Oh they’re just getting started with the MRT-7

It’s been months seeing structures being erected of what looks like circular frames for the new MRT along Regalado Avenue, and traffic’s been terrible since. I didn’t know they’re just getting started until I come across this rather bad news. That could only mean adding an hour or even more to travel time, struggling going out with the limited or closed out lanes and squeezing back in with shortcuts that are already congested. Bring a thick book daily or load up your Spotify with a long playlist, it’s going to be a looonnnggg ride until at least 2018.

Google’ing the Philippine elections

If you’re looking for a one-stop site that brings together updates on this year’s national and local elections, Google’s Philippine elections resource page is your perfect online go-to. Launched on the first week of May, it’s a collaboration between Google Philippines and broadcast networks and online news portals, now getting hits from over 50 countries around the world, from as far as Uzbekistan, Rwanda, Finland, and the Netherlands.

The site contains election-related stories from various local news sources, providing information by political party or national issue, including broadcast coverage, precincts and candidates, and an incidents map organized into tabs. The incidents map plots election-related incidents on a Google Maps map tile of the Philippines embedded in the site, providing readers with a visual idea of crisis and violence levels in areas of interest.

If you ditched the TV (like me) to go all-out online for news, then add Google’s Philippine elections resource page to your bookmarked websites, and arm yourself with valuable information when claiming your right to suffrage this May 13. Oh and don’t forget to vote wisely!

Instagram for BlackBerry 10?

When BlackBerry 10 was launched last week, I stayed up late as I was really curious, not necessarily with the mobile OS and the devices or the fruity re-branding (my love affair with BB is short-lived), but with the 70,000 “portathon” applications that are supposedly ready at release. I am of course interested in the photo editing and filter apps, like Snapseed, but I was not exactly expecting to see Instagram, which CrackBerry’s Kevin Michaluk reports, will definitely be coming to the BlackBerry 10. 

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Instagram has yet to confirm this development, but if true, then I’ll be happy to welcome BB friends to our IGersManila community. Now, the next question is, what’s keeping Instagram from releasing a Windows Phone version?

Hello Google Philippines, mabuhay!

With a media invite that played around with the numbers 1-2-3 but no clue as to what’s being unveiled in the event, Google must have picked the perfect date today to kickoff the new year by announcing its new office in Manila, in line with its ongoing efforts to provide and improve its services for users and businesses in the Philippines.

I actually thought Google’s already holding office here, what with its localized services – the ingeniously and sometimes funny translations when you Google (that “Sinusuwerte Ako” button is a giveaway), Google Maps with a Filipino user interface, Chrome Web Store, YouTube Philippines – and the more recent Free Zone which is a global first. Our Filipino online community must be growing so strongly for Google to consider maintaining an official presence here, its fifth in the Southeast Asian region.

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Julian Persaud, Managing Director of Google in Southeast Asia, revealed statistics that show why the Philippines is a key country in the region in terms of its digital economy and tech-savvy population – 33 million online Filipinos – with Internet use expected to grow exponentially and likely to double in the next 3 years (ADMA 2012).

Google Philippines will be under the helm of its newly appointed Country Manager, Narciso Reyes, an Internet veteran with over 16 years of digital marketing and finance experience in Asia and the US.

Gracing the kickoff as special Guest of Honor is Undersecretary Manuel L. Quezon III, speaking in behalf of the President, sharing everyone’s excitement on Google’s deepening investment in the Philippines.

And oh, Google Philippines is also tapping into local talents, so check its job listing for updates.

Instagram’s still rolling

To disprove claims that Instagram’s usage has declined badly, since it announced its plans of updating its policies and getting the ire of many of its faithful Instagram’ers, this Thursday in its Press Center page, it revealed statistics that show its continued growth. That’s 90 million monthly active users, uploading 40 million photos per day, double-tapping for 8,500 likes and writing 1000 comments per second.

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This is the first time Instagram has released statistics such as these, and according to a statement the company provided to AllThingsD, instead of dipping, it’s actually up by 10%.

All good then.

Instagram’ers, you’ve got mail

Fellow Instagram’ers, have you received an email from Instagram? Check your inbox as Instagram has been busy sending out email to its users since Tuesday – a reminder about its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy – now updated based on the feedback received from the community, which takes effect this Saturday 19 January 2013, instead of the original schedule which is today.

Its December announcement of changes in its policies sparked an uproar among many Instagram’ers and communities, flooding Twitter with frustrations and disappointments, and of deleting accounts and moving on to other photo-sharing service, specifically due to that vague line about Instagram selling photos to advertisers, without compensating or having to ask the owners’ consent. Though Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom was quick to counter the misinterpretation, clarifying some of the confusing statements and committing to change the language, sadly, its declining daily active users last month based on AppStats could only mean damage somehow has been done.

Here’s the complete Instagram Update email message with links:

Hello,

Our community has grown by many millions of people since we wrote our original Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. As we announced in December, we have updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. These policies also now take into account the feedback we received from the Instagram Community. We’re emailing you to remind you that, as we announced last month, these updated policies will be in effect as of January 19th, 2013.

You can read our blog post that highlights some of the key updates. And remember, these updates don’t change the fact that you own your photos that you post on Instagram, and our privacy controls work just as they did before.

Thank you,
The Instagram Team

Whether this update convinces users to make a comeback or quit Instagram altogether, we’ll just have to wait and see. As for IGersManila, we’ll continue keeping up with the good vibes!