Google talk

google talkThe Google empire has released yet another (Beta) service which this time is an instant messenger network and client Google Talk.
While their standard is to release ground shaking services (GMail, Google Earth, desktop search and more) this time I have yet to feel the rumble.
Google talk is a lean instant messaging (IM) client that supports high quality voice chats. It also notifies the user of any new Gail messages and there is a short cut to send Gail emails. But that’s it!
You have to have a Gail account to be able to use Google Talk. I have plenty invitations to spare so leave a comment if you need one.
Once again the client is Windows only but since Google talk is “built to support industry standards” you can use compatible clients on other operating systems:
OSX – iChat
Linux – GAIM
Windows – Trillian Pro
The “industry standards” is the Jabber/XMPP protocol and it let’s other clients play with Google Talk network in an authorised way.
This one subtle detail that most users will not notice nor understand makes Google Talk special. It is a stab at the established messengers (MSN, AIM, Yahoo, ICQ) to show them how to play fair with Internet users.
Rumours are many in the blogosphere regarding the potential and future of Google Talk. Will it be the preferred client on the future Google Network? Will it allow searching all chat history similar to GMail search? Will it record all voice conversations, and allow searching? What will be the revenue stream(s)?
I just hope that the original Google motto “Don’t be evil-TM” will not be replaced by the new corporate “Must Make Money” motto.

Easter eggs:
Add [email protected] to your buddy list and send it a text message of “play” to play the old school game Hunt the Wumpus.
Create bold text by using * and italics by using underscore (_)

Google Maps and Google Local finally local to UK

Google have extended their brilliant Maps and Local services to the UK. Until now I have only been using it to see how good online services can be. Now I can use it daily to find addresses, get directions and find services (plumbing especially) in London and UK.
Google Maps is a very intuitive way to present maps. Easy zooming, powerful search and smart dHTML like moving the map around are my favourite features. Wonder if Google plans to add satellite images like they do with the US maps.
Google Local combines Google maps with a local directory of services, restaurants, theaters and much much more. Until now I have been using UpMyStreet and it will be interesting to see how well Google Local performs compared with them.
googlemobile.gifLast but not least, see if Google Local Mobile works with your mobile. It should if it supports XHTML (i.e. not older than 2004).
Having access to free maps, directions and local directory from your mobile is just priceless.
PS The SonyEricsson T610/T630 has problems with the mobile version. Firefox has problems as well, use Internet Explorer if you want to try it from your desktop.
Currently the Yell footer has a bug (omitted quotes in href) which creates a XML parsing error and only sloppy IE can display the results. Stay tuned, should not take long to fix this.

Update May 10th
The error has been fixed. I doubt it was due to the email I sent to Google support (I did get a reply though) but instead due to the official launch of Google Local UK Mobile (GLUM). Have a go!

Giving credit

For some of the features on this web I have been inspired by others. Sometimes I have used code developed by others and sometimes images supplied by others.
This is where I would like to thank those individuals.
SixApart: For developing an excellent (and free) self publishing application; Movable Type
Moopet: For the blogging bug and the Lightsaber image
Scriptygoddess: For scripting bits and bops and most recently help on how to dirify with PHP
Google: For their API and translation tools
KnowProSe: For an elegant translation solution
Eliot: MTRefSearch
Just Like a Dream: Giving credit
shari: slidingonrainbows bkr pattern
Thank you all and keep on trucking!

Google your unit conversions

Google just doesn’t stop delivering the goods. New features I discovered recently and would like to share: unit conversions and updated toolbar.
Did you know you can type in your conversion right into the search box and Google will return the answer instead of searching for pages. Some examples would be

  • 50 * 73
  • 40 celsius in Fahrenheit
  • 90 kilograms in stones
  • 5 square inches in square centimeters
  • (G * mass of earth) / (radius of earth ^ 2)
  • half a cup in teaspoons

Toolbar 2.0
In addition to the previous functionality of searching without going to Google page and highlighting the toolbar provides pop-up blocking, auto filling of forms.
Get it here!
Full list of Google features
Update August 10th, 2005
Google recently added currency conversion to their serch. As always with Google the feature is very intuitive. Try any of the following:
73 british pounds in euros
430 USD in SEK