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Ryanair boss and part-time pantomime villain Michael O'Leary has been speaking to the Irish Independent, and seems to have announced something that Google are working on - it seems they're working on a way to enable users to buy flights.

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O'Leary, pictured above hopefully before suffering a terrible accident, is perhaps best well known for being a complete bastard. In the interview he describes how Ryanair will be a launch partner of the new service, which will apparently "blow comparison sites like Skyscanner out of the water".

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To fill in the blanks around his bombast, it appears that Google are looking to build on the little-known Google Flights, which enables you to search for flights by destination, budget and airline, and toggle how flexible you can be.

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Presumably the upgraded Google Flights will link in directly with the different airline booking systems to make the process as straightforward as possible - but to make this happen, they'll need data from the airlines, which is why they'll have been talking to the likes of O'Leary.

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Imagine having to be in the same meeting as such an odious individual.

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Unsurprisingly, Ryanair aren't having to put any cash into the new venture - with Google paying for it all.

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So don't be surprised if next time you're trying to book a flight and simply search for "Cheap flights", Google pops up with it's own recommendations. Heck - given how much else Google knows about you, having access to your emails, and Google Docs, don't be surprised if it can even predict where you want to go before you type in the destination.

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It's not the first time Google have done something like this - certain keywords will trigger specialised search boxes - such as cinema showtimes, for example.

We've no details from Google yet - but will keep you updated should they say anything official.

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(Would you leave this man in charge of an aeroplane?)

So if we believe what he says, O'Leary could have spilled the beans on something that could really shake up how airline ticketing works. Or maybe he's a bit wide of the mark, and has instead landed somewhere much further out of town than many rivals...

There is a fabulous tale from the early days of the airship Back then aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont would parade his new fangled Airship by hovering at roof level along the boulevards of Paris.

Santos-Dumont's party piece was to fly one of his smaller airships to his favourite restaurant. Suitably emboldened by steak and frites and a glass of Beaujolais he'd just hop back into his shop and fly home.

In many ways personalised air travel of that kind hasn't progressed a great deal in over 100 or so years until perhaps now. We have seen jet packs before but the Martin Jetpack which will go on sale next year in New Zealand takes the concept out of the James Bond book of gadgets and into the real world. Within a couple of years anyone will be able to own one, provided that is they can stump up the $150,000 price tag.

Check the video above - it certainly looks like a huge amount of fun. The jet pack can apparently go as high as 7,000 feet in the air and travel at speeds of 50 miles an hour. Though at the moment you can only put enough petrol in it to run for half an hour.

So will we soon be seeing jet packs over our heads as we walk through British cities? possibly not. A lot apparently depends on the categorisation of the jet pack. Is it a helicopter, an aircraft?

"Think of it like a motorcycle in the sky," Peter Coker, chief executive of Martin Aircraft Co. Ltd., told the WSJ. It is apparently unique in that it is not rocket powered but has a gasoline engine driving twin-ducted fans.

That didn't conceive the Kiwi authorities who described it as a micro light which means potential pilots will need a licence to fly it. There is no decision yet as to whether they will eventually be allowed to fly over built-up areas.

For now though enjoy the video and picture yourself in the hot seat.


hovercraft.jpgThat pesky Channel Tunnel! Before Eurostar opened it doors there was only one cool way to get to the, ahem,continent, and that was by Hovercraft. Sadly almost all the Hovercraft operators saw the writing on the wall and the only place you can get a scheduled trip by the best and fastest way of traversing water these days is on the Isle of Wight.

Unless of course you have a spare £13,400.00 kicking around. For Hammacher Schlemmer, which seem to have recently opened an online UK version of their amazing gadgets emporium, is now offering this two person Hovercraft.

The tech stuff is that glides on a 20 cm cushion of air over water and land at speeds of up to 100 kph. It boasts a 60-horsepower two-cylinder, air-cooled gasoline engine drives its 91 cm 12-bladed fan.

And while it is designed for use on water it can also scoot across ice, sand, mud, snow, or grass.

It is simple to control too as long as you cay work your way round the handlebars that control the Hovercraft's four rudders for steering and the right handle grip throttle which controls speed.

It is approved by the US coastguard, though you might have to check before you head out to sea the UK.

If you have a lot more money to spare then Firebox has this, which frankly looks amazing, and you don't need a pilot's license to drive it (ulp).

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Yesterday the mayor of London announced plans to introduce Wi-Fi service to parts of the underground in time for the Olympics this summer. Some super connected Londoners have been excited by the news, but many others are a little more wary about what the plans could mean for them.

According to a statement released by the mayor of London yesterday, plans are currently underway to introduce Wi-Fi service to parts of the London underground over the next few months, just in time for the Olympics in July.

We don't doubt this would be a really beneficial move for a LOT of Londoners, but just imagine how much the craziness of pushing, elbowing and squashing each other would be further exacerbated by the checking of ranty emails and reading of the Daily Mail website. What a scary thought.

