Google takes apps out of the browser

This week Google released an update to Chrome that made searching from a new tab faster.

Yeah….but where are my apps?

The thing is, I launch new tabs to quickly access my chrome apps and the update moved this a click further away.

Yeah, I know..first world problem.

The “app” tab is still there, but I haven’t yet found a setting that makes it default for new tabs.

Instead, I’ve now installed the chrome app launcher onto my windows taskbar, which allows you to fire up those apps even without the chrome browser being open.

That’s better.


5 Great Google Glass videos

Now that Google Glass are out in the wild being tested we’re getting closer to a consumer launch, so here are a selection of videos to help you decide if this is a great innovation or just a gimmick.

Riding a Rollercoaster with Google Glass….luckily they didn’t fall off

The Washington Post team get to play around with an explorer set

Searching with Google Glass

UBER GEEK SPECIAL! Touring the Large Hadron Collider with Google Glass.

And there will always be parodies…

Want to see more?

I’ve created a YouTube playlist with a growing selection Project Glass videos for you to peruse.


Project Niantic/Ingress – why is Google commissioning a game?

Ingress LogoA few weeks ago Project Niantic surfaced via a few YouTube videos, mostly seeded by Google employees. Soon the web started to speculate what the point of the project was.

Last week, the project was unveiled as an Augmented Reality (AR) game called Ingress, that currently only works on Android devices.

To support the mystique, the game remains invitation only and the those invites are as rare as rocking horse poo.

There’s plenty of demand for them too. I had an invited so posted it to twitter to see if any of my followers wanted one. I received half a dozen replies from complete strangers in minutes.

So what’s the game like?

It’s pretty slick when you get going and the sound effects are pretty impressive. The tutorial takes a fair amount of time and I personally found the   whole thing about portals, resonators, links and fields a little confusing for a while.

Now I’m through the intro I’m at a little loss since I don’t live in a built up area and there are no portals nearby. So, there are two things to do:
1. Submit a portal; as per the instructions here
2. Wait until I’m in London next and see if I can explore this further.

So what’s this all about?

While I’m sure the game is a great way to demonstrate Google Maps, while making an android device feel exclusive. The main reason must be to support the growth of the Field Trip app, also developed by Niantic Labs @ Google.

The Field Trip app provides AR overlays onto real world monuments and is currently only available in the US. It’s a great idea, but the Niantic team needs a way to identify relevant monuments and prioritise their importance. To that end it feels like Ingress if a great way of gamifying a crowd-sourced project to fuel Field Trip.

Field Trip - Android App


What do you think? Am I missing the bigger picture here? Is there really a new energy source out there we must contain :-)




Google+. Screaming out for a circle management tool

So, I’m really hooked on Google+.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t have the reach of Facebook, or the simplicity of Twitter, but I like the complete package, especially the mobile and tablet apps.

However, I really am frustrated with Circles.SAScon Google+ circle

When the platform launched over a year ago, I dived in and created lots of circles, that I thought I would need, with my own random taxonomy.

So how many of those circles do I fire bespoke posts at?


Apart from “public” I send the occasional post to a “Latitude” circle, and personal thoughts and photos to my “family” circle. That’s it. So why do I have 18 circles?

I basically got it wrong. When I first signed up, I created these groups like lists in twitter so I could choose to filter my feed according to the kind of news/information I wanted to see. In reality G+ does a poor job of letting to view multiple feeds…you can’t event set a home page feed other than “all”.

The real aim of circles is for the user to post differing content to different audiences so my family don’t see a load of industry speak, and my peers don’t see pictures of me hanging out with the family at Disney World.

So all my circles are wrong. What I really need are just a few circles:Industry, SAScon,  and non-industry. the problem is it’s a real pain to go and create these groups again now I have a few hundred people in circles.

Somebody needs to create a circle management tool that allows me to duplicate, merge and split other circles. I understand the Google+ API is a bit limited in this respect and, so far, very few third parties are supplying apps for the platform. This guy already had a go at it until he got shut down

Google’s acquisition of Katango hints at Google’s plans to deliver this functionality themselves, but I’m sure it falls into a queue with a lot of other funky functionality.

I was recently in Mountain View (here’s the photo to prove it) and there were discussion about G+ rolling out a new desktop iteration everyday and moving more into LinkedIn space first, so we might not see it for a while yet.

So…do you like Circles and am I just talking rubbish?


Less blogging more “plusing”

It’s been quite a while since I managed to update my blog, mainly because I’m finding most of my comments making their way onto Google+ these days.

Because there aren’t the character limits of Twitter, and I have Google+ as one of my start-up tabs in chrome, I find it much simpler to drop a short thought, with a link and/or image, onto Google’s social network.

And it’s not just WordPress that I’m neglecting. Since I started using G+, I’m finding a heavy overlap with my Twitter audience and there’s currently less noise on Google’s network. Therefore I can read and circulate as much industry news on G+. To its credit, Twitter will commands a larger more attentive audience so big news breaks faster on that network than any other.

Due to the visual nature of G+, and the fact I use an android phone with smooth photo-sharing options I’m also posting fewer photos onto Flickr. I used to love  Flickr, but now that it operates linke an island outside of all the other social networks I have little reason to visit it now.

…and then there’s facebook. I tend to limit my facebook contacts to family and friends (loosely defined as people I’ve drunk with) rather than industry peers (there’s obviously some overlap) and those people generally aren’t on Google+ yet, despite being users of Google’s other services. My Dad is one exception.

So…is Google+ a credible network? I definitely think so, but for now it’s still biased towards industry types.