Friday, December 25, 2009

New Windows Chrome Icon?

Now I'm not sure if this is happening for everyone, but when installing Google Chrome on a new Windows 7 machine, the Chrome icon looks like this:

Is anyone else seeing this?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Google Phone Confirmed

The existence of the Google phone was confirmed in this recent blog post on the Google Mobile Blog.  It had previously been tweeted by a Google employee as well, which may have been the cause of the announcement.

The phone will be made by HTC and will be Google-branded.  It will be sold unlocked and it will have a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and an OLED screen.  If TechCrunch's post from around a month ago is correct, it will be a device that uses VoIP for voice rather than the carrier's voice capabilities.  This would likely be Gizmo5 if it is true, and in that case there's a good chance Google will start charging for the service.

If this device will actually be sold (and isn't just exclusively for Google employees), it could seriously change the balance of power in the mobile space.  Right now, most mobile users seem to remain blissfully unaware of the existence of unlocked phones.  Google has the power to change that.  If the phone is cheap enough to be competitive with other (subsidized) smartphones, it could just make people consider unlocked phones as an option.  Carriers now have more control than handset makers, but that could easily change.  If people stop buying subsidized phones and the price of unlocked phones comes down, the carriers will actually have to make people like their service and their pricing.  (What a concept!)

It's something I've thought about a lot lately since I've been looking at all sorts of phones and carriers.  The major problem right now is that all the carriers (except maybe Sprint) charge extremely high amounts for family data plans with smartphones.  If this can help bring prices down, I'm all for it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Google To Open-Source EtherPad

According to PC World, Google is set to open-source EtherPad, a real-time collaboration webapp.  They recently acquired the company behind this application, AppJet.  It seems EtherPad users liked the service enough to make Google listen.

For those who don't know, EtherPad allowed users to collaborate on a single document in real-time, much like Google Wave does.  (And by that I mean instantly.)  Each user's edits are clearly marked.  It's like Google Docs meets Google Wave, really.

New pads can once again be made from the EtherPad home page, and this will be the case until the code is completely open-sourced.

Things like this are why I really love Google.

New Blogger

I almost forgot to announce this, but that post below reminded me.  As you may have noticed, I didn't write it.  So I'm pleased to announce that this blog now has another writer, Eugene Niemand.  He's going to be a big help... and I hope this blog will continue to grow in the future.

Google Goggles mobile visual search

Have you ever seen something and wish you could get more info in as snap (pardon the pun) or you see something and think WTF is that. Well there will be an App for that, namely Google Goggles.

It was only a matter of time before Google came out with a visual search product. Google Goggles is geared towards the mobile market and allows anybody with the ability to snap a photo to receive relevant information via Make Magazine

Now the question is how long will it take Google to catch up with other similar applications? Most services I have seen only does bar code scanning so Google is one step ahead in that aspect, seeing that you can search for any image, so if you take a picture of Big Ben in London or The Statue of Liberty it will return results based on that.

I can think of a plethora of uses for this, product reviews, history of places while walking, more info of say a Polar bear while visiting the zoo just to name a few. Here is a short video that demonstrates Google Goggles.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Google Has Acquired AppJet. What Does This Mean?

Google has just acquired AppJet, the makers of a web-based real-time collaborative document editor called EtherPad.  The employees who worked on EtherPad will be joining the Google Wave team.  What does this mean?  Well, I'd guess the reason for this is to make Google Wave a whole lot faster.  One of EtherPad's main selling points was that it was really fast.

After all, Wave in its current state ends up being very slow and clunky after 150 or so posts in a wave.  If this acquisition can help that, this is very good news.  Once that problem is taken care of, it seems like it'll almost be ready for a final release.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chromium on Linux - Bookmarks Sync Now Enabled By Default

Looks like today the daily builds of Chromium have the bookmarks syncing feature enabled by default. No more running it with --enable-sync at the end.  Finally!

Google Public DNS

Well, isn't that interesting.  Google just released a DNS service.

I've been an OpenDNS user for a while now, but this is interesting, so I decided to try it.  It's not really configurable like OpenDNS is, but for the average user that doesn't matter.  But will the average user realize the benefits of such a service?  Will the average user even care?  Not likely.  That's what Google needs to work on if they want to make Google Public DNS catch on.

There's also, you know, all that extra data going through Google.  I know some people that wouldn't like that idea.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Running Chrom(ium) OS

Well, as I've said, I've been getting a bit too busy for blogging (and honestly sometimes there's just not much to blog about)... so this has already made its way around the internet by now.  As such, you've probably already seen it.  For those who haven't...

