Tag Archives: google

Google Maps Navigation

Google Navigation on AndroidGoogle Maps Nav­i­ga­tion: A Free, Ass-Kick­ing, Turn-by-Turn Mobile App — Google maps nav­i­ga­tion — Giz­mo­do

If Google sells this in the App Store for zero dol­lars, those mil­lions of bucks Apple makes off of GPS app sales will like­ly dis­ap­pear. It’s not for us to wor­ry about until there’s no more GPS com­pe­ti­tion except Google, and we’re depen­dent on their pace of progress, but no com­pe­ti­tion is a bad thing. And it’s a lit­tle strange that Google’s search mon­ey is going to pay for a free map app that is com­pet­i­tive with stuff that costs $100 a year from full-time GPS mak­ers like Tom­Tom. Unfair is the word that comes to mind. But I can’t say I don’t want this app.

Agreed, on all counts. I won­der if Apple will try to play any dif­fer­ent­ly with this than with oth­er nav­i­ga­tion apps since this is Google; does that make it any more “con­fus­ing­ly sim­i­lar” to the iPhone’s Maps app (dri­ven by Google Maps)? I think not, but I also would­n’t be con­fused by a mobile Fire­fox (Fen­nec) or Google Voice.

It’s easy to see Google’s (and their users’) advan­tage in enter­ing a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket this way, but yeah, I would­n’t want to be their com­peti­tors either.

It does scare me how much data Google now owns, more in how they ditched their licen­sors so they could do some­thing like this. But I want this app too. ;)

A new phone: Terrible timing?

So my AT&T con­tract is up this month and I’m con­sid­er­ing all my options for my next PDA. My Black­Ber­ry has been slow­ly dying on me, and I’ve not been hap­py with it.


It’s prob­a­bly no sur­prise that I’m a big fan of Android—it is pro­duced by Google — so ide­al­ly I’d get an Android device next.

How­ev­er, I’m not ter­ri­bly inclined to switch to T‑Mobile; their net­work is small­er and not as robust in all loca­tions. And the G1 leaves a lot to be desired, so I’d rather wait for the next iter­a­tion. But how long will that be? Hard to say, though they may have a new, awe­some device soon, so it may be worth wait­ing.

I had also men­tioned that AT&T would like­ly be pro­duc­ing Android devices, but that dynam­ic seems to have changed some­what: I sup­pose because of their ties with Apple and the iPhone, they’re not keen to pro­duce any com­pet­ing devices cur­rent­ly. And I can under­stand that, though it’s unfor­tu­nate.

It does seem like I’d be join­ing an active com­mu­ni­ty though. :)


An iPhone would be a sol­id choice, and I cer­tain­ly think the devices deserves (most of) the acclaim it’s been get­ting, but I’m not switch­ing from one pro­pri­etary mobile device to anoth­er. Even if it is Apple. I’m also not impressed with the inabil­i­ty to run back­ground appli­ca­tions, and while jail­break­ing the phone would open up a lot of extra func­tion­al­i­ty, I’m not inclined to do that. I don’t want to sup­port Apple by buy­ing their device if I don’t actu­al­ly sup­port how they design their soft­ware.


So my two choic­es feel like this: Get an iPhone (and pos­si­bly jail­break it) or switch to T‑Mobile if/when they release a sec­ond (slick­er-than-G1) device.

Are there oth­er choic­es? Which do you think I should do?

Google’s Open Source Patches to Wine

Dar­ing Fire­ball Linked List: Google’s Open Source Patch­es to Wine

This idea deserves a full essay, but for now, con­sid­er: In the same way that Apple took Mac OS X and Cocoa and shrunk them to serve as a hand­held device OS, I think Google could take Android and grow it to serve as a PC OS. Wine would be to Android what Clas­sic was to Mac OS X.

The big win is say­ing “screw you” to KDE and Gnome and all those crap Lin­ux inter­faces and APIs. Start over with some­thing new, cohe­sive, bet­ter, and, most of all, which is not, con­cep­tu­al­ly, a watered down clone of Win­dows.

