FEB 9
2009
Gmail just keeps getting better and better. Some time back, I noticed that Google added the ability to view PDF attachments right in your browser (they are converted into HTML pages). Since launching Acrobat is always a pain, I love that feature.

Today I noticed that if somebody sends you an mp3 attachment, you can play it straight from Gmail without downloading and launching an external media player... very cool!

tags: google gmail
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SEP 3
2008
Google Chrome was released yesterday. This puts to rest any debate in my mind as to whether Google was slowing down!

I love every aspect of their approach to this project. They've published a great comic book that explains everything you'd want to know about Google Chrome in a very entertaining and easy-to-read way. The comic provides details on all of the cool technological innovations (one process per tab, optimized Javascript engine, etc.) along with an explanation for what led Google's engineers to do this work in the first place.

As for the browser, I've been using it for a day now. I love the fresh UI. Putting the tabs on top makes great sense. The "incognito" privacy mode is a simple and awesome idea. Highlighting the "http" in green and the main domain name in dark black in the address bar is really nice. And the performance is lightning quick.

But I won't be ditching Firefox for it any time soon. First, I depend daily on so many useful Firefox add-ons that I can't possibly imagine leaving them behind. Second, Chrome is only available on Windows. One thing I love about Firefox is that it is pretty much the same on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Hopefully Google will get its wish and Firefox will copy some of their ideas into a future release of Firefox!

tags: google
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DEC 28
2007
Google Chart API: It's incredible. Great example of a web service that fills a very useful need, is really simple to use (but would be hard to implement yourself), and produces beautiful results. Does Google have to single-handedly do everything to make the web a better place?!
tags: google
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DEC 7
2007
Jott Links: This is cool. Call a toll free phone number, say something like "Google Calendar: lunch tomorrow with Joe 12:30pm", and it appears on your Google Calendar. I just tried it out, works great!
tags: jott google
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SEP 25
2007
Google Checkout just gets better and better... I just ordered something and when I went to check out on the merchant's site, I was quoted a shipping rate of $14. Not wanting to create an account on their system, I was happy to see the Google Checkout button. Upon arriving at the Google Checkout page, the order details listed "Shipping & Handling (Google Checkout FedEx Rates) - $9.75". Sweet!
tags: google
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AUG 16
2007
I've felt for some time now that enterprises of all sizes can benefit by outsourcing many of their information technology needs to Internet-based services. The rise of powerful web-based applications shows that this vision is within the realm of possibility. Using Google as just one example, their mail and calendar applications seem quite capable of meeting the enterprise's needs--at a much reduced cost.

An article from Sun entitled Preparing for the End of IT as We Know It makes the case much more eloquently than I could have: "We at Sun have concluded that the time is fast approaching when competitive enterprises will move to a model where they run secure, network-based services instead of their own applications, datacenters, and networks."

(Thanks to Mathew Eszenyi for the link!)

tags: sun google
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JUN 4
2007
I've been playing around with Google Maps Street View and I just love it. If you haven't tried it yet, test drive it using this Manhattan map. Amazon A9 had something similar a few years back, but the Google Maps implementation is much nicer with a clean, intuitive user interface and snappy performance. With the recent additions of personalized maps, traffic, and now street-side images, Google Maps just keeps getting better and better!

I wish I could say the same for the Google online applications like spreadsheet and word processing. Lately, sites like Zoho are doing a much better job. Check out how spreadsheets look in Zoho - very impressive!

tags: google zoho web2.0
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MAY 23
2007
Here are some interesting Google Maps mashups (courtesy of Wired magazine)... they make me want to design one!


tags: google
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JUL 30
2006
I just found a bug in Google's Calculator: The query "1 kbps in bps" does not yield the correct answer of 1000 bps. The incorrect answer, 1024 bps, normally would be correct for computing in general, but it is not correct for networking. For whatever reason, network equipment manufacturers, much like hard drive manufacturers, use the normal SI definitions. I sent feedback to Google's customer support, we'll see what they say...
tags: google
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JUL 12
2006
I recently applied for (and was accepted) into Google's Gmail for your domain beta. I was fed up with keeping my spam defense systems up-to-date, always having to patch the mail software (postfix, amavisd, spamassassin, etc.), network outages, running out of disk space on the mail queue, etc. Mail is simply too critical an application for me, so I decided to let Google run it.

I finally got around to switching over my DNS mail records today, so now all of my email for prestonhunt.com is being handled by Google. So far, I'm really impressed with their service. I think it will be an obvious choice for small and medium sized businesses (and maybe even some large ones!) to outsource their email to Google -- it's a very capable system, with a slick administration panel, and (of course) it goes without saying that the service uptime, reliability, data backup, etc., will all be excellent. And with Google's engineers and servers running everything, a company would not need to waste valuable IT resources providing email service. Or paying for expensive Exchange and Outlook licenses.

tags: google mail
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DEC 10
2005
Google Transit is awesome. And the debut city is Portland! According to the FAQ, this is because Tri-met has a really good backend database already (which is evident if you use the Tri-met Trip Planner.

Like all Google services, Google Transit is currently in "beta" status. Unlike most other Google services, it really is beta quality: I've run into quite a few bugs, and the Tri-met trip planner gives faster/more accurate trips. But the user interface is truly excellent and intuitive. It will definitely become my default public transportation trip planner once they tweak it so the routes are as good (or better) than Tri-met's.

On a side note, the cost "savings" versus driving that they cite really irk me. I think it's very misleading. The basic costs of owning a car are sunk costs for me: My car is paid for and I have to pay the insurance no matter how much I drive. So the real cost is really just the gas and wear and tear, which comes to anywhere between $2-4 depending on how you calculate it. Taking Tri-met to work currently costs $3.60 roundtrip, and will be going up to somewhere between $3.80 and $4.00 next month. So I think if you already own a car, then public transportation is actually more expensive... of course, the real benefit is not having to deal with the time and hassle of heavy traffic.

tags: google
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AUG 26
2005
I just installed Google Talk, but I don't have anybody else to talk to on it :-( Give me a holler if you're playing around with it and let's test it out! Seems like it might be a while before it replaces Gaim or Trillian.
tags: google
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JUN 18
2005
I read about Google Public Site Search over on James's blog and decided that I too had had enough with Atomz. Atomz was good in its day, but their ad-dominated re-design, limit on the number of pages they will index, and older-style search algorithm are no match for the Google juggernaut.
tags: google
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DEC 10
2004
Google has done it again. Check out Google Suggest.
tags: google
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DEC 10
2004
Cool. I'm on Google Scholar.
tags: google
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SEP 25
2004
I just discovered two cool new features of Gmail - arbitrary periods and automatic aliases.
tags: google
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JUL 1
2004
I finally have a Google Mail account, and it is everything that I dreamed it would be and more! Highly recommended. I have basically switched all of my non-work e-mail over to it (at work I use Outlook 2003). Unfortunately, GMail accounts are only available by invitation right now (they periodically dole out invitations to existing members to give to their friends). If you are interested in one, contact me and I will send you an invitation to join if/when Google gives out more.
tags: google
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