@hexxeh on Twitter has created images ready to be booted from a USB drive.  You can find them at

If you happen to have a Dell Mini 10V lying around, you can try this image released by a Dell employee.

Hexxeh says on his website that he will be releasing a newer image soon with wireless fixes for the RT2860 (MSI Wind, Eee PC 901 and 1000 series) and BCM43XX (Dell Mini 9 and 10) wireless chips.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gizmo5-Google Voice, Google Wave Invites

Alright, since it would appear I only got 3 retweets for that... everyone gets a Wave invite!  Yay?  They're not nearly as rare now as they were a few months ago.  (Yeah, 2 days late, sorry about that.)  @scaiuan, I can't DM you since you're not following me, but I do need an email address to send the invite to.

Also... recently (since Google acquired Gizmo5) it seems I've been able to make free calls to any phone through Gizmo5.  It shows up as being from my Google Voice number.  Has this happened to anyone else?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chrome OS Is Here!

Oh, now look what happened while I was at school.  Google demoed Chrome OS!  The Chromium OS source code was released as well.

Alright, so maybe we won't be seeing actual Chrome OS machines until later... but hey, you can always get Chromium OS.

Now I have to say, I am disappointed at the fact that you can't just go download Chrome OS.  You'll have to buy machines with the OS preinstalled.  Also, it won't work with hard drives, only SSDs.  Keep in mind, though, that the average user doesn't want to have to deal with getting things to work... the average user just wants things to work.  I think that's what we'll be seeing once machines with Chrome OS start hitting the market.

Is this good?  Is this bad?  I honestly don't know.  The consumers will determine what happens to Chrome OS.  In the meantime, I'll be trying to test Chromium OS on one of my laptops.  Will it work?  Doubtful.  But hey, it's worth a shot.  If it does happen to work, I'll report back here.

Here's the VMware image.  There are a few things that haven't yet been implemented in this version (the menu in the top-left corner, for one) and the menus look like something straight out of Windows 95... but hey, it's Chromium OS.

Link removed because you guys overloaded it. XD

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Google Phones, Google Operating Systems, and Google Wave Invites

Well well, look what's been happening over the last few days.  Lots of new Google news.

First of all, there's a Chrome OS event scheduled for tomorrow.  Apparently, we'll be getting their launch plans and a "complete overview", so this could be quite interesting.  I'm guessing this one won't turn out like that other one.

TechCrunch is also reporting that the Google phone does exist... and may end up being a data-only device reliant on VoIP.  Sounds interesting, but Google has denied all rumors of a Google phone in the past.  We'll see, Mike, we'll see.

On another note, I've got 8 Google Wave invites to give out.  Follow @googleworldblog on Twitter and retweet this tweet to enter.  I'll select the winners on the 23rd.  (Also, this is the first time I've done this, so if anyone has any tips on an automated method of doing this... that would be nice.  Otherwise I could see it getting out of hand if enough people notice.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

TechCrunch: Google Chrome OS To Launch Within A Week

Hmm, TechCrunch has been getting a lot of exclusive stories lately.  The most recent of which is this article stating that Chrome OS is to be released within a week.

Their previous exclusive story turned out to be true; Google posted about the Gizmo5 acquisition on one of their blogs and Gizmo5 stopped accepting new members.

If this is indeed true (and I have reason to believe it is) I'll be installing and testing it upon release.  Of course, the TechCrunch article mentions possible driver issues... but since Chrome OS is Linux-based, manufacturers don't necessarily have to create a completely new set of drivers.  We'll see what happens though - I don't have a netbook at my disposal, so hopefully this Compaq laptop will do.  It's fairly generic in terms of hardware.

We'll have to see what happens though.  All I can say is... if this is true, it's going to be a good week.

Monday, November 9, 2009

TechCrunch: Google Has Acquired Gizmo5

TechCrunch recently posted this:

According to them, Google has now acquired Gizmo5.  For those who don't know, Gizmo5 is a VoIP provider with clients for Windows, OS X, and Linux.  Specifically, they run the only VoIP service supported by Google Voice, which is why this isn't so surprising.  As of right now, the deal has not been announced officially by either company, but I'd suggest watching their blogs for more information.

So what does this mean for Google Voice users?  Well, there are a few possibilities here.  Google could integrate the Gizmo5 client's functionality into Google Talk, which I'd say is pretty likely.  In the short term, they could stop charging for dialing out through Gizmo5/Google Voice... or they could keep charging, which would surely annoy a lot of people.

