It looks like those Going Google billboards are really good for something, as the Los Angeles' city council has just unanimously approved a Google Apps deal worth $7.2 million.
According to CNET, LA would become one of the biggest government agencies, outside the District of Columbia, to make the switch to using hosted Google email and application services. However, security concerns over storing information in the cloud did factor into the process and have so far to be 100% alleviate. Apparently the deal hinges around an agreement with Computer Sciences Corp, a contractor who would want to agree to pay a penalty should there be a security breach.
If the deal does go through it would be fairly the coup for Google and their Going Google campaign. With both the US Government supporting the initiative and the city of Los Angeles joining the Google team, Google is building up an arsenal of big and impressive customers that should make it easier to attract more top dollar enterprise clients.
When it comes to maps, Google has had nearly everything: great satellite imagery, enormous coverage, and even some basic navigation features, but not what everyone that's ever used a GPS device really wants: turn-by-turn navigation.
This changes today, as Google now released a beta version of Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0. Here's a fast overview of the features:
Search in plain English - speedily search and navigate to places, businesses, landmarks.
Search by voice.
View of live traffic data over the Internet.
Search along route - find locations close to your current path.
Satellite view - you can view the similar satellite imagery you've seen Google Maps, on your phone.
Street View - check out what the correct surroundings of a location look like.
Car dock mode - when you place sure devices in a car dock, a special mode activates that enables easier operation.
Google Maps Navigation does two extremely important things for Google: it makes it a contestant to established GPS firms like TomTom and Garmin, which should make this space a lot more interesting and it suddenly makes Android - the only platform this app is currently available on - a lot more desirable. And - you guessed it - the first Android 2.0 phone to support this application is the upcoming Motorola Droid.
Since the app is free, we can expect Google to add advertisements to it at some point. But presently, since you have to pay for every other mobile turn-by-turn navigation app out there (we're not talking pocket change here, either), the sheer fact that this thing is free will certainly make it a huge hit.
Way back in April, Google relaunched Google Labs, the place where the company tests its latest and experimental features. When it relaunched, it added a very interesting experimental feature to Google Image Search: Find Similar Images.
A recap if you don't remember similar images: it uses image recognition technology to help filter search results. If you find an action shot of soccer/football star Ronaldo and want to find more like it, for example, you can use Similar Images to filter your results and find similar images.
The features have been in Google Labs for over half a year, but that's no longer the case. Google said that Similar Images has now become a standard feature of Google Image search.
It was only a matter of time until Find Similar Images made its debut in Google Search. It's a very helpful and surprisingly accurate feature that really helps you filter images. We can expect to see a lot of users utilizing this feature very shortly.
The desktop version of Waveboard for Mac, though in a very early stage, is already available for download. Official info on the app is extremely scarce, but some users have tried it out and called it "simple and practical".
The same developer is presently waiting for Apple's approval of a Google Wave client for the iPhone under the same name. You can already run Wave on your iPhone by just accessing wave.google.com/wave from your iPhone, with mixed results (works a bit better on Nokia N900), but we expect the app to make the whole experience far smoother.
Although lots of airlines are cutting back on the standard perks (in-flight meals and snacks, free checking of bags, pillows), Internet-addicts can look forward to in-flight Wi-Fi on more and more airlines.
Right now, Virgin America, United, Delta, American and Southwest are just some of the airlines offering in-flight Wi-Fi as an additional perk (a perk that usually costs about $12 or $13 per flight).
How popular is the feature? Well, according to a study by the Wi-Fi Alliance back in August, 76% of frequent-fliers would alter airlines just to get access to Wi-Fi. Today, Google has announced that it will be offering free in-flight Wi-Fi on every Virgin America flights from November 10, 2009 through January 15, 2010.
You can obtain details and see what airports/destinations Virgin America serves at FreeHolidayWiFi.com. This isn't the first time that Google and Virgin America have teamed up. Back in June, Google sponsored a "Day in the Cloud" virtual forager hunt and kicked-off the event by piling a ton of bloggers and techies onto two Virgin America flights (including our very own Ben Parr).
Dealing with airports during the holidays can be a really annoying experience, so having free Wi-Fi is a definite perk.
What do you get when you add an additional wheel to a bicycle and slap an omnidirectional camera on top? A Street View Trike, that's what. While collecting imagery for its Street View project, the folks at Google realized that some places are unreachable with the standard Street View Car, so they imaginary this special trike which can collect imagery from scenic running and cycling trails, college campuses and similar locations.
