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Tag Archives: Google

Take A Virtual Ride On The Trans Siberian Railway Courtesy Of Google And The Russian Railways

Moscow-Vladivostok: virtual journey on Google Maps (Image courtesy Google.ru)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re looking to kill a few hours online, and by a few I mean enough to cover the almost 10,000km route between Moscow and Vladivostok taken by the Trans Siberian Railway, then head on over to Google.ru where they’ve teamed up with the Russian Railways to create a virtual version of the trip.

Not only do you get a small snippet of Google Maps keeping you constantly updated on your current location, but a series of YouTube videos provides an actual view out of a passenger window as well. And if you find the scenery lacking or the trip a bit boring, you can even choose to listen to a small collection of Russian literature along the way including Tolstoy’s War and Peace, which is sure to liven things up and make the trip fly by!

[ Moscow-Vladivostok: virtual journey on Google Maps ] VIA [ FAZED ]

Google Working On Live Speech-To-Speech “Babel Fish” Translator For Smartphones

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By Chris Scott Barr

If you’ve never read The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I’d suggest picking it up. No, watching the movie definitely doesn’t count. One of the coolest ideas (of which there were many) in the book was the Babel Fish. It was a fish that was inserted into your ear, and magically translated any spoken language into one that you would understand. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Yahoo has a text translation service that shares the name.

So why am I babbling about the Babel Fish today? Because it would seem that Google is working on a bit of technology that will work in a similar way (but thankfully without inserting a fish in your ear). Their new speech-to-speech translator will take a person’s words and translate them on-the-fly while on their phone. The software would be installed on the speaker’s end, so that it can adapt over time to the person’s individual voice and speaking patterns, thus resulting in a better translation.

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Google Tablet – The iPad Killer?

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By Gaurav Kheterpal

Even before the buzz around the release of Apple iPad could settle down, Google has set the alarm bells ringing for Apple by releasing the first images of its much anticipated concept – The Google Tablet. Much like the iPad, the Google Tablet will have a sleek and stylish design.

The device will offer innovative features like contextual actions triggered via dwell (What does that even mean? -Ed.), UI Zooming for multiple tabs and an ability to create multiple browsers on the screen. Google has collaborated with a number of leading hardware manufacturers to implement this concept and once it comes to life, it might well turn out to be the iPad killer. Or perhaps this secret Apple project will.

[ The Chromium Project ] VIA [ TechCrunch ]

Google Adds Multitouch To Nexus One

Google Nexus One

By Chris Scott Barr

The Google Nexus One is probably one of the closest things to a real competitor to Apple’s iPhone. Yet it has lacked one of the features that really makes the iPhone stand out amongst most other devices. Yes, I’m talking about multitouch. Why bring this up now? Because thanks to the update released by Google yesterday the Nexus One officially has that one feature it was lacking.

Now owners of the phone will be able to pinch-to-zoom in the browser, gallery and maps applications. It’s good to see someone really challenging Apple in this market, as competition breeds innovation.

In other Nexus One news, Google Maps has been updated so that it will sync starred items with maps.google.com, as well as feed you suggestions from the same site. If you like the dimmer “night mode” that most GPS devices automatically switch to at night, you’ll be happy to know that this feature has now been added to Google Maps Navigation.

[ Google ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Live3D Gives Google Earth Live Updates, Adds Potential For Creepiness

By Evan Ackerman

Google Earth lets you view the entire world. It’s sweet. But most of the time, you’re viewing the entire world as it was a year ago or more. If you’ve played with Google Earth, the first thing you probably did was go find your house. The second thing you probably did was go find your ex-girlfriend’s house and then get really disappointed when you couldn’t actually peek in the windows.

Now you can! (Maybe.)

A project called Live3D, brought to you by the Media and Machines lab of Washington University in St. Louis, takes live webcam images and overlays them on Google Earth. This is something that you could do before, but Live3D makes it fast and easy and integrates the images onto Google Earth’s 3D models. There’s a database of live webcam images, and it’s super easy to add your own via drag ‘n drop tools in Google Earth itself. So as long as there’s a webcam operating in the area, you get a constantly updating view of whatever the webcam sees (in stills, not video yet). Cars driving, people walking, everything, with a level of detail limited only by the resolution of the webcam.

Of course, this brings up all kinds of potential privacy issues, since you can set a webcam up wherever you want and have it pointed wherever you want and make the image accessible on Google Earth. People have always been able to do this, but somehow when it’s easy, it tends to become a problem.

[ Live3D ] VIA [ New Scientist ]

Google Voice Finally On iPhone But Without Apple’s Consent

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By Gaurav Kheterpal

There is some good news – Google Voice is finally available on the iPhone. However, the bad news is that it runs on your iPhone’s browser and not as a native application. Google has been trying hard to convince Apple to allow Google Voice on iPhone but, no dice.

Google then simply decided to take the matter into its own hands and developed a web version which can be accessed by any HTML browser running on the iPhone. It is recommended to add shortcuts to your home screen for the most important features such as Dialer, Compose SMS, Inbox and Contacts. Something is better than nothing and Google Voice running on the browser is certainly better than no Google Voice on your iPhone.

[ Google Voice ] VIA [ CSMonitor ]

Google Brings Free Wi-Fi To Airports For The Holidays

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By Chris Scott Barr

Traveling during the holiday season isn’t always the most fun. With crowded airports and the risk of getting snowed in, many people will do their best to steer clear of flying when possible. Of course, if your loved ones are on the other side of the country, you don’t have much of a choice. Thankfully if you do get stuck in an airport this season, one company is making sure that at the very least, you’ll have internet access.

Google has announced that they are making free Wi-Fi available in 47 airports across the US. You can click here for the full list of covered locations. Google isn’t rolling out some sort of new wireless service, but instead paying the service providers to allow everyone free access. They are also matching donations made while at the airports (using Google Checkout) up to $250k. The contributions will go to your choice of charitable organizations. Also if you’re in one of these locations after November 16, you can submit a photo of yourself for a chance to win a number of different (and unnamed) prizes.

[ FreeHolidayWiFi ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Google Announces Free Turn-By-Turn Navigation Software

By Chris Scott Barr

Just yesterday I was commending Google for something as seemingly trivial as changing the way we check our voicemail. Today there is something far more significant coming from the company. As if we needed another reason not to spend a fortune on TomTom’s iPhone app and kit, Google has announced their new navigation software called Google Maps Navigation.

Imagine having traditional turn-by-turn navigation GPS functionality combined with Google Maps. That is essentially what you will be getting with Google Maps Navigation. This means not only will you have things like voice guidance and automatic rerouting, but a host of other awesome features. Hit the jump for seven that Google seemed most proud of.

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Google Voice Can Now Interact With Voicemails From Your Current Cell Phone Number

By Chris Scott Barr

Google is one of those companies that seems to always be working on something awesome. I’m a huge fan of Google Voice, as it really simplifies my life. Well if you’re one of the lucky people that have gotten into the beta, they have added yet a new feature. You can now have Google handle the voicemails from your personal cell phone number.

Despite the fact that I have a Google Voice number, people still call my actual cell phone number. This means that I have two different places to check my voicemail. Now Google can actually take control of your voicemail, and adding all of the same great features that you get on your Google Voice account. Things like custom greetings based on who’s calling and transcribed voicemails make it worth while. Now if I could just get a real Google Voice app on the iPhone (I’m looking at you Apple) it would be perfect.

[ Google Voice ]