Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Google Maps India

The train keeps rolling on, Google Maps now features street level road maps for India.

Like every national release the details are slightly different, the India data also includes icons for locations of interest -- including schools, hospitals, 'talkies', and playgrounds.

It's another impressive addition, to an increasingly complete 'road map of the world'.

Also out in this push are maps for Singapore and Hong Kong. Go Asia!

This is in addition to an announcement earlier in the week that Google has aquired a Swiss based online mapping company to further expand their existing European operation.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Multiple Stop Directions on Google Maps

Google maps now lets you plan journey itineries by showing routes with multiple destinations for a single trip.

You can add as many intermediate stops as you like, and can drag and drop the order of each stop to have Google recalculate the suggested route. Very. Nice. As far as I know Google's the first online mapping destination to provide this kind of functionality, though similar things have been available for GPS units in the past.

There's also a newly added, tiny little gray arrow, that sites half way down the page between the map and the directions. Clicking it will hide the directions 'full screening' the map. This is a nice touch that I've been waiting a while for.

In any case I've now got my trip to Cornwall for Christmas plugged in -- including the stop at Stonehenge for good measure.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Googling Google with Google's Patent Search

Earlier today Google announced a new patent search service, that will show you all the patents filed with the US patent office. It's a clever service based on their Book Search technology, but without the associated copyright controversies.

The neat thing about this is you can Google Google with this to get an interesting list of patents that have been assigned to them using the inassignee operator.

Some of the more interesting results include:
  • 7031961: A system and method for searching and recommending objects from a categorised organised information repository -- which looks a bit like Coop on drugs, and could indicate the way Google are planning on heading social.
  • 7027987: Voice interface for a search engine. The technology behind a future TV driven Adsense, or what's driving Adsense for radio?
  • 7089237: Interface and system for persistent contextual relevance for commerce... Looks like the future of Google Base / Froogle. Note again the references to 'groups of users' and 'recommendation systems'. I predict 2007 is going to see Google enter the social sphere in a big way.

There's plenty more, including some practical hardware patents from their data centers. Hours of fun!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Google Spreadsheets API C# Client Library

Excellent news for C# developers using Google gData API platform. As of yesterday the gData SVN repository and C# library download have been updated to include C# client libraries for using the new Google Spreadsheets API.

In more good news the C# libraries also fully support development on the Microsoft Mobile platform, so portable apps can make use of online spreadsheet data. Nice one.

I've been looking forward to this since Google announced the spreadsheets API last week. Actually this was something I'd requested from the Writely team before they got bought out by Google. Spreadsheets are a powerful business tool, so I expect to see some good developments in this space.