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
The T-Mobile G1 arrives later this month (October 22, to be exact), and the peeps over at TMo News have already got their hands on one, all boxed up. The next logical step was to snap images of the unboxing process, which they’ve done swimmingly. If you want to see what all is included in the package, now’s your chance. Hey, it comes with a carrying pouch, isn’t that enough of a reason to click over?
Read More | TMo News
If you are curious about how Google services will work on the Android platform, Eric from Google is here to give us a look. Google products like search, maps, YouTube, Gmail, contacts, calendar, and Google Talk are all included in the Android operating system used by the T-Mobile G1. Basically, you sign in to your Google account once, and all your information syncs to the web. Any changes made on the web sync back to your phone. It’s like a free version of MobileMe - yeah, I said it. Check out the video above for a walkthrough of Google features on the G1.
This morning, T-Mobile and Google held the press conference to announce the first phone to officially launch with the Android OS, the T-Mobile G1. You are going to hear a lot of people comparing this one to the iPhone, so let’s jump in to the feature set. The G1 sports 3G, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera, is based on a fully open-source OS. The Android OS gives you access to the Android Market (think of that as being similar to the App Store), as well as built-in support for Amazon’s MP3 store, for downloading music on the go. Even cooler, in our opinion, are the things that are real firsts in the mobile phone space - Push Gmail, and Google Maps with Street View.
You can pick up the T-Mobile G1 on October 22, at a nice price of $179.99 with a 2-year agreement. If you can’t wait to spend the cash, you can even pre-order one now at the G1 website. If you are over in the UK, it’s yours in November, while the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and Czech Republic will have to wait until sometime in the first quarter of 2009.
Read More | T-Mobile G1 product page
Google announced today that it is launching its new beta browser, named Chrome. Available in more than 100 countries supposedly tomorrow, so far it is only for those with Microsoft Windows. (The company says it is still working on the Mac and Linux versions.) Google’s official blog almost apologized for their comic that discussed the joys of their new browser, saying that they tend to “launch early and iterate” and that the mailroom was a bit hasty letting it out. Be that as it may, it took us long enough to get used to Firefox, so we think we will let the hardcores try it first.
Read More | MSNBC
The Metropolitan Police in London have created a computer crime-mapping beta website. With it, users can find local cops, report a crime, and learn about crime prevention, victim support, and details of their local baddies. The Google mapping system also allows for detailed information on number, rate, and other crime figures by zeroing in on specific neighborhoods with a postal code search. While this sounds all well and good on
sight, pity those who find out that their own neighborhood is a red zone.
Read More | Metropolitan Police
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