To keep poor Google trikies (trikists? trikers?) from itinerant around aimlessly, you can tell them of locations worthy of being photographed. You can nominate locations within six categories: Parks & Trails, University Campuses, Pedestrian Malls, Theme Parks & Zoos (ie: outdoor shopping areas, boardwalks), Landmarks and Sports Venues (ie: golf courses, racing tracks, stadium grounds). Nominations are open until Wednesday October 28, 2009 and can be submitted over at www.google.com/trike.
As formerly anticipated, Chrome OS is a Linux distribution that includes a custom version of Chrome as the default browser. Google has lately posted a build of the custom Chrome and some people installed the .deb package (it's no longer available formally, but you can download it from other sources).
Chrome for Chrome OS is not extremely different from the browser you can already install in Windows, Linux or Mac. The main difference is that the browser contains UI elements from a traditional operating system: clock, battery status, network settings.
Since Google Chrome will contain most of the features that are necessary to use an operating system, it's obvious that the browser is the only visible component of Chrome OS, a lightweight browser-centric operating system.
There's no reason to nervously wait for Chrome OS, when you can already use Google Chrome in your favorite operating system and get the same features. A metaphor has become actuality, but the result fails to impress.
Since the debut of Google Voice, The early users of Google have shared lots of feedback that has led to some exciting new features, like the ability to receive SMS messages via email and the option to change your Google Voice number. But one of the most frequent requests Google have received is for the ability to share Google Voice with friends and family.
Starting today, Google are beginning to give out invitations to Google Voice users. If you presently use Google Voice, over the next few weeks, you'll see an "Invite a friend" link appear on the left-hand side of your inbox.
Google will be rolling out these invitations gradually, so don't worry if you don't see your invitations immediately. Google are initially giving out three invites to each account, but Google are planning to provide more invitations in the future.
If you don't have an account until now, you can request a Google Voice invitation at google.com/voiceinvite.
Crowdsourcing is an increasingly popular way to tackle big problems - both Facebook and Google are taking this approach to translating the web into several languages. Now Google is leveraging the wisdom of the crowds for another purpose: the Building Maker tool helps users make precise 3D models of buildings for representation in Google Earth.
Using Google-provided aerial photographs, you essentially overlay appropriate 3D shapes on top of several different views of a building to construct an exact model of it. When completed, submit your building to Google for review. If approved, the model will be added to the 3D Building layer in Google Earth.
For now, you can only construct buildings in fifty cities (dear Google: no Los Angeles? What gives?), but the company will be adding more over time. You don't have to be familiar with a building to create a decent model of it, though - and for geography and travel buffs it's a fun way to engage with different cities around the world.
Just like with the Monopoly City Streets "virtual" building initiative, you can use the free Google Sketch Up to edit or modify your creations, and the completed products will live in the Google 3D Warehouse, an online database of 3D models.
Check out the video demo of Building Maker below and let us know if you've had a chance to use the tool, or if you plan to. Have fun!
Google is happy to launch one of the most requested Google Docs features - the ability to share folders. Shared folders make it easy for a team of people to join forces on projects that require multiple documents, spreadsheets or presentations. If you have a group of items you want to share, all that you have to do is put them into a folder and share it.
Once you've shared one folder, all of the items in the folder will be accessible to the group. You can also add someone to an existing shared folder to provide them access to all of the folder's content. Similarly, each item you add to the folder will be automatically shared. Just like with sharing document, you can specify edit and view-only access for a folder.
In addition to sharing folders, you can now upload several files to Google Docs at the same time, simplifying the process of transferring documents from your desktop to the cloud. Once your documents are in the cloud, you can access them from any device connected to the Internet or share them with people you select.
These features are presently rolling out and will be available to everyone by the end of the day.
For those who aren't in the know, the top secret of Google's success is the home page. This intelligent design almost one of a kind in that the home page was the only page. All you had was a search bar and a couple of choices, but the speed in using the site was phenomenal.
More frequently than not, you double-click your browser on your desktop and begin typing your search term. Because after loading the site, you don't want to click. Type in the term and then hit the return key. All people do from the home page is search, with the odd exemption here or there, but it is rare.
But since then, the home page has become a small cluttered. Google have opened up the floodgates to more services, more search sites, more business links and advanced options... maybe not for long though.
Hover over the page with your mouse and the rest of the options, the links and services will display. But the loveliness of this is that there is no inconvenience; those who search as soon as it loads don't use the mouse so the simplistic look works.
Once Google has loaded, copy and paste this code into the address bar, and hit return. Reload the page and then you should see the simplistic view.
