Friday, April 28, 2006

The World Cricket Map Now Supports Internet Explorer

What, you mean it didn't before?

Well, yesterday I learned a lesson. Always test with multiple browsers. I found out very late last night that some of the JavaScript on the World Cricket Map was not Internet Explorer friendly. Whoops!

An hour of frantic coding later I've found and fixed the incompatibility, so anyone who visited the site yesterday and was greeted by a map suggesting there was precious little cricket being played -- download FireFox! Or alternatively, you could just visit the site again with IE. Just make sure you refresh!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

SketchUp for Free

As many hope, and some predicted, Google has released a version of newly acquired SketchUp for free.

SketchUp is a very easy to use 3D modeling software that has already been integrated with Google Earth to allow modelers to integrate their creations into their Google Earth. To assist in this process Google's providing a 3D Warehouse for modelers to share their finished creations with others.

As a 3D modeler myself this is fantastic news. At Intervention Engineering we develop 3D models of clients oil fields and platforms. Using SketchUp we can now take this one level further and fly them through their facilities in Google Earth. Nice!

Expect to see a lot more content inside of Google Earth as people start modelling their homes, businesses and favourite landmarks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Live Cricket Scores and Google Calendar Cricket Fixtures

For those of you that love Cricket, I've created a new cricketing website -- The Cricketing Yak.

It's home to the
World Cricket Calendar, that uses the Google calendar API to maintain a complete Google Calendar of international cricket that includes tests, ODIs, and Twenty20 matches. I'm also generating fixtures with Google Calendar links to let visitors create reminders for upcoming cricket matches on your Google calendar.

The Google
homepage Cricket Map module is now full blown mashup -- using the v2 API and featuring live match scores.

I've got a couple more cricket related projects nearing release. When they're ready I'll post here and at The Cricketing Yak, so stay tuned for deets.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Google Maps Europe

Just in time for World Cup 2006, and almost immediately following a name reversion, Google Maps has incorporated road details and local search for most of Western Europe.

France and Germany include as much detail as we're used to in the UK and US, and while some of the finer detail is a little sketchy once you get navigate beyond their borders, there's highway data for most of Western Europe. Do all roads lead to a World Cup 2006 venue?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Google Referals with Text Links

Google are now providing text links for Adsense / Adwords / Firefox referrals. Apparently added due to user feedback, it's a good feature -- sometimes a Big Shiny Button just doesn't suite your site design.

The text of the link is not configurable, but there are a number of options to choose from. The end result, looks like this.

I'm going to change some of my sites and see if this improves the click through rate. I rather imagine that it will.

Note: To see the text link adds in your Adsense setup, you must choose US English as your language (English UK will not work!).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

GData: Google's Extensible API

Google have just announced the public release of their GData API model. Specifically, they've developed the Java and C# classes needed to develop Google Calendar applications. While this is great news for developers wishing to leverage the power of the Google Calendar with desktop and web based apps, it's even better news for those of us wondering if development on a 'Google OS' was going to be a closed system deal.

The development by Google of GData is a clear indication of how development with Google will work. The protocol and APIs are fully extensible so expect to see GMail, RSS reader, news, bookmarks, blog, and search APIs roll out using the GData API.

This really is a Good Thing, as Google have finally opened the door for some real outside development. As developers, we now have something to look at and point to when we're talking about writing applications in an world where services are more important than platforms.

The potential benefit for Google here is huge. Between my search history, mail, RSS feeds and calendar, Google already has a ridiculous amount of my information. Now with an API that promises access to this information to use the way I want to, there's one less reason to think about storing it anywhere else.

Now, I'm off to play with this API -- expect to see some Calendar applications coming soon!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Google Calendar Released

Google Calendar is finally live. It's another slick AJAX offering from Google, presenting a clean and uncluttered interface.

It's a pretty good package, which emphasizes the collaborative nature of most people's diaries. Perfect for social groups, families and businesses to schedule events, I predict Google Calendar will have an impact on businesses and event planning as people being to utilize it as an avenue for event promotion, as we can all be assured it won't be long before 'Events' start popping up in the SERP results.

The app provides the standard features you'd expect from a Web 2.0 calendar app with drag and drop event creation and modification and multiple calendars with dynamic overlays. As it's a Google offering the 'Search My Calendars' feature is as fast and comprehensive as you'd expect, and the 'Quick Add' feature that interprets a sentence into a full event entry by decoding the 'when' and 'where' is impressive.

There's a healthy dose of the social web with this release. All your calendars are shareable, with each event as well as each calendar having the option of being a private or public event, so you can share calendars with friend's, family, or clients. In addition to that, you can invite specific guests to an event, and each event features a 'discussion forum' perfect for organizing the event and talking about it afterwards.
Each calendar is available as an iCal and XML feed for integration with existing desktop calendar apps, and I dare say it won't be long before people you see these feeds pop up on web sites.

Notably missing from the new release is a todo list and a day journal -- both of which I'd love to see in later releases. Also absent at this stage is an interactive API, though the iCal and XML feeds take us half the way there.

It's not the killer web-app many may have been expecting, but it is a solid release that captures the essentially collaborative nature of calendaring very well. It's continued success will depend on reliability, uptake, and further development of the feature set.

At this early stage I give it the thumbs up, and hope the calendar team keep up the good work.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Google's 'Related Links' and Other Improvements

Many of us had been hoping for a Google release to mark GMail's third birthday. While it looks like we may have been disappointed on that front there are still a couple of April releases to check out.

First off the rank, Google Related Links. It's a Google Labs project that puts a related content link box on your website based on context. It currently features up to three tabs -- related searches, news, and pages. One can only assume sponsored links won't be too far behind, but at this stage it's add free.

Also out is Google Maps API v2. According to the Google Maps Blog there's been a few changes including a smaller JavaScript download, two additional satellite zoom levels and an overview map that displays a collapsible overview map in the corner of the screen. Also worth noting is a relaxation in terms. There's now no page view limit, however they ask if you're getting more than 500k hits you let them know.

An finally, the Personalised Homepage has had an update with an improved directory for adding modules.

Not the killer upgrades we were hoping for (CL2 anyone?), more of a solid development release.