Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Google Maps Shows Terrain

Google MapsGoogle Maps has been such a feature-rich product that so far includes traditional road maps, satellite images, or both (hybrid), traffic conditions, street view, local business information and even your own stuff (My Maps). Now, it adds terrain as well. The terrain view shows geographical details where elevation looks like shadows. Here is how Grand Canyon looks like in terrain view:
Google Maps Terrain ViewThe Satellite view now shows the previous hybrid view by default. You can toggle the button and uncheck 'Show labels' to hide the map details:
[Via Google Blogoscoped]

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

The above is the doodle on the Google homepage celebrating Thanksgiving. The one below is the first Gmail doodle to celebrate Thanksgiving:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Got Ideas to Improve Google Docs? Suggest It!

The Google Docs Team is open to your suggestions. Fill out this new suggestion form and vote for those that you are desperately wanting. They have categorized suggestions for documents, spreadsheets, presentations or the whole app. Here are some of my most wanted features:

  • Print Layout in documents
  • Footnotes and page # in documents
  • Vertical merge in spreadsheets
  • Export to PowerPoint!
  • Slide Master
It is good that they are listening ... it is going to take some time to implement all though.

Picasa Public Albums to Show in Google Image

Beware! Your lovely family photos on Picasa Web Album might appear in Google Image search results. Google has recently changed its policy and to include public albums in Google Image Search. Here's the official word:

Integration with Google image search results
Get more exposure for the public albums you're currently sharing on Picasa Community Search. Now, public albums from users with 'Public Search' enabled may also be included in Google image search results.
So if you don't want somebody else to see your private photos, better unlist them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

iGoogle Hong Kong Themes

There are more themes coming to your iGoogle homepage very soon. And more surprisingly, there is one tailored for Hong Kong! Here's how it looks like throughout the day:
Some other themes are Aja Tiger, Autumn, JR and Solar System. Enter the following into your browser's address bar when you are at google.com/ig:

Where jr.xml can be any of the above XML filenames.

It seems Google is desperately promoting iGoogle. Still remember the interesting iGoogle ad I talked about previously?

[Via Google Blogoscoped]

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What is Missing in OpenSocial

OpenSocial is a project initiated by Google for developers to create applications across various social networks. So far, all the major social networks agreed to participate, such as MySpace, Hi 5, Ning, Friendster, etc, except Facebook. The idea is that, with just a single platform, developers will not have to waste time developing the same application multiple times just to fit their codings into various social networks. But will OpenSocial be the ultimate solution to cross-platform social network application development? Not yet.

Just as Nicholas Carlson from Valleywag points out, OpenSocial does not allow applications on one social network to communicate with another. This means that the same FunWall application I have on orkut wouldn't be the same as the one on MySpace. Also, some of the participating social networks are still planning to launch their own application platform.

Also, Facebook won't have the incentives to open up its current application platform (which already accommodates 5000+ applications) as they know developers wouldn't dare to give up such lucrative market. The problem of multi-platform still exists.

OpenSocial is clearly a good start but there are more to be done before its ideals would take effect.

Update: OpenSocial does allow cross-platform communication through containers. Thanks, Ad!