If they do keep charging, there's a nice little article over at Nerd Vittles that I saw a while ago.  Basically, it describes how to integrate GV dial-out functionality with an Asterisk server.  Take a look at it if you're interested.

Regardless of what happens, this move could serve to position Google as a formidable competitor to Skype.  Consider this: Gizmo5's SIP services are open.  Skype is completely proprietary.  Gizmo5 is not very well-known.  Plenty of people know about Skype, but even more people know about Google.  The problem Google's had up until this point is that most people aren't even aware of Google Talk... which is pretty odd since Google is one of the largest advertising companies on the internet.  If they actually start advertising these services, well, I think they could easily grab a huge portion of the VoIP market share.

Update: Google has announced it on their Google Voice blog.

On the Gizmo5 side, you don't need to look far to find this - it's on their homepage.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Oh wow...

...I got over 100 followers without even noticing!

In case you haven't noticed, there hasn't been much going on with Google lately.  There's Android 2.0, but that was covered elsewhere before the SDK (and therefore the emulator) was even released.  Not to mention... Android's one topic I really can't cover mainly because of the lack of money on my part.  I can't afford to get new devices very often, and I don't even have an Android device for myself at the moment.  So... sorry about that.

(Although I hear the Droid's going to be really nice.  Wish I could get my hands on one.)

Yeah, I know there's Google Music Search, but I haven't really had the time to take a look at that either.  What I will say, though, is that most of the rumors about it were a bit off.  I saw a lot of people discussing a possible "Google Music Store", and to be honest, I didn't really expect that.  Music Search, on the other hand, seems like it will really come in handy for anyone looking for a particular song.

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Google is rolling out a new feature that puts songs (along with a preview) into your search results.  You can search by artist, album, or lyrics within the song if that's all you remember.  For some reason, I haven't had it show up over here yet, but hopefully that will change soon.

For now, I'll be here enjoying Ubuntu 9.10 until Google finally releases a build of Chrome OS.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Look at Google Wave (AKA stuff you've probably read somewhere else.)

This morning, my brother and I received our Google Wave invites.  I've been using it all day, so I figured I'd post some of my thoughts on it.

I find that it's incredibly hard to describe to people exactly what Wave is and why they should use it.  In practice, it's very simple, but there's no quick and easy way to describe it.  What seems to amaze people the most is actually something that's been around for a long time: real-time transmission of text.

First of all, while I know it is a preview, it's just extremely slow when working in waves with more than a few blips.  Of course, I'm sure this will improve soon enough (before an actual public launch).  It's just something I wanted to point out.

I've actually seen one thing changed in the one day I've been using the service.  This morning, if someone were to edit a blip, it would show that it had been edited by another user, but you would have to dig into the timeline to actually see the changes.  Now, they are clearly displayed as highlighted text.  It's a very nice addition.

Gadgets and robots also need a little work.  Each gadget currently has its own button on the toolbar.  While that's great if you only have one or two, it could easily fill up the toolbar with clutter.  There's also the fact that robots are added into your Google contacts, so if you don't want a bunch of Wave robots scattered throughout your contacts, well... you'll have to play around with it a bit.  A separate section for robots would be nice.

I will say this: I'm not a developer, so the potential Wave has for me at this point is very limited.  However, once I get a few invites, I'll be able to actually invite people I know and see what happens.  It's not quite ready for the public, though. It's slow, it occasionally crashes, and at this point it would not be a very fun experience for anyone who just wants to get something done.  Google Wave does have huge potential, so keep an eye on it.  Just don't expect it to be perfect right away.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Anyone have a Google Wave Invite?

Yeah, I know, everyone is asking this, but hey.  I have two Google Voice invites, and I'm looking for a Google Wave invite so I could possibly cover it here.  (Although, granted, I'm not a developer, so my options there are somewhat limited, but... hey, I can try, right?)  I'd be willing to trade one or both.

I should have Google Wave shortly.  I'm looking forward to trying it out.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

(Updated) Huh. Why didn't anyone else notice this?

Looks like I wasn't the first to find this.  Sharkbaitbobby compiled a build of the Chrome OS version of the browser well before the debs were available for download.  There may have been other people who found this earlier as well.  Regardless, his is the earliest I've seen so far, so I think he deserves a little credit here. :P

Update: He's also created a new blog for Chromium OS browser builds.  He already has a later build than the one I posted.  (Mine was directly from Google, his are modified versions of Chromium.  The source code for the Chrome OS browser has actually been in the Chromium source for a while.)

I'll be posting any more news I find, but for the latest builds, that's the place to go. :P

Some people apparently can't read.

