Even in the Web 2.0 universe, a literally two-dimensional concept can give way to a cult classic, provided it contains a compelling kernel of originality and ways to brand the finished product as your own. The sledding game "Line Rider" humbly began as an online Flash game in which a boy sledded down a track of your design, but it quickly garnered fans who created fantastically creative tracks across which the rider dramatically tumbles and swoops.
Google on Thursday released an application called My Tracks that turns the T-Mobile G1 Android phone into a full-fledged GPS receiver.
The free software can record tracks showing where you've been, display them on a map, show elevation gains and losses, and share data with various online services.
As a geography buff, I have to confess that this one of the first applications that actually got me excited. I carry a Garmin standalone GPS device so I can geotag my photos and keep track of my trips, but My Tracks one-ups it in several ways.
For one thing, it's a phone and therefore much more likely to be toted at all times, not just on dedicated occasions. But more important, it's an Internet-enabled device, which means it shows my position on Google Maps--either map mode or satellite image mode, not just the feeble and expensive Garmin Maps--as long as it can find the Internet. Track data can be saved not just as a GPX file, but also uploaded and shared with Google Maps. And statistics can be uploaded into Google Docs spreadsheets or even Twittered (for example using the Twidroid application). … Read more
I am a big, big fan of tools that monitor the Web. Some of my favorites include Google Alerts which I use to track where our stories show up, AreMySitesUp, which I use to keep an eye on Web site uptime, and PriceProtectr which watches for drops and increases from various retailers. Trackle, a service that's coming out of private beta on Tuesday, is hoping to replace all three--and many others--by corralling all of these various alerts into one, large in-box. Is it a keeper? I think so.
On a recent trip to Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., I got a quick peek at one of the test rooms Google uses to track user interactions with its products. Gmail's product manager Todd Jackson told me it was just one of the many other user testing facilities the company had, and that collectively the testing had given the team important feedback of how people were using Gmail. Enough to change where entire features like user chat took up residence on a user's screen.
Did you catch Bruce Springsteen's halftime performance on Sunday? Turns out, you were listening to The Boss sing to a prerecorded backing track.
As Neuberger correctly explains, it's impossible to set up a rock band for a live performance in five minutes and have anything approaching decent sound. Either you sing to a prerecorded backing track or you accept that millions of viewers are going to hear a crummy performance.
In fact, … Read more
I've dug through countless services to find some interesting, loopy, and just plain cool tools that allow you to do more than talk to friends. From receiving tweets when your clothes are clean to tracking packages, Twitter is a great place to solve many of the day's tasks.
While I love going to large events like Giants games or the circus, I hate dealing with the traffic afterward. Finally though, some good has now come out of the frustration of after-event traffic.
Engineering students at Purdue University have come up with a new method to track traffic: Bluetooth. The students tracked Bluetooth signals from cell phones and other devices carried by football fans as they drove home from a recent Penn State game.
The method uses each signal to constantly update how long it takes vehicles and pedestrians to travel from one point to another. Darcy Bullock, professor … Read more
Google on Tuesday unveiled a new site to track the progress of the common cold.
Using the same keyword tracking technology found on Google Trends, it keeps an eye on people searching for queries involving the word "flu" and tracks them both by date and location.
What makes the technology so fascinating is that its data set goes back to 2003, and has been cross-referenced with the last several years of survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Google says that because its own system is based on a constant flow of searches as … Read more