On the eve of MacWorld 2009, Google has finally gone and released a Mac version of Picasa. Picasa 3 for OS X is a beta version of the massively popular Picasa photo management software that Windows users have been enjoying for about five years now. If you are unfamiliar, unlike iPhoto, Picasa doesn’t wrangle all your images into one area - instead, if finds them and leaves them where they are. If you move an image, it will know where it went. You can do simple editing, and since Picasa is a Google product, it ties in to all the other Google offerings in exactly the ways you are thinking. Yup, emailing photos using your Gmail account, uploading videos to YouTube, and sending both photos and videos to the free Picasa Web Albums service, where you can then share them with friends, the world, or keep them private.
Picasa is free, and you can grab it immediately.
Read More | Picasa for OS X
The number 1 search on Google yesterday morning was “ihop.” We guess that it wasn’t enough to gorge on holiday roast beast. Or maybe some just wanted to get an omelet before last minute shopping, since the #2 search was “stores open on Christmas day.” Included on the list was “Waffle House” (#9,) Denny’s (#10,) “Wal-Mart Christmas Day hours” (No. 16,) and “Is Best Buy open on Christmas” (No. 18.) Find the complete list via the link.
Read More | LA Times
The folks over at Google Labs have been hard at work, trying to tighten the grip of your virtual leash, and today introduced a new way to feed the desire for instant gratification: SMS text messaging for chat. How often have you tried to chat with somebody, but they don’t respond because they “just walked away from their computer?” Well, Gmail chat will now send those messages along to your intended recipient’s cell phone so it’ll be that much harder to ignore you; and if you’re in the middle of a conversation you want to continue, but they need to leave their computer, you can now do that seamlessly.
Just go to the Labs area in Preferences to turn it on - you can type any US phone number into the search box in the chat window on the left, then select “Send SMS.” You can also select the contact you want to SMS first and then add their phone number. You can send messages to US numbers from anywhere in the world. If you’re on the receiving end, when you get a text message from Gmail on your phone, messages from each contact will come from a unique number with a 406 area code (406 spells G0O…), reply like you would to any other text message and the reply will be routed through Gmail’s servers straight to your friend’s Gmail chat window.
If your recipient REALLY doesn’t want to talk to you, it’s easy enough to reply to the message with the word BLOCK and you’re just out of luck, no more SMS delivery to that contact! If you’re someone who doesn’t have a text messaging plan or are limited in the number of messages you can receive for free, you can simply reply with the word STOP and you won’t receive texts from anybody using Gmail. Another awesome innovation that makes it that much harder to hide…
Read More | Gmail Blog
We’re in the midst of getting our T-Mobile G1 reviewed, but in the meantime, we wanted to show off the looks and unboxing experience of the phone. Obviously, the G1 is the first publicly available phone that is based on the Google Android platform, and if you are on T-Mobile, we think it’s the phone to have. This is obviously T-Mobile’s answer to the iPhone, and it’s good to see that other companies are trying to innovate and catch up, with the aim of putting out great phones. With Android, the G1 software is even more open than that of the iPhone OS. We’ll get into all that in our review of the phone, but for now enjoy the shots in our T-Mobile G1 unboxing gallery.
Read More | T-Mobile G1 unboxing gallery
Gallery: T-Mobile G1 unboxing gallery
We’ve been messing with our T-Mobile G1 for a few days now, in preparation for a full review, but we are confident enough in the device to list it here in our Holiday Gift Guide. The T-Mobile G1 is the first phone on the market that features Google’s Android OS. Along with the Google love, the G1 features 3G speeds, a physical QWERTY keyboard, and a 3 megapixel camera. The software itself features all the goodness you’d expect from Google, meaning integration with Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, and Google Maps with the super-cool Street View Compass mode. There’s also a store that allows you to download apps, games, and the like. If you want to get someone a smartphone, and they are on T-Mobile, this is the one to get. You can pick it up from T-Mobile for $179.
Read More | T-Mobile G1
So you don’t have an iPhone or other web-enabled phone, you’re away from your computer and you’re tired of shelling out your precious greenbacks for 411 services; is there any other option? Well, you could just keep on calling 411, the phone companies love it when you do that – a quick check reveals that Verizon charges $1.49 per call and both AT&T and Sprint charge a piggy bank busting $1.79 per call – or you could give Google or Microsoft a call, they’ll take care of you for free. Google’s service, “GOOG-411” can be accessed by calling 1-800-GOOG-411, while Microsoft’s “Live Search 411” can be accessed by calling 1-800-CALL-411.
Both systems use voice recognition technology (you won’t be able to speak with a real human) to provide directions to and phone numbers of millions of destinations across the United States and Canada, connecting you to your destination and sending you a text message containing the requested information if you so desire.
Which service is right for you? You’ll have to try them both out and decide for yourself. I surprised myself by choosing the Microsoft service as my favorite. Stranger things have happened…
Check out the video (up top) for an introduction to the Google service.
Worried about the flu? Google Flu Trends uses several search terms to figure out where the next outbreak may occur. Launched Tuesday, they collaborated with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get tracking data from a 5 year period. Hit the site, move your mouse over the state, and get the current status of outbreak.
Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch in the CDC’s influenza division, claims, “In theory at least, this idea can be used for any disease and any health problem.”
Read More | CNN
Tired of using emoticons to express what only your face can truly convey? So are Google‘s Gmail software engineers, hence, Tuesday’s introduction of Gmail Voice and Video Chat. In order to enjoy the new video/voice experience you need to first download and install the voice and video plugin. Once you’ve installed the plugin, to start a video chat, just click on the “Video & more” menu at the bottom of your Gmail chat window, and choose “Start video chat.” You’ll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable while it’s ringing, and then you’ll see and hear your friend live, right from within Gmail. You can click the “pop-out” icon to make the video larger, or click the fullscreen icon in the upper left-hand corner for a more lifelike experience. “But what if I don’t have a webcam?” Well, Google knows the right people and is offering a few discounted models through November 30th. Check out the video (up top) for a demonstration.
What’s next? Video chat on your iPhone? We can only hope…
Read More | Gmail Blog
Google just released a free iPhone/iPod Touch version of its popular Google Earth desktop mapping application. The application allows users to fly around the globe with just the swipe of a finger; tilting the unit adjusts your view, zoom in or out by simply pinching your fingers. The new app also integrates geo-located Wikipedia articles – fly to the pyramids, and read all about them, all while riding the bus to work. Check out the video above for a look at the functionality.
First there was drunk dialing – with a virtual Rolodex of both personal and work-related contact information just a keystroke away, it was only a matter of time before Google Labs came up with an idea to combat the latest device of the cocktail-inspired composer: drunk e-mailing. Mail Goggles, a new Gmail feature offered only on weekends between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. was created with the intoxicated in mind. The program requires users who’ve enabled the function to perform five simple math problems within 60 seconds of clicking the send button, just to verify that you’re in the right state of mind – a designated driver on the so-called information superhighway.
Read More | The New York Times