I’m real­ly not sure where Gru­ber is going with this. Google seems to like Wine for var­i­ous rea­sons (main­ly Picasa), but I don’t real­ly under­stand how it could vault Android into desk­top fame. It seems Wine is a “watered down clone” of Win­dows (its inter­nals, any­way) and I don’t real­ly see much future in it.

Obvi­ous­ly Gru­ber and I dis­agree on the var­i­ous suc­cess­es of the “open-source desk­top” mis­sion, but I don’t think Wine is the way to suc­cess.

John, I await your full essay; per­haps I mis­un­der­stand?

Android has arrived

Android Makes its Debut in T‑Mobile G1

The device won’t have an impres­sive design and it won’t be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will cer­tain­ly be able to run a lot of inter­est­ing appli­ca­tions.

Android’s first iter­a­tion, released last week, is cer­tain­ly less of a water­shed than Apple’s iPhone debut, but then again Google has been very open about their project. While Apple has built a rep­u­ta­tion on care­ful­ly con­struct­ed excite­ment about the unveil­ing of their new projects, Google was very upfront about Android and the Open Hand­set Alliance—to the point of attract­ing doubts of the pro­jec­t’s fruition.

You can read the reviews of T‑Mobile’s/HTC’s G1 else­where; after a week there are plen­ty of good ones (and I haven’t held one myself). But here are a few of my ini­tial impres­sions of Google’s Android project itself.

I saw the Android coming five years ago... and approved.
I saw the Android com­ing five years ago… and approved.

I men­tioned that Android’s default syn­chro­niza­tion with Google appli­ca­tions is pret­ty slick, and def­i­nite­ly a way to get out of the gate quick­ly. How­ev­er, I’m not sure if that’s only for the G1 or if Android will include that in every iter­a­tion. (I only real­ly won­der because it’s not avail­able in the emu­la­tor yet.)

It will be inter­est­ing to see how the Appli­ca­tions fare; Apple has proved that there is a busi­ness here, and they have a jump start on their App Store. While Apple has attract­ed a lot of devel­op­ers, they have their own prob­lems keep­ing their trust at the moment, and cer­tain­ly for myself I’m more moti­vat­ed to write for a mul­ti-process, open-source oper­at­ing sys­tem where my appli­ca­tion will def­i­nite­ly be avail­able for users. I’m encour­aged that there have already been some inter­est­ing appli­ca­tions rolling out.

Speak­ing of devel­op­ment, it is very promis­ing to see that the Android team has released an emu­la­tor for all major oper­at­ing sys­tems. Apple’s devel­op­er pro­gram seems robust, but I don’t plan on switch­ing to OS X any­time soon. (Then again, I’d rather avoid Java, but that’s not a deal­break­er for me.)

The Android is cer­tain­ly the biggest com­peti­tor to the iPhone thus far, but it’s cer­tain­ly not just try­ing to imi­tate the super­fi­cial qual­i­ties (like, say, the LG Dare); it seems to have slight­ly dif­fer­ent moti­va­tions that have shaped the project thus far. Either way, com­pe­ti­tion is a good thing.

It seems like­ly that AT&T will be pro­duc­ing Android phones but even if so, the ques­tion is when. I’m immi­nent­ly look­ing for a new phone, so the soon­er the bet­ter; I have no plans to switch to T‑Mobile and I would real­ly appre­ci­ate the abil­i­ty to give each one of these plat­forms an even chance. :)

Photo websites: That settles it!

Google Pho­tos Blog: Announc­ing Picasa 3.0 and a new ver­sion of Picasa Web Albums!

With Picas­a’s announce­ment of the updat­ed Web Albums site, I’ve set­tled on it for my own pho­tog­ra­phy needs. Their “name tags” fea­ture is incred­i­bly well-done, I can arbi­trar­i­ly tag my pho­tos addi­tion­al­ly, and they’ve added oth­er com­pelling fea­tures that have sold me on it.

