Google Desktop’s Gadgets are now cross-platform compatible with Apple’s Mac OS X Dashboard. That means you can run Gadgets alongside Widgets in the Dasboard, on Google’s Sidebar, and on the iGoogle personalized homepage, making them amazingly versatile, and letting Google’s platform pick up the slack when Dashboard is missing something important. If Google does the same for Windows Vista, and helps Gadgets run on Vista’s Sidebar, that would be amazing.
Ionut Alex reports that Google Maps has added profile pages for users who create content for the service. The profile services are built on the same nameless platform Google Shared Stuff profiles are built on, and show reviews you’ve written and personalized MyMaps you’ve created. Check out his post for screenshots, or this video which explains it all:
Other new features I’ve neglected to cover:
Google Desktop 5.5 was released in beta, and it brings an improved Quick Search box, support for running multiple copies of a Gadget at once, and improved Outlook searching. It also brings a new ability: Google Desktop Gadgets can now run on iGoogle homepages. That means that the desktop Gadgets, with advanced functionality and the ability to access files on your computer (like playing music files) can run in a webpage and take advantage of iGoogle’s tabs.
If a regular iGoogle user tries to use a Desktop Gadget, they’ll be prompted to install Google Desktop in order to be able to use it. The version of Desktop they install will be a special, streamlined version that has only the Gadget functionality enabled, but none of the desktop search stuff. The advantage for Google is that all the rest of Desktop is right there and ready, should users decide to check it out.
Ionut Alex shows what a Google Online Desktop could look like, with a full desktop and windows showing your Gmail, Google Calendar, and other Google services.
Google Transit, a Labs service that showed public transportation on Google Maps, has been folded into Maps itself. Now, if you are in one of the five cities for which transit data is available (SF, Seattle, Portland, Dallas and Japan), you’ll get bus and train directions if you want.
And get this: YouTube videos are now available as a layer in Google Earth. Geotagged videos will appear as placemarks in Google Earth, and you can click them to watch them right there in the interface.
Oh, and Blogger Play, which shows a slideshow of photos from Blogger blogs, is now available as a Google Gadget, so you can install it on your iGoogle homepage.
Finally, Google Maps is now available as a program you can install on a phone running the Symbian operating system.
Blogger has added integration of the AJAX news bar and YouTube/Google Video bar as an easy drag and drop addition to your template. The bars are available for every website, as well as blog and web search bars, but Blogger’s addition makes it easy for less advanced users to configure and just drop in.
Finally, Google released today a version of Google Desktop for the Mac. Desktop, which is already being accused of duplicating Windows Vista features (and thus more useful on XP), also duplicates Mac OS X’s excellent desktop search. Presumably it will eventually also do what it does on Windows, that is duplicate the Mac’s widget feature. Still, Desktop is free and has many features (and is in many ways faster and more efficient) than the Mac’s built-in search, so it will no doubt appeal to many users.
- A Quick Search box (just double-tap the ⌘ key)
- Launch programs from the search box
- Search Gmail and Web history
- Search email from Apple Mail and Microsoft Entourage, iChat transcripts, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files
- Previous versions of files
- Search results integrated into Google search
O’Reilly reports that Google’s Gadget directory now shows stats on Google Gadgets, letting developers and everybody know how many pageviews a Gadget is getting across all venues where it is available (Google Desktop, Google Personalized Homepage, and web Gadgets). Many Gadgets are receiving in the millions of pageviews, quite impressive. They run down the pageviews of a few Gadgets, and I thought I’d check out a few others:
- Date & Time: 130,290,121
- Driving Directions: 38,615,797
- Daily Horoscopes: 27,382,841
- Wikipedia: 27,314,972
- Word of the Day: 13,645,117
- Dictionary.com: 12,520,786
- Search YouTube: 9,515,502
- Current Moon Phase: 8,870,019
- PacMan V2.0: 8,114,344
- NASA Image of the Day: 6,172,869
- Babelfish: 5,475,360
- Google Maps: 4,861,113
All the numbers are pageviews per week. These are all the Gadgets I could find in the “Popular” section with at least 4.8 million views (some “popular” Gadgets have just a few hundred. If you can find any more, let me know and I’ll add them, so we can have a list of the most popular Gadgets.
It does have a new plusbox feature that lets you preview search results right from the results page:
Philipp has a better screenshot of this in action.
The interface for finding new Gadgets has been improved:
Google also says security has been vastly improved, including added phishing protection.
There’s also improved compatibility with newer applications, but it seems like this update is here for only one reason: to match this:
I mean, Microsoft didn’t invent transparency, but it sure seems like Google wants to make sure its product fits in with Microsoft’s next big thing.
I won’t be back online till Sunday night, so everybody enjoy this one last giant link post.
