Gmail Video for the Holidays

Just a few weeks ago, Google announced Gmail Voice and Video chat embedded into Gmail.  You simply download a client onto your computer and you’re off!  Here are a few of my observations:

  • Setup was simple and if you have a Mac with an embedded camera, it’s even simpler!
  • Having it embedded in my Gmail client makes a world of difference.  I’m much more likely to use the tool given the fact that I use Gmail all the time.  Plus, it’s my primary contact management tool.
  • Quality is good.  Compared to Skype and Yahoo IM, I think its better.

A video conference is a much more robust form of communication comparied to instant messaging or email.  It makes a world of difference when it comes to managing remote teams or just trying to connect with family.  This afternoon I walked my not-so-computer-savy dad through the setup and we had a cross-continental video conference with my family in Connecticut.  My 2 year old daughter enjoyed it alot, especially when my dad raised our dog Patton up to the camera.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Google Chrome Is Fast

Alright, Google Chrome has come out and everyone is talking about it.  I must say that it is really fast.  I almost made it my official browser but some of the web sites were not rendering properly.  Important buttons were missing from the Google Groups pages.

What is interesting is that some of the Google Application pages are displaying with some enhanced visuals such as box bolding or shading.  What if Google were to provide “enhanced features” if you viewed any Google Application through Chrome.  Would that be considered an unfair competitive advantage?  I’m so dependent on a few Google Applications that I would do that.

Maybe Google is slowing becoming the evil empire …

By the way, where is the Mac version dammit!?!

Google Picasa Name Tags

Just recently, Google Picasa was updated with a new client and web interface.  Unfortunately, they hate Mac users so I stopped using the client in lieu of Apple iPhoto with the Picasa upload client.  Good enough.

The coolest new feature is their support for Name Tags.  Basically, they scan through your photos, do some sort of face recognition and group faces that are similar. After that, you’re able to tag the similar faces all at once.

Why do I think this is interesting?

It provides you with different lens on the same data.  I love that as an innovative concept.  Instead of just viewing the photos by event or chronological order, the photos can be viewed by the most important element, the people.

  • View all photos of …
  • View all photos with the following people …
  • Create slide show with the following people …
  • Share photos with the people tagged …

Best of all, its integrated with their GMail contacts which I just standardized to being my primary rolodex.

The scanning took about an hour on my 750+ MB collection of photos and it did a pretty good job.  The tagging is super easy and view the photos grouped by person is very cool.

It is very cool. You should try it out.

Google’s OpenSocial (or “Maka-Maka”) Coming Soon

TechCrunch had an interesting post today about Google’s new project called OpenSocial (or what TechCrunch previously called “Maka-Maka”). Michael writes,

The new project, called OpenSocial (URL will go live on Thursday), goes well beyond what we’ve previously reported. It is a set of common APIs that application developers can use to create applications that work on any social networks (called “hosts”) that choose to participate.

Amazing if they can do it but I’m really interested in understand a bit more about how it works. This is going to make is really easy to plug into these social networking sites. Watch out Facebook.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the details …