So are Londoners truly excited about the thought of being plugged into the Matrix even when they're on their daily commute, or is some down-time to brush up against sweaty strangers and do nothing but just play Solitaire what we all need now and again?

Well, according to a recent study, around 55% of Londoners are actually against the idea of Wi-Fi on the tube, despite the fact we're a nation obsessed with being online.

The research, conducted by MyVoucherCodes.co.uk, polled 950 Londoners and found that 48% would be worried about their privacy when browsing the internet on the tube, particularly when it comes to inputting sensitive data and passwords.

A further 31% said they were against the idea because it could well lead to an increase in thefts, which is an argument we'd tend to agree with here at Shiny Shiny, and 14% said it would just stress everyone out even more, leading to an increase in 'tube rage'.

So are you with the 55% of Londoners who aren't too keen on the plans, or are you excited about never missing another passive agressive email ever again?

[Image via Coolinsights]

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Harnessing the power of an existing travel website with 3 million unique visitors a month, Viator is an iPhone app with a nice simple interface that lets you find out tourist stuff nearby and then book it. All from your phone. It's stuff like tours of the Empire State building or helicopter trips over Los Angeles (their most booked experience).

Dan from Viator came in to give us a demo. This was our opinion of it all...

Nice features:
- Clean User Interface - nice and easy to navigate, it takes account of where you are, and the type of activity you're interested in
- It filters by time too - showing you a range of activities available at short notice.
- Content and partners guaranteed by the Viator service
- It's cheaper than booking through a concierge service or your hotel: because Viator cut the bureaucracy, they can make it cheaper.
- Convenience: You can pay from within your phone using a credit card entry form. Though the app doesn't store your details for security reasons.

Downsides:
- Entering your credit card details over your phone - a bit fiddly?
- Data Roaming Charges: Someone needs to think of a way round this one. Using internet on your phone in another country costs you ££s. At a time when you most want to know about what's around you - you can't because it's like ripping up banknotes. Dan from Viator said that they recommended using it on wifi where available. That does limit how useful the service is... but still, could be handy.


Conclusion

Dan explained that Viator was originally made for the US - and provided information for people on city breaks. I could see this app being very useful for that. It's a tool for city breaks, though they now cover 150 countries and sell over 9000 tours and experiences. It will be good for big obvious tourist experiences and activities and could save you money too. And hey it's a free app! Just check the hotel has wifi first...

Viator for iPhone is free on the iTunes store
Viator for iPad is also free on iTunes
And coming to Android and Blackberry soon.

The Ford C-Max European driving experience

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Last week the lovely people at Ford UK sent us to Courmayeur, Italy to test out their new C-Max on European roads. Here's how it went.

c-max-moving-small.jpgAs a UK resident who learnt to drive on the right hand side of the road (steering wheel on the left please) I was excited about the prospects of finally driving again. Unlucky for me, we were met with a fleet of UK cars - I have never driven a UK car and wasn't going to attempt it for the first time on European motorways, so I opted for the role of excellent co-driver and road sign reader extraordinaire.

En route through Switzerland and France - complete with the Mont Blanc tunnel - towards our destination of Courmayeur, a small picturesque village at the foot of the Italian Alps, I was impressed with the smooth, comfortable drive the Ford C-Max offered. Of course nothing had been spared: we had a fully decked Titanium ride in Mars red, complete with leather trim, heated front seats, built-in sat-nav, key-less driving, EcoBoost technology (that means improved fuel usage and lower CO2 emissions), a panorama roof (perfect for looking at the stunning Alpine peaks) and more dashboard buttons than a Boeing 747. The car was spacious, provided enough legroom, and clung to the road like a mountain goat to Alpine ridges. If this is the way a Ford car treats its owner, no wonder the Ford Focus was the best-selling new car in January*.

We arrived at Courmayeur as dusk was settling, and Craig - my driver for the day - and I ended up on an unplanned sightseeing trip around the town centre after missing the exit to the night's lodging, the Hotel Auberge de la Maison. After a few more wrong turns we ended up ignoring the sat-nav that wanted us to stay in the town centre and instead trusted the printed guide left in the car by the Ford team.

courmayeur-small.jpgAfter a wonderful Italian feast the evening before, day two was mostly spent in the slopes as the rest of the world's car enthusiasts and motor experts gathered for the Geneva Motor Show some 100 kilometres away. Set among some of the largest mountains in Europe, the Courmayeur Ski Resort offers spectacular views on a clear day and fantastic slopes to swoosh down.

ford-c-max-cars-small.jpgWe left the glittering snow covered hills after a few hours to head back to the hotel in order to pack-up and prepare for the return journey to Geneva Airport - the nearest airport to the resort if you fancy heading there yourself.

The driving conditions were optimum and I even got to test the Bluetooth operated sound system and voice controlled phone call function before reaching the airport departure car park.

As I sat in the Business Lounge, munching on the complimentary gummy bears, I wondered how I would ever be able to go back to London buses and tubes after having been driven around for two days in such a high-tech car...

*Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

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