Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Google's Virtual Eye: Expanding "Street View" with In-Home View

Google, the unofficial owner of the Internet, plans to unveil its newest project today, which expands upon its popular Google Maps, Google Satellite, Google Earth, Google Street View, and other related services.

Google In-Home View, tentatively dubbed Google's Virtual Eye, will allow users to type any street address or phone number into the search field and instantly be transported to a screen that shows the interior of the home. The technology uses a new proprietary API developed in conjunction with web cam manufacturers and cell phone developers, and has already undergone extensive secret beta testing.

Virtual Eye will have two options - a Cached View, showing Google's most recent capture of the interior of the home, and an optional Live View which will provide visitors with a Real-Time peek inside the walls of the requested business or residence, using the existing web-cams attached to in-home devices.

The new service is designed to work with all browsers and platforms, including Android, Windows Mobile, iPhone, and the as-yet-unreleased Palm WebOS.

Future plans include synchronizing the system with portable camera-enabled phones to provide Real-Time views of images captured by cell cameras, allowing unfettered and unrestricted access to almost every camera on the planet.

Google does not plan to charge for the service. Watch for the official announcement later today.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google's new (but slightly unpolished) Chrome browser

Tuesday, September 2, 2008, saw the release of a new Web browser from Google.  For reasons unknown, it is called Chrome, and can be downloaded here.  (It appears that, so far, only Windows Vista & XP users may partake.)

Google offers a nice confusing explanation of how it's different from other browsers by using a completely incongruent and unhelpful comic-book tutorial, but I'm afraid that most readers won't understand what on earth they're talking about or why any of it matters.  

The gist:  Chrome handles memory better, and can clear out unnecessary or unused areas of your computer's memory very quickly, which the traditional browsers aren't very good at.  Chrome also isolates individual elements of pages, so that if one starts to act up, it can terminate that one process rather than the traditional browser response of shutting down every instance it can.

Definitely, Chrome needs work.  Full integration with other Google services (like a right-click menu that includes a "send to > Gmail" link) would certainly be nice.  Google also freely admits in its nice little comic book that Chrome won't necessarily work with all Web pages.  And, from what I understand, the history doesn't comunicate well when you're using multiple instances of the program.  However, I trust that the Chrome team at Google will integrate these sorts of things very quickly.

The customizable bookmarks bar is a nice touch, and importation of bookmarks from Internet Explorer was a cinch.  Chrome has tabs, and even has an "incognito mode" - where your browser history doesn't record or track the sites you visit, presumably so that those pesky partners or parents can't tell where you've been or figure out what you've been up to.

While I hope the Google Chrome team soon integrates the other Google services and amalgamates the history settings across multiple instances, I have to admit that after only about two hours using it, I think that I'm already sold.

By the way:  This entry was written using Chrome.

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