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Google Maps gives public transport info – England footballers get Galaxy S5s – Aardman gets kids programming

Google Maps to provide UK public transport info

Google Maps users throughout the UK can plan their route based on public transport information for the first time.

Previously, the service offered route information and journey times by car, bicycle or on foot, but it now shows up to the minute data for methods of travel such as buses, trains, trams and even ferries.

Users in London and parts of the south east have already been getting this information, but now Google is claiming to offer public transport data for every part of the UK.

For example, for the journey from Piccadilly Gardens to Old Trafford (pictured), Google now offers information on all the bus services heading past the stadium, including when the next one will leave. It has also given a selection of possible tram routes, complete with journey times.

The data, which is being drawn from Traveline, encompasses 17,000 routes and has been opened up to Android, iPhone and desktop users.

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Samsung gives England stars free smartphones

England's World Cup football squad will each receive a Samsung Galaxy S5 device for their trip to Brazil, after the company signed a deal with the Football Association (FA).

Wayne Rooney, Steve Gerrard et al will carry the devices despite Samsung not being an official World Cup sponsor. The company has strongly denied it plans to engage in any 'ambush marketing' during the tournament.

Samsung's UK and Ireland marketing director Ines van Gennip said the company "would never communicate or associate ourselves with the World Cup because that wouldn't be fair".

However, it is likely that Samsung chiefs are hoping England players will use their new device to interact with fans, sharing pictures and videos of their experiences on social media sites.

The FA's commercial director Stuart Turner added: "The team will be flying out to Brazil with the best possible mobile devices at their fingertips."

Fans can also benefit from the new partnership, with Samsung offering the chance to win a trip to watch England's warm-up friendly against Honduras in Miami on June 7th.

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Aardman Animations contest encourages young programmers

Aardman Animations is hoping to get British children interested in programming with a new game-making competition.

The studio, famous for worldwide stop-motion hits such as Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, has released five Shaun's Game Academy modules that will teach children how to create their very own video game. Prizes will be offered for the best finished products.

The idea is seen as a precursor to the inclusion of basic programming in the UK's ICT curriculum, which will begin in September. It was also influenced by the successful Tate Movie competition that Aardman was involved with in 2010-11.

Aardman creative director Ricky Martin told The Guardian: "Whenever we make a game for children, we do a lot of user testing with kids giving us feedback, and their ideas are always completely crazy, so we've often thought about putting them all into one game made by kids."

It is the latest in a string of initiatives to get young people up to speed with the digital world, after the government detailed plans to teach schoolchildren about cyber security.

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Written by James Riches

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