Google Desktop ships with a warning only really visible when stacking the files in Windows Explorer. Cute.
Meanwhile, Newsweek had Marissa Mayer on the cover and nobody noticed for days. Ouch. Looks like one of those interesting Women in Power pieces. I’d like to see a cover story about old white guys who are changing the world.
Today was “OneWebDay”, when we were all supposed to get all flowery and write about how the internet has enriched our lives. Jeez. When did it become okay to invent days? I like the Talk Like A Pirate Day better.
I love this sign. Google is going to be a religion one day. Or the devil. Could go either way…
Google plans to put a Google Base search box above the results every time you do what appears to be a product search. Say ta-ta, Froogle.
Some online publishers are working together to create a universal way to tell Google and other search engine when to cache and not cache their content. Or, as Andy Beal says, they are looking to spend half a million dollars (more like $583,700) to build a robots.txt file. Their SEO is a genius, to have fooled all these idiots.
Bloglines introduced a nice mobile search option that also reformats linked pages on the fly, like Google Mobile does. The question is, can Bloglines’ RSS reader do this too?
What do Stanford students call themselves after they graduate?
Me: They call themselves Googlers.
Google keeps signing up companies to peddle their wares. This time, they’ve gotten Intuit to slap a Google logo on the cover of Quickbooks, and integrate Google products into a number of Quickbooks’ features. Andy Beal reports that users will be able to advertise on Google AdWords or in Google Maps, post products for sale on Google Base (no Checkout?) and get a $50 AdWords credit. Also, Quickbooks will bundle Google Desktop Search.
I hate bundling, and have made that abundantly clear in the past, so I won’t get into another rant. However, Andy does wonder:
One puzzling question, why didn’t Microsoft think of this tactic with their own Money software?
I’m guessing Microsoft is too terrified. I’ve heard that every time someone at Microsoft uses the word “bundle”, a Justice Department lawyer gets his wings.
The Google Desktop blog announces the winners of their Google Desktop Gadget Contest. The top winning gadget is one that lets you see the top stories from another popular site, Digg, as well as share news with your friends. In second place, a Gadget version of the classic game Reversi, and a day/night clock Gadget takes the third spot. The first place winner got $5,000, followed by $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third.
Google OS writes that Google and Mozilla have signed a deal with Real to distribute Firefox, the Google Toolbar and Google Desktop with RealPlayer, Rhapsody and RealArcade. Yeah, because Real isn’t bloated, and adding a web browser and desktop replacement / search indexer won’t make it an even more bloated download. Now, when people try to simply play a video in a format they wish they didn’t have to deal with, they wind up with a new web browser, the Google sidebar, a two-gig search index, Google widgets all over the desktop, and a new toolbar in Internet Explorer.
If you can’t stand RealPlayer, as many can’t (and this doesn’t help), your best bet it Real Alternative. It comes with Media Player Classic, a pretty good media player by itself, and runs the RealMedia codecs without Real’s bloatware.
From the Google Desktop Blog:
Google Desktop 4 is available in English. Plus there are now beta versions of Google Desktop in 27 languages (up from 16). So now just about everyone will be able to use the latest and greatest Google Gadgets.
[…] Check out the Google Desktop Gadget Designer, a new developer tool for creating, maintaining and debugging gadgets faster than before. You can now easily manage your projects and files, visually design your gadget UI (no need to handcode the xml), edit your script code and preview changes instantly (no more restarts), view debug messages with the built-in debug console, automatically generate the gadget package and manifest and much more in an integrated development environment. The designer is available for download as part of the latest Google Desktop SDK.
But wait, there’s more! We’re announcing a Google Desktop Gadget Contest for developers, with $8,000 in cash prizes. The contest is only open for the next month, so put on your coding hat and start churning out those cool gadgets you’ve always wanted. Good luck and have fun!
Go ahead and have fun!
PC World has once again released its list of the top 100 products of the year, its always interesting and vaguely defined listing of “tech stuff that is good”. Google Earth is sixth on the list, with appearances by Google Search (#17), Blogger (#33), Google Desktop Search (#47). Oh, and Firefox, an open source project somewhat funded by Google and somewhat run by Google employees, is #12.
On the Microsoft front, the Xbox 360 shows all the way down at number 89. Ouch, and what? How is the hot and popular Xbox rated lower than the floundering and stagnant Blogger? Other Microsoft products: Windows Live Local (#39), and the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 Keyboard (#54).
Other products of note:
- YouTube.com (#9) - Google Video competitor. Google did not make the list.
- Apple Boot Camp (#10) - Yes, software to run Windows on a Mac is high on the list, while Windows is not on it at all.
- Ubuntu Linux distribution (#27) - So, operating systems are allowed. Are you telling me Windows XP doesn’t beat anything on this list?