Google search results sometimes contain documents that were not originally formatted to be viewed in a web browser, such as PDFs. In the past, the only way to view the PDF documents was to download them and open them in a separate viewer application. To provide an option, we made it possible to quickly and easily view these files as HTML right in a web browser by clicking "View as HTML." This was an improvement, but unfortunately the "View as HTML" option loses some of the formatting from the original PDF, such as graphics, fonts, tables and other elements.
Today, Google added new links to "Quick View" PDF documents in your browser with the formatting intact. The new links are based on the same technology that's presented in Google Docs and Gmail, as well as to webmasters through the Google Docs viewer. Google have been rolling this technology out to the search results page since July, and as of today Google added "Quick View" links to more than 50% of the PDFs in our index. The new links appear at the end of the second line of the result, right under the title.
For example, here is a search results for the IRS 1099 form:
Clicking "Quick View" will open up the PDF right in your browser with graphics, formatting and tables potted.
Google has considerably expanded its Street View coverage in the US and around the world since launching in 2007, but one country left out of the voyeuristic fun has been Canada.
That changes today, as the company is launching Google Street View in 11 different Canadian cities after bringing its service into obedience with the country's privacy laws.
According to CBC, that contains automatic blurring of faces and license plates, as well as easy ways for users to request image removal. Other countries, like Greece, have requested similar alterations before allowing Street View.
For our uninitiated Canadian readers, Street View can used by dragging Google's orange buddy icon to the steet where you'd like to see imagery, or by just clicking the "Street View" link you'll see for a specific location when pictures are available.
Google appears to be planning an event in Vancouver later today to formally unveil Street View. In the meantime, Twitter search provides some amusing insight, as Canadian users for the first time get to discuss what Google was able to capture in their neck of the woods.
Today if you visit www.google.com you will be able to see the logo of Google was changed to bar code. Google was really celebrating the anniversary of the bar code which was patented on 7th of October 1952.
This special date was coincides with the announcement of the combined winners of the Nobel prize for physics, who had contribute in inventing "Charge-coupled devices" to read bar codes. The inventors are Charles Kuan Kao, Willard Boyle and George Smith.
The Charge-coupled devices is a silicon based integrated circuit that converts light energy into an electronic charge. With this technology it has bring digital imaging technology to a higher level. Some of the application that we can see today was in digital cameras, CCTV cameras, endoscopy, desktop videoconferencing, fax machines and lots more.
If you notice, Google had been celebrating some of the world historic day specially those that had change our life a lot such as the bar code invention. With the celebration, we are able to learn a lot of important invention and important dates. I expect Google will show us more of it and I can't wait for the next important dates that Google going to highlight.
Google always keen to share updates about the browser Google Chrome. This past month, Google launched a new stable release with speed improvements and updates to key features, as well as a little something extra to make your browser pop: themes. Today, Google excited to build on this initial splash of color. They invited leading artists, architects, musicians, illustrators, filmmakers and fashion and interior designers from around the globe to create artwork for an unusual canvas: the modern web browser. The result? Artist Themes for Google Chrome, a fusion of art and technology, with a hundred Artist Themes that they hope will enrich and personalize your web browsing experience.
Google honored to have had the opportunity to work with artists including Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, Karim Rashid, Jonathan Adler, Oscar de la Renta, Anita Kunz, Tom Sachs, Kate Spade, Donna Karan, Kid Robot, Casey Reas, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Graves, Todd Oldham, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Mariah Carey (and that's just to name a few!). Google would like to extend our thanks to all the artists for lending their vision, imagination and hard work to this collaboration.
Google Wave has the potential to change the web. Still, understanding what Wave is all about - and why you should use it - can be difficult to clutch.
That's why we're all big fans of this video from Epipheo Studios. It really explains, in a very straightforward and entertaining way, what Google Wave is and why it is valuable of all the hype it has received.
According to comScore Inc. Google continues to dominate views of online videos, surpassing 10 billion video views in August.
The Reston, Va.-based Internet traffic tracking firm also says online video watching overall reached an all-time high of over 25 billion views in August. Above 161 million viewers watched an average of 157 videos during the month.
Google, which owns YouTube, had 39.6 percent of all video views in August, far ahead of second-place Microsoft Corp., whose sites attracted 2.2 percent of video views. Microsoft Corp. was followed by Viacom Digital, Hulu and Fox Interactive Media. comScore's (Nasdaq: SCOR) monthly report says the average online video viewer watched 582 minutes of video, or about 9.7 hours value. The average duration of an online video last month was 3.7 minutes.