Archive for Google

See the weather on your Google Maps

Google announced today that a new layer has been added to Google Maps which will allow you to see current weather conditions on the map itself.  It will show you an icon marker with the current weather and temperature, which when clicked will give you a simple forecast and current conditions.  While it is not going to replace the NOAA Weather information for me now, this is a start and eventually I can see Google adding more features to this like real-time radar information.

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Google Labs Ngram Viewer

Google Labs has produced a word frequency viewer of their current library of digitized books ranging from the 1800s to present time.  This nifty site allows you to see how frequent a certain word/phrase appears within the books that Google has digitized.  Not sure the practicality of this, but it is a pretty cool conversation starter.

For example here is comparison between the words war and peace.  As one would expect there are jumps in the frequency of the words during WWI and WWII.

So, head on over and give Ngram Viewer a shot to see how your favorite words/phrases compare.

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What’s All the Buzz

I seem to be on a Google theme this week, so might as well continue.  It seems that Google feels the need to try and challenge Facebook in the social networking site, with the release of Buzz within Gmail.  So you can follow other people that you currently exchange email with and wait for them to update yet another site with a status update.

I am not sure what to think about it at this point.  I have a Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and probably other social networking accounts that I have forgotten about.  I am not sure I need another one.  Why not link the Gmail contacts with Facebook contacts instead of having another social network.  Most of the people that I want to follow I am already following in Facebook.

Is this a grand scheme by Google to really make a play in that space or is another “we can do this also” site that is destined to be remembered for a short while and then forgotten?  Or at the end of the day, is this just another avenue to sell me an add about some product I really do not need?

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Street View from the Slopes

Just in time for the Olympics, Google has released Street View for Olympic venues.  Browse the Street View gallery to see images of the actual Olympic facilities within the Vancouver area.

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More Google in Your Home

Google announced today on their blog that they will be rolling out a pilot program to bring broadband internet access to the house.  No longer just a web services company, but now also a web access provider?  I wonder what this will do to the broadband service industry.

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What Browser Are You Running?

I do support for family members and other groups that usually is over the phone.  Sometimes I need to know the name and the version of the software they are using.

I found the site www.whatbrowser.org, run by Google which will take a look at the request headers from your browser and display the current vendor and version information.  No longer will you need to have Grandma or Mom try to find the About button, you can just have them go to this page and it will give the current version of their browser.

Now if we could just get people to stop using Internet Explorer 6.0.

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Google Voice Update

Google released an updated online version of its Google Voice application today.  It is HTML5 compliant and in my mind a wonderful update, especially on the iPhone.  Ever since getting my Google Voice number, I have been waiting for a native application on my iPhone like I have on my Blackberry Curve.  And while this is not a native application, it comes close in the way it works through the browser.

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A couple of items to note.  First, it does not ring your iPhone to make a call, it calls you from a Google number which then connects to the number you have requested to call.  Second, there is no integration with the iPhone Contacts application, not unexpected, but forces you to make sure that your Google contacts and iPhone contacts are synced if you expect to call from the application to all of your contacts.   Third, in order to get notified that you have a voicemail within Google Voice, you need to setup SMS messaging, not a big deal, but if you are worried about text messaging costs you may want to watch that.

This is a great step in the right direction, but the real problem here is the fact that the iPhone remains a closed environment.  Apple needs to stop pretending to know what users want, or more savvy users like myself may choose a Google branded phone next time.

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Competitors: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo?

The New York Times posted an interesting article yesterday (January 22, 2010) showing the overlapping technologies from the four tech giants.

The list goes through and identifies which company is operating in a certain space, either with a product out today or a product in development.  The categories range from Mobile Phones to Operating Systems to traditional web services (IM, Email, Photo Storage).

The chart points out interesting changes in directions for the four companies:

  • Google now competes in the Operating System and Mobile Phone space.
  • Apple is in the Email and IM space.
  • Microsoft is exploring the Social Networking space.
  • Yahoo seems to be stagnant, not really offering any new products/services.

Over the past thirty years, the tech giants continue to change and evolve.  If this was done even ten years ago, who would be on this comparison chart (IBM and Sun maybe), twenty years ago, thirty years ago?  Technology will continue to evolve and so will the players at the top of the technology curve.

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Google Spreadsheet of Google Products

This Google Spreadsheet lists as of today (January 14, 2010), 474 Google products.  Included in the spreadsheet is Launch Date, Audience, Cost and Supporting Sites (Blog/Help/Ideas/Twitter) for the product.

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File Upload and Google Docs

Looks like Google is going to allow users to use Docs for more than just documents, spreadsheets and presentations. The Official Google Blog today posted that they will be allowing users the ability to upload files to their Docs area. These files can be 250mb in size and there is a free 1gb given to all users with additional storage available for a fee.

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