- Yahoo Mail (#30) - Gmail and Hotmail didn’t make the list.
- TiVo (#31) - Okay, how about Windows Media Center?
- Opera 9 (#48)
- Yahoo Maps (#56) - Again, no Google Maps
- Yahoo Music Engine (#73)
- Yahoo Flickr (#78)
- Yahoo del.icio.us (#93)
- Amazon A9 Toolbar (#96)
Oh, and on their top companies of the year list, Yahoo was named Web Company of the Year, Apple the Hardware Company of the Year, while Sony was the Worst Company of the Year.
Interestingly, Windows Live Local is listed number 39, Yahoo Maps is listed number 56. But, Google Maps doesn’t even make it on the list - which just doesn’t seem right.
Randy Charles Morin gave his readers a survey on the RSS readers they have and use, and the results (XLS) are pretty interesting. While 208 votes isn’t the greatest sample size, it does show validate some suspicions of mine, namely that including RSS readers in regular software isn’t taking off.
Most of the desktop programs that handle RSS, but aren’t dedicated aggregators, that voters admitted having installed, like Firefox Live Bookmarks, Internet Explorer 7 and Google Desktop, have pretty decent install bases among Randy’s readers (71%/68%/45% respectively), a lot of those very people, who are early adopters, RSS users and RSS-aware, do not actually use (44%/17%/28%) or prefer (1%/1%/1%) them.
What does this mean to me? While putting RSS readers into things created for other purposes can spur adoption of RSS use (witness My Yahoo), but very few people would ever actually use those programs to read RSS feeds, probably even far fewer than use My Yahoo to read feeds. Obviously, RSS is a young medium, and there is still so much more for us to learn about it, but while feed reading may look good in a list of features, it has very little utility if developers keep sticking it into every damn program.
The Google blog has one of their informational posts from Doc Razavi about repititive stress injuries (RSI), better known in the office space by one type, carpal tunnel syndrome. Its a pretty good read, with useful information for anyone, like myself, who spends twenty hours a day hovering over a keyboard. However, I realized something when I read this:
Breaks should be taken every 30-45 minutes for at least 5 minutes. If you need assistance there are free downloadable timers that will help remind you to do so.
I thought for sure that link would point to a Google Desktop Sidebar widget that did the job. Stupid me. How do you post something like this on your blog without having one guy in the company use his 20% time for a few hours to make a widget? Jeez, it would have been so simple.
Google has so many resources, and this would have been an easy one. Yes, I’m nitpicking, but maybe Google should hire a Chief Nitpicking Officer, or rather, a small details guy. It’s the little things that sometimes make a big difference.
And trust me on this: If I’m afraid of RSI, and there’s a timer in my Google sidebar, I’m never uninstalling the sidebar. That’s lock-in.
I recently noticed that Google Desktop has been indexing my Google Talk chats ever since I upgraded to the latest version of Google Desktop. Chats show up in search results just like AIM conversations with the little yellow icon. And the colors of the indexed message are the same as an AIM conversation, as you can see by this screenshot of a Google Talk conversation.
Wikipedia noticed this two months ago, but apparently all the blogs including Nathan’s missed it. Just thought I’d hijack some space and impart a bit of wisdom. And I was getting lonely over at AppleWatch, so I’ll be posting here from time to time.
Take that Opera! I’m clearing you out, baby!
Matt Cutts says Googlers need to pay more attention to feedback, need to realize there is some great opinions outside the Googleplex, coming their way both from blogs and feedback forms. Yes! Forcing Matt to go to all those conferences, plus his blog, have given him the rare talent most Googlers lack: PERSPECTIVE. Cherish it.
Eric Schmidt held a roundtable lunch to address all the recent criticism being flung like turds at his company. He pledged to make Google less secretive, addressed the China issue (”one of the most controversial decisions the company has ever made”), video, Microsoft, AOL and net neutrality.
BBC’s Guto Hari says Schmidt was unveiling Google’s new venture, “Google Charm”. He seems quite enamored with the friendly stylings of Mr. Schmidt, who was very candid. He said Google agonized for a year over the China situation, with over a thousand people weighing in at one point or the other. Google is trying to get access to the Time Warner film archive for Google Video. Google is hiring more in New York than in California (hmm, should I apply? :-)). Google buys a new business every week. He believes Microsoft Office is great, but far too expensive in some cases, so we can expect more personal information solutions from Google to fill those gaps.
Mr. Wave Theory suggests Google may be racist and sexist, because out of 13 board members, 10 are caucasian and 12 are male. I disagree. Google’s board is far too new. There hasn’t been time for rank and file company members to get opportunities to be promoted, or for a significant number of outside people to be brought in. No one is getting passed over.
