Some very interesting tidbits floating around the open-source web today:OStatic gets a scoop on Eucalyptus, an open-source version of Amazon's EC2. I'm not sure if this means you still have to build your own data center, or whether it leverages EC2 as the backend, because I'm a little lacking in funds to be able to build out my own "cloud." (Kudos to OStatic for becoming a useful, productive member of the open-source blogging community. I read it every day.) Yahoo! has opened up the API to its address book, allowing developers to do things like "start up a social networking site...[by using] the interface to send invitations to a member's list of contacts stored at Yahoo." Cool. The web continues to open up, one interface at a time.… Read more
I've been an outspoken critic of Google over the years, admiring some of its products (Search, SMS, News, etc.) while deriding its relationship to open source and deprecating most of its products.
There appears to be, however, a new Google afoot, and it's one that I like quite a bit. Google may need to change its slogan from "Don't be evil" to "Be open," as this looks to be the direction it is going. At Google I/O today, Google announced a few things that make me feel like the future of the web is much safer in its hands than in Microsoft's (if Microsoft ever figures out the web at all).
Indeed, Google's Gears Engineer Aaron Boodman writes that Gears "aims to bring emerging web standards to as many devices as possible, as quickly as possible."
More open, much sooner.
In Google's increasingly open world, Steve Ballmer's insistence that Vista "is not a failure and it's not a mistake" speaks to the wrong questions surrounding the much maligned operating system. What he should be protesting is that "It's not irrelevant."… Read more
Google has released a Google Maps application program interface that enables developers to use the mapping software in applications that use Adobe Systems' Flash technology.
"We've designed it so that Flash graphics can be used for each tile layer, marker, and info window," a n announcement by Google Maps engineer Mike Jones read, "opening up possibilities like dynamic shading, shadowing, animation, and video."
Earlier this week, Google Maps added a feature to let users see what photos, videos, and user-created maps have been associated with various places around the world.
BURLINGAME, Calif.--Google added a new element to its search interface that will let others' Web sites use geographically linked information.
The company has opened up outside access to its Geo Search API (application programming interface), said John Hanke, head of Google Earth and Google Maps, at the Where 2.0 conference here Tuesday. That means other Web sites incorporating Google Maps will be able to find geographic features that are in Google's database but that previously were visible only through Google's own map site.
Google previously shared only some geographic data through its search API: businesses within … Read more
Mobile app maker Frengo is now making apps for popular social networks (Facebook, Hi5, etc.) that allow connections between networks. The Flirtable app, for example, allows users on one social network to flirt with users on another. The Lolz app, likewise, lets users share LOLcat images (sadly, not very funny ones) across networks.
Frengo is using OpenSocial as a standard for building the apps, but OpenSocial doesn't address friend portability or cross-network messaging. Frengo is building that capability into its widgets so that a user on a smaller network who adds one of its apps will join the ad-hoc … Read more
For something so focused on navigation and geography, it's a bit ironic that location-based social networks have to work their way through such a jungle: carrier partnerships, handset compatibility, creepy privacy concerns, and what-have-you. But one small New York start-up, Socialight, says it's found a route: developers, developers, developers.
Socialight, which focuses on user-created city maps and whose founders insist that location-based mobile services can have functions other than stalking your friends, announced Wednesday that it has opened its application program interface (API). This will let developers mesh Socialight into applications for mobile platforms like Apple's iPhone, … Read more
Founded to two MIT Media Lab alums, The Echo Nest is focused on what it calls "music intelligence." The company is developing software technology that can analyze the sounds within music files, text within online articles and blog postings about music, and other online data (such as songs being downloaded in a particular week). It will then license this technology to developers--commercial and non-commercial--to help them create a whole new class of music software and Web applications.
It's possible to imagine hundreds of possibilities. A music company could build an application to identify current trends in order … Read more
Hitwise released research this week reporting that Twitter had a nice relative growth spurt this year. The key word is relative. The site grew from a market share of a whopping 0.0005 percent (U.S. Internet visits to Twitter.com) to 0.0016 percent in April. That places the Twitter.com site at number 439 on the list of social networks. I'll bet if you try to name the 438 social nets above Twitter you'll run out of gas well before you hit 50.
You've got to start somewhere, though, so I don't quite understand … Read more
Google has built its Street View into Google Maps' ability to provide driving directions, the company said Tuesday.
With the feature, a small camera icon appears next to the intersections in the turn-by-turn directions. Clicking on the icon brings up a view of the intersection so people can see the area in question.
Google Street View is available in 44 areas of the United States, and there are strong signs Google is bringing Street View to Europe. Street View is available through the Google Maps programming interface so that those using Google Maps can add Street View abilities to their … Read more
I have written unkindly in the past about Redzee, a search engine with a too-cute-by half search results page. But I like the new visual search experiment Viewzi, which brings more variations to search interfaces.
Viewzi gives you different options to visualize search results. There is one that's very much like Redzee (and Apple Cover Flow). Its design is a little less frenetic, though, so it's easier to get a picture of your search results. In a way, Viewzi validates the Redzee concept by making visual search usable.
My favorite Viewzi view is the 4 Sources View, which … Read more