris Johnson, a member of Cameron’s conservative party & formal London Mayor.

3- The products, services and people of British could be in danger, losing it’s easy entry into other European countries.

4- About 1.2 million British people currently live in other EU countries. Immigration would be more complex issue resulted by the Brexit.

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Impact on Indian Economy :

Sources are that there won’t be much chaos between India and UK in terms of trade and business, but the outsourced factories & offices in India might be recalled to Britain to create job opportunities. Since India is the largest investor of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in UK, it is obvious that UK will have to keep lesser regulation to India for the growth of their economy. However, Indian companies would be dealing with two sets of laws – European Union and Britain.

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Foropick: Growing by Ourselves

SUMANA SAHA

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WHO?

We are Foro- which means a medium; and we provide maintenance and management of everything a man may need on a daily basis. We come in so that we can maintain and manage things for you while you can invest more time in maintaining the things which specifically need your presence- that is yourself, your family and friends.

Our moto is simple if there’s a thing that someone else can maintain and manage for you- we shall do it, so that you get more time for things which no one else can do for you.

We provide the right maintenance for your household goods by professionals and manage to decorate your home, plan Weddings & Receptions, plan yours kid’s birthday or get the best of everything that you may need in your daily life which is related to where you stay, things you use to take care of yourself and capture all happy moments of your lives.

The need of the hour is digitalization of the unorganized sector in the household maintenance service and event management. We want to bring this unorganized sector under one digital umbrella, by making use of technology and smart processes to coagulate the structure of the highly unorganized service market in India and give rise to a concrete framework, so that these services are just a click away on websites or mobile apps.

“QUALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN QUANTITY”- Steve jobs

WHAT?

We have come up with the following:

Proper Maintainence of the place you stay in:
We shall enable you to lead your daily life in the best possible ambience and aid you in perfecting every corner of your residence including masonry, carpentry, electricians, plumbers, pest control, painters, packers and movers and shiftibg services.

Household goods:
We pledge to offer first hand servicing of household appliances just at the distance of a click. Some of our services include upkeeping of kitchen gadgets like mixers and grinders, microwave ovens, chimneys, refrigerators, aquaguards and common electronic gadgets like the television, air conditioners, cell phones, sound systems, speakers, automobiles and many more.

Managing yourself in the best possible way:
A sound body is important as a sound mind. Amidst all the daily chores when you almost forget about yourself, we step in to send to your doorstep the doctor, the beautician, the pujari, the lawyer, the driver and the attendants as per your demand.

Making your happiest moments memorable:
Event management shall be executed for both family occasions and professional meetings. Right from booking the right place for the event to catering the right food and proper decorations, we shall see that the entire programme is hosted smoothly.

On your call, we shall also make sure to capture the very precious moments of your life by professional photographers.

Special Theme based events
Multi-cuisine catering
Christmas & New Year parties
Musicians, Emcee & Artists, DJs
Videography & Photography
Wedding Planning & Reception
Birthday Planning

WHY?

Here for the right people, we at foro understand this problem of time, hence on your request we shall make sure that you get the right professional for all your day to day requirements. Whatever time you can squeeze from your busy day- spend it with family and friends, while we maintain all things around you.

In the present circumstance, it is very difficult to get the right professional for your household services on an urgent demand. We assure you that you will get the professional right when you need it, and not after a while. Providing this service on an urgent basis is our responsibility and our business policy.

We understand that your job takes you places, while your parents are there back at home; they can’t roam around looking for the right man for the job. Thus with your one click we will send the reliable professional at your doorstop while you stay miles away.

If the locality is unknown, getting a local personnel to fix your broken pipe can be a hell of a job- we shall make sure with one click, the right local professional reaches your doorstep. We shall give you home delivery of all your common household services.

The need for these services is age old, but there is no contemporary solution to these problems. Like Uber is the response to today’s transportation problem, we are the contemporary solution to these age old needs of home maintenance services.