Thursday, April 26, 2007

Check Guest and Resource Availability in Google Calendar

The Google Apps Calendar was intermittently offline for maintenance yesterday. The result? They've rolled out a feature that lets you 'find a time' that's available for all attendees when scheduling events.

Clicking 'Check guest and resource availability' brings up a 'find a time' dialog which indicates which times are free / usy in the calendars of each attendee. It's essentially the same functionality that you get when you choose the 'Scheduling' tab in Outlook.

I've only seen this in the Google Apps calendar so far, and it's a welcome addition.
UPDATE: Tony Ruscoe points out that he saw this feature months ago when Google Apps Premier was released. So it's more of a case of rolling a feature out to more users rather than a new feature. Add a comment if you're seeing this feature and if it's new for you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

2007 English Domestic Cricket on Google

The World Cup is (finally) heading in to its final stages and after yesterday's performance, England aren't going to be part of the proceedings.

Luckily the County Championship kicks off today and I've updated my English domestic cricket calendars with the full fixtures for 2007.
For a different view of who's playing where the World Cricket Map Google homepage widget is updated daily and shows cricket being played around the world, with each match pinpointed on a map. Zoom out to see England, then zoom in to see satellite footage of each venue.

As usual CricInfo's Australian Irish English commentary team will be covering all the matches for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Google Office Timesheets v1.0.3 Released

[ Google Office Tools: Timesheeting Timesheet Quick Start Guide Downloads ]
[ Latest Version: 1.0.3 (10/04/2007) ]

The new release of Google Office Timesheets is now available for download.

Improvements in version 1.0.3:

  • Support for offline time entry support.
  • Remembers your default time entry calendar.
  • Minimises to the system tray with a global hotkey for time entry.
  • Dramatically improved speed.
  • Single application for time entry and reporting.
  • Visual 'day bar' shows you how long you've worked.
  • Lets you customise your start and end of day times.
We're continuously improving this little app, so if you've got suggestions, send us a comment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Real 3D Buildings in Google Maps

The hardworking Google Maps team have added proper 3D building outlines to Google Maps.

Two new zoom levels are now available in 'Map' view that extend the existing 'pseudo 3D' effect to full fledged to scale building outlines. So far 3D building support seems limited to US cities. I've been able to view the enhanced building outlines in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago.

With any luck they'll extend this to every building available in Google Earth -- and then every building available via public Sketchup models. Then all we need is textures on the models.

The biggest zoom level is quite impressive -- here's the Chrysler building in New York

Google Maps isn't the first to offer the 3D view, Live Local has been offering it for a while, but it's a welcome addition to the increasingly impressive Google Maps service.

Kurt Vonnegut Has Died at 84

Kurt Vonnegut, author and playwright, passed away in Manhattan on Tuesday aged 84.

Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, penning such incredible novels as 'Mother Night' (adapted into a hugely underrated film) and the incomparable 'Slaughterhouse 5'.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Google My Maps World Cup Venue Mashup

If you're watching the World Cup and you haven't yet used any of my resources to see where the action is being played out, I've decided to add one more way of seeing the venues.

Using Google Map's new 'My Maps' feature, I've published a Google 'My Maps' hosted mashup of World Cup 2007 venues.
For mashup developers, the process of porting the data from an existing mashup into a 'My Maps' mashup took about an hour. The main thing I missed was the ability to change the alignment of text within the description balloon -- otherwise the process was quick and straightforward.

Google Maps My Maps - Dynamic Google Mashups

Ever wanted to create a Google Maps mashup but lacked the Javascript skills?

Google have just released 'My Maps', a service that lets you create your own Google mashups on the fly within the Google Maps interface. The interface lets you add markers, lines, and draw polygons. Each marker can have a full HTML description including full text, images, and videos.

Once you've finished creating your mashup you can publish it for others to search and find, or share it privately with friends, family, or workmates. There's even an option to export to KML for use in Google Earth.

The interface provides the same 'get directions to / from here' options you get with Google Maps, so the resulting mashups are even more useful than before.

Here's an example I've started for Test Cricket Venues that will eventually replace my existing cricket stadium mashup.

This service is amazing.
  • Use it at home with Picasaweb to share your holiday pictures with your family and friends. Draw lines across the world to demonstrate where you've been and where you're going.
  • Office based Google users can map their clients and projects.
  • Plan your next holiday. Put markers in possible destination along with details and links for each hotel / country / beach you plan on visiting.
  • Integrate with Google Calendar to show exactly where events are taking place, with annotations describing venue features, possible parking locations and detailed directions.

My call: Best Google innovation of 2007 so far.

What's missing?

  • Sub folders for markers / lines / polygons to add some structure.
  • Ability to 'hide' lines / polygons so they're on the map but don't appear in the left hand list.
  • Custom marker images. Need to be able to add markers using uploaded / linked images.
  • Being able to measure distances.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Adsense for TV

Today Google announced its long anticipated move into television with an Adsense / Adwords trial. Google are partnering with Echostar and Astound Cable in the US.

It will be interesting to see how their TV ads business works following the relative failure of their attempts to move in to radio via their dMarc acquisition last year.