Everyone on the board is there for a reason. I don’t think I need to explain why Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt are there. All three are white males (although one was born in Russia), but no one would argue that a minority lost a chance because they are there. Of the other ten, one is a woman, one is black, and all have impeccible credentials. And the second-tier Management Group is 50% female (5/10), and contains exactly one whitebread-looking guy who didn’t invent the internet. Now, if after twenty years as a corporation, some talented Googler who isn’t a white male is passed over, we’ll talk, but the company hasn’t been that big for more than a few year. Right now, this is all a load of horse-hockey.
Is that an expression? Jeez…
Getting back on task, Google System says that Google Desktop needs to reinvent itself for Windows Vista, because in the next gen OS, it doesn’t really have a purpose. Very true. I’ve believed Google figures that if Vista fails, it is best equiped to take charge, and if Vista is a success, there’s no point playing their hands now.
This guy got his AdSense account shuttered for click fraud, now he’s offering to host other people’s ads, for free (plus a thank-you link) for a week apiece. While its a nice gesture, I worry that the same click issues will befall the new ads, and more people will have their accounts banned.
There’s a new SEO scam making the rounds, where they warn you that Google will ban your site if you don’t let them fix it immediately. I think some construction guys pulled that crap with my sidewalk a few years ago.
And finally, the Yahoo Publisher Network Terms and Conditions have been updated to prevent ads being put in spyware, and prevent employees of Yahoo from using the system.
17 tabs open, 1439 Bloglines items to go…
The first podcast is online! I don’t like the levels so much, so will try to work on it for next week. Keep your volume a little low while listening.
Now, show notes:
- 00:00 - Show starts. Song: Stain by Megaphone
- 01:04 - First caller: Devin Reams. Topic: Origami
- 07:19 - Cut to music. Song: Wired For Loud by David Henderson
- 08:30 - Second caller: Jason Schramm. Topic: Calacanis taking over Netscape.com
- 11:20 - Making fun of AOL users
- 11:50 - Reminiscing about Netzero and Juno
- 13:37 - Apple blogs, Apple’s paranoia, Apple Store and employees
- 16:24 - Apple’s R&D budget isn’t increasing like it should
- 17:29 - Google not focusing well, Google Pages, Google Base, Google Desktop, Picasa
- 20:21 - Google buying companies for people, not products
- 20:57 - Google’s history with Blogger
- 23:10 - Google buys Writely and Sketchup
- 24:37 - Why Stu couldn’t call
- 25:18 - What exactly an Origami is, who uses Tablet PCs
- 28:03 - What Writely is like, who should use it
- 31:52 - SketchUp is cool, as are killer robots
- 34:39 - Cut to music. Song:Down With Everything by The Transfer
- 35:41 - Third caller: Miel. Topic: His birthday, nudity on his blog
- 38:10 - Blog readers in strange countries
- 41:03 - Developer Days
- 41:24 - Microsoft’s Atlas (AJAX) toolkit
- 42:45 - Windows Live Local Streetside
- 43:59 - Microsoft’s great interfaces
- 45:39 - Chocolate Xbox 360
- 46:56 - Office 2007 and XML file formats/containers
- 49:54 - Office 2007 UI and the Ribbon
- 51:06 - The Floaty and Clippy (funny stuff)
- 53:42 - The changes from Word 1.0 to Word 2007
- 58:05 - Read Jensenn Harris’ blog! Also, writing XML for the Office 2007 UI, and Office add-in compatibility
- 61:20 - Old DOS games, arcade emulators, emulators on your iPod
- 63:11 - Difference between Origami and UMPC
- 66:07 - Emulating Origami screen sizes on your PC for testing
- 66:52 - Pretending you have an Origami
- 68:10 - Do road warriors need Origami? Plus, Origami vs. SideShow
- 69:30 - Miel needs an MP3 player, got a new phone, my phone stinks
- 73:38 - Wrapping up.
- 74:44 - Ricky Gervais’ podcast (download free shows)
- 76:33 - Closing song: Two Minutes Of Mayhem by CJACKS
Size: 71.9 megabytes
Recorded: 5-6:30 pm on 03.16.2006 in New York
The latest version of Google Desktop Search (the one with the evil “your data on Google’s servers” feature, paranoid ass) has left beta. Included with the latest version is a new feature: Hit the CTRL key twice and the Quick Search Box appears in the center of the screen and lets you search, complete with live search. A great new feature, and heavy users of desktop should rejoice.
Chris Gilmer links to a nifty eBay Watcher plugin for the Google Desktop Sidebar. It checks your eBay watch list and displays it, along with a picture as well as the price and time remaining in the auction. Clicking on it shows more info, like end time, start time, the high bidder, the seller, item id number, and more.
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