Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Picasa Desktop adds Facial Recognition and Tagging with 3.5

Posted on September 22nd, 2009 |

Google has finally brought the facial recognition feature that is enjoyed by the Picasa Web Album users to the desktop. Version 3.5 released today also includes geotagging of images so you can now quickly find those pictures of your best man passed out in Vegas on demand.

No Comments » | Categories: Google, software, web

Picasa Will Not Export Videos

Posted on September 13th, 2009 |

I’ve been putting up with an annoying problem in Picasa on my main system for too long and finally decided to try and fix it. The system would play fine but when trying to export videos Picasa would just hang at 0.0% on the encoding/saving process. I was quite certain this was tied to the TVersity Codec Pack yet uninstalling TVersity and it’s pack didn’t solve the problem.

Time to turn to the trusty CCCP. I installed The Combined Community Codec Pack using all the defaults for the install and the configuration afterwards. Fired up Picasa, tried an export and it immediately started working.

2 Comments » | Categories: computers, Google, technology

googleDrive – Drive Around Any City In The World via Google Maps

Posted on May 28th, 2008 |

I happened across this while checking out Tippingpoint’s DVLabs Blog. googleDrive allows you to drive a miniature car through Google Maps. googleDrive is some JavaScript magic done by Samuel Birch who runs phatfusion , a site with some great plugins for the mootools JavaScript toolkit. It actually forces you to stay on all the roads as you move your vehicle around the map.

It’s fun just to move around in a big city or try tracing your route to and from work. He’s also working on a racing version of the application using the sattelite view and a dedicated circuit track in some major metro areas.

Give it a spin.

No Comments » | Categories: Google

Fixing Google Browser Sync issues in Firefox

Posted on February 25th, 2008 |

I’ve been a user of Google’s Browser Sync utility for almost two years. It works seamlessly in the background making sure my cookies and bookmarks are all exactly the same on each of the three computers I frequently use. A few weeks ago I ran into an issue where one of the machines had duplicate bookmark items. I was worried about what would happen if I tried deleting these items from the one machine they were duplicated on. Finally a week ago I decided it was time to clean up these dupes. I exported the current bookmarks and spent an hour deleting duplicates and re-arranging items. The next morning when I switched computers I see that Google had removed all the folders that I was cleaning up from the first computer. This machine didn’t have the duplicate problem so it actually deleted valid bookmarks, then proceeded to replicate back to my other two computers. I lost about half of my bookmarks because of this. I tried to import the backup I had and clean things again yet it only made the problem worse. It was time for drastic measures.

I exported the bookmarks from each of my machines and even found a few old backups I had. This can be done from the Bookmarks Manager, File, Export. I had a total of 5 bookmark.html files. Now I proceeded to delete every bookmark on my laptop through Bookmarks Manager and forcing a Full Refresh from the Browser Sync settings.

I then did the same to the other two machines I had browser sync running on. It took a good few minutes for each of the browsers to fully sync. Now closing the browser on the other two machines I returned to the laptop and imported each of the 5 bookmark backup files and spent another hour cleaning them up. Once I had the bookmarks to my liking I immediately backed them up yet again before forcing another full sync. This sync took about 7-10 minutes to update. Once the update was done I forced full syncs on the other two computers and everything looked normal. It’s been a full day now and so far so good.

No Comments » | Categories: Google, technology

Why Google really bought GrandCentral

Posted on August 29th, 2007 |

Some have questioned why Google would have purchased GrandCentral, the phone number consolidator. GrandCentral at face value looks to be a convenient way to combine multiple physical telephone devices into one central contact number. You have the option to add several phone numbers to your account such as a home, a business, and a mobile telephone number which then tie back to your GrandCentral phone number. You have options such as find-me, follow me, ring all phones, and direct to a specific device based on incoming caller (family goes to the cell, unknowns go to voice mail).

Essentially you get a lot of the features of a PBX (private branch exchange, or corporate phone system) all in a nice friendly browser interface for much less than a home phone system. But the real question is why would Google take enough interest in acquiring such technology? My theory revolves around GoogleTalk and the rumored GPhone. Step one is incorporating GTalk’s VoIP technology into GrandCentral. Now not only can you route your single phone number to multiple devices on the public phone network, but you can also have it call your computer where you can converse through the PC. Now that may sound like a pain for the average computer user who would rather grab their telephone handset instead of using the pc with a microphone and headset but it would be great for the traveling user who has a laptop or mobile phone that can run a voice over IP client.

Which now brings us back to the GPhone. If Google does release a phone to compete in the current market they can now add the functionality of GTalk and make it a key calling function on the phone. You would be able to accept calls to your single phone number on your GPhone as if they called the mobile phone directly. Now you may still think “why would I care, I’ll just give out my mobile number to people I want calling it”. This is a very valid point in the current market where the carriers have all the power and can dictate what you can and cannot do with your phone. They will still charge you minutes used weather you use your mobile device as a telephone or an Internet connected data device.

But if Google acquires a fraction of the 700 MHz spectrum that goes up for auction next year when the TV stations are all required to broadcast in the HD spectrum then Google can build a wireless data network by leasing broadcast towers from TV stations who are already wondering how to pay for the expensive HD broadcast and camera upgrades. This would allow them to build a low cost, possibly ad supported network that would be cheap, if not free, for users to connect to. This spectrum would allow Google to use the GPhone as an extension to a GrandCentral account and allow you the intelligent telephone routing that no carrier has been able to come up with yet at a fraction of the cost of current mobile carrier rates. On top of having a phone that only takes calls you want to receive, you’d have a phone with enough wireless bandwidth that not only could it be your telephone, but also capture photos and video with direct linking to Youtube or Picasa online, but act as a home broadband modem for the rural areas who so desperately desire a fast internet connection.

This may be nothing more than hopeful speculation but I do hope Google has the insight I believe them to and begin the next great information revolution for a generation who finds themselves more and more connected.

1 Comment » | Categories: Google, technology