Pre­vi­ous­ly, I had been using Flickr. By the time I joined, it seemed to be the pre­mier com­mu­ni­ty for pho­tog­ra­phers, and it offered the most fea­tures I want­ed: licens­ing pho­tos, tag­ging, flex­i­ble man­age­ment of albums/sets, RSS feeds for near­ly every­thing, and super-cool mash-ups with oth­er sites.

Sep­a­rate­ly, a lot of peo­ple have been using Face­book for pho­tos (at least those of peo­ple-based events and such), name­ly because their per­son tag­ging is very good: box­es around faces and noti­fi­ca­tions of tagged pho­tos. (Flickr has tag­ging, and you can sep­a­rate­ly add boxed notes to pho­tos, but it has no way to con­nect that direct­ly with peo­ple.) While not a pho­tog­ra­phy web­site per se, it is cer­tain­ly a great way to share pho­tos eas­i­ly.

Picasa Web Albums has been a nice project, and I had used it occa­sion­al­ly, but not very often. The inter­face has­n’t been the best, it felt very closed off from any sort of com­mu­ni­ty, and it seemed to be wed­ded to the appli­ca­tion Picasa (which has a pret­ty shod­dy track record on Lin­ux). I can (and do) man­age my pho­tos quite well via F‑Spot, but there was a lot I could­n’t do with­out Picasa (the appli­ca­tion).

But in one fell swoop, they’ve knocked down the com­pe­ti­tion. The name tags fea­ture is so nice, it’s actu­al­ly fun to use; in about an hour I tagged about 700 pho­tos with my exist­ing Gmail con­tacts. I’ve also tagged my pho­tos with some oth­er key­words, in case you real­ly want to see what pho­tos of roller coast­ers I’ve tak­en. :) Last­ly, I can release my pho­tos with Cre­ative Com­mons licens­es, so neat things can hap­pen.

The sum of these fea­tures is what dri­ves Picas­a’s new Explore page. You can see pop­u­lar tags, loca­tions, and fea­tured pho­tos. There’s even a (mediocre) game where you guess the loca­tions of pho­tos.

All in all, Google has a good prod­uct and it breeds good com­pe­ti­tion in the pho­to web­site space. You can see my pho­tos on my Picasa pro­file.

(PS: If it seems like I’m talk­ing slow, that’s because I’m sap­ping my band­width upload­ing four albums at a time. ;) )

Do I have a non-coding life? Apparently, because I haven’t updated in a while.…

So I’ve been repeat­ed­ly impressed with Google late­ly. I mean, many peo­ple know that “to google” has been a verb for a while, since it’s kind of the de fac­to way to search the Inter­net. But also, I’ve been using their email ser­vice, which is real­ly awe­some in all respects. Turns out Blog­ger (what you’re see­ing now) is run by Google, and it’s good too. Then there are a hand­ful of ways that Google has been sup­port­ing open-source soft­ware and projects: their Sum­mer of Code, their APIs, and the fact that they give their devel­op­ers one day off per week to work on a project of their own choos­ing. Very cool. I read in a tech mag­a­zine that Microsoft­’s big com­peti­tor at the moment is Google. (Of course, that makes MS very uncom­fort­able.) Well, stick it to ’em, Google!

So I made anoth­er big update to Pygmy this week. For­mat­ting of the meta­da­ta is pos­si­ble now; I sim­ply exposed the user to what I’ve been using to for­mat it all along. For exam­ple, “artist — title” will be replaced per-song, and


will show the artist in bold text and the title in small text on a new line. Only prob­lem is that GTK+ has a long­stand­ing bug with wrap­ping labels, so a long for­mat won’t wrap to mul­ti­ple lines.

Next up: option­al tags, so if you have “date” in the for­mat and it’s not in the file, it won’t show up (nor will the space you put before it to sep­a­rate it from the title).