The wait for the Motorola Droid to go official is finally over, as Verizon has announced all the details on the drool-worthy handset, highlighted by the fact that the Droid launches exclusively on Verizon Wireless on November 6th (yes, just over a week from now,) and will sell for $200 after mail-in rebate with two-year contract.
We know what many of you are thinking - $200 will get you an iPhone 3GS, so this thing better bring the pain. Well, my friends, it certainly does. The Droid is a top-notch phone, boasting a 3.7-inch 480x854 display, Cortex A8 processor, Bluetooth, GPS, 5-megapixel camera (with dual-LED flash,) slide-out QWERTY keyboard with d-pad. 3G, Wi-Fi, over-the-air Amazon MP3 downloads, and voice-activated search are also present. Included in the box is a 16GB SD card, as well as a dock for the phone. That’s just the hardware. Equally important is the software running on the device, and the Droid is the first handset to feature Android 2.0. That’s a big deal, as no other phone on the horizon seems to be shipping with 2.0. This also means that Droid picks up the new Google Maps Navigation feature, which essentially turns the phone into a fully-functional GPS, using Google Maps, at no extra cost.
We’ll obviously be bringing you more details as we get them, but expect to hear a lot, a lot about this phone over the coming weeks.
Read More | Verizon Wireless
A fan of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead has taken it upon himself to pinpoint every major event in the series—talk about dedication!
From the major points like Julie/Chris suicide pack and Rick losing his hand to more subtle events like the “sick” zombie too weak to attack (issue #55), the map seems to have just about everything in the continuing series chronicled. I also enjoy the fact that he noted each and every sex scene—I mean, did anyone really remember or care that Axel and Patricia had sex back in issue #46?
Click on the map above to check it out. Then make sure you mark September 16th on your calendar—issue #65 (part 4 of 5 in the “Fear the Hunters” arc) hits comic book shelves that day!
Kids are fairly sophisticated these days, but even the oldest still believes in the Claus. Since 1996, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense) has been tracking Santa online. Last year the site received over 10 million visitors worldwide. Now you can follow his journey on your iPhone, T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry, Nokia or Windows Mobile Phone by using Google Maps for mobile by searching “norad santa” beginning 6 a.m. Eastern time December 24. Put the official Santa site on your favorites to keep track of the countdown.
Read More | NORAD
ClarionMiND’s mobile Internet navigation device is now available for purchase. With it you get GPS, can play movie and music files, and surf to watch YouTube videos or play online games. With a 4.8-inch WVGA (800 x 480 pixels) touchscreen display, it comes with preloaded North American maps and Google Maps points of interest. The fun device features a Linux Kernel 126.96.36.199 operating system with Intel Atom processor, 512MB RAM, 4GB SSD flash memory and a built-in Firefox-based web browser. Choose from red, black or white and get yours for a hefty $649.00.
Read More | Crutchfield
Well, I guess that November 21 rumor was true, because the iPhone 2.2 firmware update is now available. This one is pretty hefty in the feature department too, so color us excited. You’ve got the a few nice enhancements to Maps, including Google Street View, public transit directions, walking directions, and the ability to share your GPS location with others via email. Speaking of email, the Mail client enjoys some stability improvements in this release as well, along with better handling of wide HTML email. Safari picks up performance improvements, we get the promise of fewer set-up failures and call drops, and better sound quality for Visual Voicemail.
If you’re a podcast lover (and seriously, we know that you love our shows,) you’ll be ecstatic to hear that, finally, podcasts are available for download in the iTunes application. Seriously, this thing is packed. Connect your iPhone up to your computer and grab the 246MB update now.
Danny Sullivan is the Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land, here to talk about search. He talks about how we used to get info. That would be the library, friends, family, and encyclopedia (which weren’t written by everyone.) The search revolution started the information retrieval revolution, and the change from that is still underestimated. In 2000, a “Consumer Daily Question Study” was conducted, 74 people recorded all questions they sought answers to, and the majority of respondents used search engines to find the answer to their questions. Search engines were at 32%, while libraries were just 3%.
Today, 58% of people use the internet if they need an answer, while 53% turn to a professional.
Danny brought up a question - if you need the phone number of the Edgewater hotel next door, how would you find it? Most in audience would search Google, one or two would call 411, and less would use the Yellow Pages. 49% of internet users search every day. That is up 30% from 2006. Jumping off the web, location apps on the iPhone is also search, GPS is search, TV is search. These are all different ways that we are able to use search.
As more becomes searchable, and as serch becomes more used, we get collisions between real life and online life.
US Navy building in San Diego that no one really saw from the air until now, thanks to Google Maps. $600,000 will be spent to reshape the building due to concerns.
Google StreetView has some conflicts as well. There are positives and negatives, and Danny gives examples of both.
So what is the balance? Do we let anyone remove anything from Google and other search engines?
Danny is now calling people in the audience, whose phone numbers he pulled off of search. He then asked them about different things in their life that he was able to find using the Internet. Things like Amazon, Flickr, Google, microblogs, etc. It’s a valid point to show that you can get a lot of information about someone by just using Google. Aside from “personal” info on web, searches we make are personal. What about the issue where Viacom demanded all the searches done on YouTube in history from Google? Location apps are cool, though now more people know your location. Does Apple know all the places you go by way of your iPhone? Is there even a way to “clear” this data?
The conundrum now is that more is being made searchable, more people are searching and we’ve hardly figured out the issues.
A Massachusetts online company has released the beta Everyscape that takes Google mapping an extra step. When you hit their site, you click on a location and see not only the outside but the inside of tourist attractions, musical venues, museums, etc. Click again and you can get detailed info.
“While Google has focused their technology on building a better map, we wanted to do more and replicate the experience of actually being somewhere,” chief executive Jim Schoonmaker said.
The work is being done by “destination ambassadors” that use specialized equipment to map by the mile. It’s a nice idea that seems like it has a long way to go.
Read More | ABC News
A Pennsylvania couple is suing Google for invasion of privacy and mental distress. Aaron and Christine Boring claim that the reason they bought their property in the first place was because it was isolated and now it has been devalued. It seems that Google may have taken a street view shot from their driveway that was marked “Private Road.”
Google spokesperson Larry Yu claims that if the pair wanted the images removed, all they had to do was ask. Attorney Dennis Moskal said that their privacy was already hampered when the vehicle that took the shots drove on their property. It will be interesting to see if this has ramifications down the road. While Google maps increase in imaging technique, Big Brother surely gets closer every day.
Read More | MSNBC
If you are unfamiliar with an area that you are trekking around, Wikinear is a new service that will tell you about its environs. Utilizing Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, APIs will find your location and display the 5 nearest interest points on a Google map courtesy of Wikipedia. The service is currently in beta, so you are required to sign up for Fire Eagle and there are only a limited amount of invitations available. Still, we like what we see since we love traveling, and hope that by the time it is officially open it will have more info for the rest of us.
Read More | Mashable
Sure and begorra! If you are looking for a place to hang out to get your green brew today, go over to Google Maps and get a pleasant surprise. To get into the St. Paddy’s spirit, Google has brought in a leprechaun as a traveling companion. Move him around and he leaves a rainbow trail. We don’t know if he will lead you to that pot o’ gold, but he will help you to find some places to celebrate the holiday. It sure beats MSN’s green home page although Yahoo’s header is a decent effort.
(Have a great holiday, folks!)
Read More | ZD Net