Half the tech sites I see seem to be claiming that the "leaked build of Chrome OS" doesn't exist.  Alright, they're correct.  One problem with that.  I never claimed to have a leaked build of the OS.

I can't tell the writers over at TechCrunch what to write.  If they feel like making the title misleading, so be it.  The article itself wasn't too misleading, but I think many people couldn't quite get past the headline.  I think PC World's article was the best so far because it wasn't misleading at all.  It clearly stated that it was the browser, not the OS, just as I did here.

Another thing I noticed was the whole "Rapidshare" thing.  Alright, so scroll down a bit and you'll see a Dropbox link I added shortly after posting it (after reading a comment about Rapidshare in the TechCrunch article).  Maybe I should have removed the Rapidshare link too, I don't know, but is it really that big of a deal?

Also, since people are complaining about that... any suggestions for a non-searchable download service that -doesn't- reward uploaders?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

PC World: Google To Host Chrome OS Event Tomorrow

Looks like Google's getting ready to announce more details about their Chrome OS tomorrow.  It'll have been just a few days after TechCrunch initially spotted the chromeos folder and I posted screenshots of it.

Oh, and also, I got linked by PC World! :D

Google Chrome OS Browser (Unstable Build 28902)

Alright, I know many of you have asked for this, so here it is.

I was a bit nervous about posting this, since it's something Google doesn't seem to want people to see, but... if there are any issues, I'll take it down.  If not, it'll stay.

No, it's not the source code.  It's just the i386 DEB package.  I wish I had grabbed that source code zip, but I didn't, so... for anyone looking for that, you'll have to wait a bit longer.

Also, please keep in mind this is a very early build and is not in any way representative of the final product.  If it crashes, so be it.  Complain about crashes when you can find this thing loaded on computers at Best Buy.  Right now?  Yes, it'll likely crash.  No, it's nothing to worry about.

(Removed Rapidshare link due to complaining, if anyone has any suggestions for a better upload service, please let me know.)

Chrome OS Browser Themes

In case anyone was wondering, this is what Chrome OS looks like if you apply a theme and use the compact nav bar.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update on Google Chrome OS Browser

It would appear the Chrome OS folder has disappeared as of a few minutes ago. Luckily, I managed to grab a copy of the latest build available just before it was taken down. Completely by chance. Not much I can really give you here, as the latest unstable build seems identical to the stable build I tried last night from a UI standpoint.

EDIT: One noticeable change, see below for details.

Hold on, I found one functional change in this build. In the previous stable build I tested, none of the options in the "Compact nav bar" menu worked. Now, however, I get this when I choose "New Window":

Never mind, it worked in the previous build, that was an oversight on my part.

Interesting. So it merges the top bar and the navigation controls.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chrome OS Browser Tour - A Possible Look at What's to Come

As I was browsing through my usual news articles, I spotted this interesting article over at TechCrunch:

Being the curious person that I am, I just had to try it out. And look! Google was nice enough to provide prepackaged .deb files!

Click images to enlarge

Of course, that's to be expected from anything branded Chrome. Chrome is, after all, not open source; the open-source browser is named Chromium. (It would appear this version has already been open-sourced.)  Anyway, after installation, what you get looks like this:

In the top-right corner, you'll find a clock (redundant when you're running it inside a full Linux distro), a network connection dialog (non-functional here), and a battery meter (also non-functional).

In the top-left, you have what appears to be the new logo (so far I have been unable to find a larger version of that image). Clicking on it opens this Google Short Links window, which doesn't really allow you to do anything unless you have a email address, which I assume is restricted to Google employees only.

In the options menu, you'll find a new tab for "Google Chrome OS". As of the latest build, it looks like this:

Aw dangit, how did this get here?  Ignore the Picasa 3.5 window in the background.

There's also a new menu option in the drop-down menu found in the top bar. Its options are identical to those found in the standard options button below it, except for a few things. There are options to clear browsing data, import bookmarks and settings, and go into fullscreen mode. There is also a new menu option called "Compact nav bar". Inside it you'll find the "New Window" option as well as "Open tabs on left", "Open tabs clobber", and "Open tabs on right". Sorry, but I was unable to get a screenshot for the menus, as neither of my screenshot utilities would let me do so and I'm not running this in a VM.

Browser running in fullscreen mode

Aside from these changes, the rest of the browser appears to be the same as the standard Linux build.

So there you have it. A quick look at an early build of the browser that's to be included in Chrome OS. Keep in mind that this is an early build of the browser and things are bound to change before the final version of the OS is released.