Wednesday, June 21, 2006

English Twenty20 Cup Calendar

With the English Domestic season well under way, it's almost time for the Twenty20 cup. To keep track, I present the English Domestic Twenty20 Cup calendar for your scheduling enjoyment.

In other cricket news, Google Maps have just rolled out a major satellite imagery update. Check out my Test Match Venue map page and see most of the world's test grounds in 10cm per pixel high resolution goodness.

This update is big - South Africa, New Zealand, India, and Pakistan - have nearly all their cricket grounds visible at high res.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Picasa Web Albums

Hot on the heals of Picasa for Linux comes the Picasa Web Albums Beta.

This is a nice offering, clearly targeted at photo sharing sites like Flickr. Is it a Flickr killer? Not yet, but it does do what Google does best, in that it provides a clean and simple way to store, view, and share content -- in this case, photo content.

Once you've been accepted into the current test, you'll be allowed to download the newest version of Picasa that will let you upload your existing images directly to your Web Album. Google currently provide 250Mb gratis, with the possibility of upgrading this to 6Gb.

Once online, you can sort your pictures into albums, which you can choose to share or keep private. Shared albums can be viewed and downloaded by other users who know your Picasa URL ([Google Username]), like this test user. There's currently no way to search for people of images.

Within your albums you can view slideshows, zoom and rotate images, or download them into Picasa. You can also caption or comment on your images.

Socially its in its early stages, with no labeling or searching available -- however RSS feeds are provided for users and albums, and you can flag a user as a 'favorite' that will then track any new additions to their online albums.

Overall it is a solid start with a simple and elegant interface. The Picasa blog post says "Of course, there's a lot we want to add and improve..." So I expect more to come before too long.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Google Local Offering Free Business Listings

Not too long ago Google's Adwords started offering GeoAds -- a low cost-per-click way of advertising your businesses on Google Maps. Now they've extended this service to all business owners who wish to see their company appearing on Google Local, for free (albeit without the fancy icons available to paid listings).

After completing the process of describing your business (address, opening hours, description, and contact details) you select the categories that describe your business. Then once Google has confirmed a business exists at the premises specified (via phone or mail) you're in!

This is an obvious and necessary step for Google Maps / Local which has so far been relying on commercial listings (like Yell) and by scouring web sources. Now owners can specify details for their business directly -- which is probably bad news for the aforementioned companies, but good news for small business.

With the ability to specify details like web, email, opening hours, and payment methods all at no cost, it's certainly a much better deal than most of the 'traditional' business listings (like the Yellow Pages) currently offer.