Tag Archives: Google

Plazes meets Google Earth

Over at the Plazes blog, there’s a cool post entitled Plazes + Google Earth

My favourite location-awareness application (aside from Sametime 7.5) now enables you to use Google Earth to browse the location data. So, for instance, if you were to look at it right now – this second – you’d see my head hovering over a hotel somewhere north of Regents Park. Very cool.

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Google integrates its webapps

In case you missed it: Google has brought Writely into the fold by integrating it with Google Spreadsheets (here’s my earlier mini-review of Spreadsheets). The result is Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

NB the old Writely URL www.writely.com now redirects to docs.google.com.

Logging in with your Google account leads to a welcome screen. An interesting aspect of the screen is that in the bar at the top you can just see the links to Google, Gmail, Calendar and Photos (i.e. Picasa), so they are increasingly bringing all of their services together.

welcome

I thought I’d try creating a new document. That was trivial. Clicking New Document produced an editor screen. The editor itself is very usable, even down to the “standard” keyboard shortcuts working within the editor within the browser. The File drop-down menu provides options to save locally in a variety of formats, including PDF… I tried this and it offered me a PDF download version of the document, which was exactly what I’d typed on-screen.

editor

Next, I saved the document. I was curious to see how it would cope with importing a Word document, so I uploaded a trivial example. I was never a Writely user, so had no idea of what to expect. It worked fine, although I didn’t test out any of the more advanced features of Word. It looks like GD&S can support a range of document types including OO.o and HTML. It also supports uploading via e-mail, which I didn’t test.

upload

There’s a nice, simple list view from which you can open and edit documents.

mydocs

One interesting surprise was that Google allows you to publish the documents – either to the web via google.com URL, or to your blog. I tried the latter option. I configured GD&S to know about my blog, and then hit the Post to blog button – results here. I can’t see this displacing my normal blogging client, but it is a neat feature and “just works”.

publish

Finally, I took a look back at Spreadsheets, which I haven’t had cause to use since my original mini-review. Nothing much has changed.

spreadsheet

Other features that I didn’t try out were the Collaborate and Discuss tabs on the UI.

Overall, it is a pleasant experience. I think there’s a change of mindset required to move across to working with all my documents online, and there are clearly privacy / confidentiality issues for corporates. However, the interface is simple, consumable, and smooth. I’m impressed – but I’m not sure that it will become a central part of my computing experience.

Hello World, testing Google Documents

Hello World, this is a test of Google Documents.
You can have different styles and fonts (although only a limited range of fonts).
There are keyboard shortcuts like ctrl-B for Bold.

this is a quotation

Very interesting!
I can save as OO.org, Word, PDF, RTF, HTML.

(NB full post on the way…)

New Google Blog Ping

Reviewing the announcements from the Google Blog last week, I came across a note about their new blog pinging service. This post is to see whether Windows Live Writer will work with it “out-of-the-box”.

Update: I tried configuring the ping URL in Tools -> Preferences to be http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 and my URL does indeed appear in the changes feed (for the past 5 minutes), so I assume that worked. Just add that Google URL to the list of pingable endpoints in WLW.

Google makes Talk better

Google Talk has just been upgraded to add file transfer, music trends, voicemail and buddy icons – basically it is catching up with a number of the other instant messaging offerings. They also have a “chat theme” feature which allows you to customise how the chat window displays the chat (with or without buddy icon, with or without dividers or chat bubbles, etc.). It is not quite as simple as it was when it was launched, but the interface is still clean and tidy. The upgrade was really neat, it didn’t force me to download a new binary, I just clicked Check for Updates Now on the popup menu, and it upgraded itself silently.

I admit that I haven’t used Talk much, but I’ll try to log on to it more often and give it a try. There’s a Google Talk Blog which you can follow if you are interested – in fact it turns out that there are blogs for pretty much all of the Google offerings..

In other IM news, I’m now running one of the release candidates of IBM Sametime 7.5 on my work laptop, and it is really good 🙂 Not long to wait before the release, now…

Update: Sametime 7.5 is available early – great news!  More here and here. The full release is next week.

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