Google makes a genius move to get new Ideas/Applications, potential future Google-employees and to gather a large developer-community behind Android: They put up a challenge with prizes in the $10000's. But on which cost center will the $10 million be booked? In research, the human resource department or the advertising department?
The documentation seems very clearly arranged.
Also if it's really that easy like it seems to embed Google services like Google Maps, then there are a whole lot of mobile application possibilities.
There was no mention of mobile advertising in last week's Google Android press conference or today's launch of the SDK. Does this mean that Google doesn't plan to put mobile ads on phones running its OS?
But this is not the main goal. Google has interests in open standards, so they can continue to deliver their services to mobile devices.
Like Michael Mace explained it:
Besides, if you look across all of the recent Google announcements, I think it's clear that Google has a larger agenda: It wants to break down walled gardens, because they interfere with Google's ability to deliver its services. It has even developed a standard methodology for attacking them: Create a consortium so you don't look like a bully, and fund an "open" alternative to whatever is in the way. They are doing it to Facebook, and they're doing it to Windows Mobile. Google doesn't even have to make money from the consortium, as long as it clears the ground for its services to grow.
Will you have the choice in the future what OS you want on your cell phone? Either the one of the manufacturer or an Open Source operating system like Android?
A lot of websites don't open their services for everyone. They claim that their sites are in "beta-phase" and that's why they give away invites only to some people, because they don't want to overload their servers. But that's only one side of the truth.
The other one is, that invites are a marketing-instrument, which works in two ways:
What costs nothing, is worth nothing
The old wisdom is also right for online-services. By restricting the access to a service, people get curious about a new product. An invite is valuable, because not everyone has one. Thus, the service is more valuable. That goes hand in hand with the second marketing-mechanism of invites: Word-of-Mouth.
Word-of-mouth: Blogs and Forums
Bloggers blog about invites. Once your are invited to a service, there is the possibility to pass more invites to other people. Invites give people a reason to make a post about your product in their blog. You know those posts: "First 5 comments get an invite". Bloggers would do everything for a comment... Furthermore there are a lot of forums where people open new threads to pass invites to each other.
Those posts in blogs and forums have two implications:
They result in precious links to your website (Search Engine Optimization) and
more people knowing about your product (free advertising!)
The first service that I can remember, that used such an invite-marketing-model was GMail. People were crazy to get invites. Nowadays it's a standard-model to introduce new services to the web-community.
I rode my bicycle around the lake of Zug and used the occasion to try out GPS tagging (this means to add GPS-Information to photos, so they can easily be shown on Maps). I wanted to visualize my trip and my photos I had taken on that trip, so I evaluated websites like flickr, to see, how well the support geotagging. The result is this article, which will hopefully help you to select the best website, if you want to do some geotagging.
This article can be divided into 4 sections: 1. GPS tagging - a tutorial - What do you need to do GPS tagging? 2. Combination of GPS-Track-Data and Photos - How to visualize the photos on the track of your trip. 3. Uploading the pictures - which provider to choose? - Which photo-website provides the best support for geotagging? 4. Links for GPS tagging - some references
1. GPS tagging - a tutorial
satellite-image of the bicycle-tour around the lake of Zug
What you need
a photo camera - in my case the cell phone Sony Ericsson K800i
Make sure the two devices have the same date and time set up. This is crucial for matching the photos with the GPS-information afterwards.
How to put the GPS data into the photo's EXIF data
I used the GPSPhotoLinker (Mac only) to get the track-Data from the Garmin and to tag the photos.
If you use Windows, you can search for a GPS/geotagging-tool on Versiontracker. A good freeware could be GeoSetter, but I haven't tested it yet, and don't know if it supports batch geotagging. If you tested it, please leave a comment. (Update: GeoSetter seems to work as the comments below by Sander and Danni say)
To get the track-data from the Garmin and translate it into GPX, you can use GPS Babel.
A preview of the combination of track-data and images
With Picasa Web Albums it's easy to mash up tracks and photos. Just open the track-file. Then right-click on the track and choose "Add-->Network-link". Enter the link to the KML-File of Picasa Web Albums (to be found under the link "View in Google Earth"). For my trip, that looks like this: Google Earth-file for the bicycle-tour.
Now you can walk through every photo by selecting "Tools-->Play Tour".
For those of you, who don't want to startup Google Earth, a preview is shown on the right, and there is also a possibility to directly show your KMZ-file in Google Maps! (Instructions here) Have a look at my KMZ-file in Google Maps.
In Flickr, there is also an integration into Google Earth, but nor for each album, only for all the photos of an user. At the end of the user's page there's a KML-Link, that you can add as a network link in Google Earth. I also included a network-link to flickr in another KMZ-file, but strangely not all the photos from flickr are included...
Via-Ferrata (german) is very good for uploading track-info. Beside showing track on a Google Map, they calculate different stuff like average speed and provide a visualization of the elevation-profile. It should also be possible to upload images, which are directly inserted on the Google Map, unfortunately that didn't work. (Possibly because the time on the track-file is 2h behind the time of the Garmin etrex vista)
1. Combine the track-data and the photos in Google Earth like I described here
2. Upload the KMZ-File on a server. If you don't have your own webspace, use a hoster like Mediafire for example.
3. Create a Google Map-Link to that file: http://maps.google.com/?q=<link_to_your_kmz_file>&t=h (the variable t at the end defines the type of the map. (h= hybrid, k= satellite, no parameter t = normal map)
4. You're done
Good integration with google maps. For every album, a small google map is showed, where the location of the images can be seen
It's possible to merge gps-tracks and image-locations in a Google-Earth file (KMZ-file)
No easy multiple upload per web interface, iPhoto-Plugin and Uploader-Program needed to upload a lot of photos.
if you upload images by "Picasa Web Albums Uploader" and scale the images for faster transfer, the GPS-Data is deleted from the EXIF-Metadata, so be sure to use the option "Actual Size (slowest upload)"
upload of gpx-tracks, to match tracks with photos
first you have to explicitly allow picasa to use the gps-information inside the EXIF-data of the images. You have to go to "Settings" and then activate "Use Exif location information." Normally, as soon as Picasa discovers images with location tags, it will ask you if you want to enable this function.
PS. There are 3rd-party-websites, that provide mashups of flickr and maps. Mappr was unreachable during this evaluation, and loc.alize.us didn't return pictures for a user-dependent search.
Photos. I only uploaded some for testing purposes.
Gives you the opportunity to make your pictures visible for everyone in Google Earth.
absolutely no possibility to upload multiple photos in one click. Every photo has to be uploaded one-by-one.
no possibility to arrange photos into albums, therefore there's only a Google Map for each of the photos.
Picasa Web Albums is the best choice to upload gps tagged pictures, because maps are directly integrated into the album, you don't have to use a 3rd-party website. Furthermore, you can easily combine track data and images in Google Earth and Google Maps.
4. Links for GPS tagging
GPS Visualizer - Upload a GPS-datafile and get visualizations in Google Earth, Google Maps or as image-files.
For Mac: GPSPhotoLinker - import GPS-Tracks from Garmin-device as GPX-file and insert that GPX-data into photos
For PC: GPS Babel - translate GPS-tracks from Garmin-devices into GPX-files Google Earth Blog - I've got some information about Google Earth tagging from there
The terrestrial globe is connected with information from Google Earth and has a touch-screen-surface for zooming in. You can enable different overlays like weather for example or a news-overlay that shows armed confilcts as a heat-map. Whenever a conflict in the world arises, that spot would be marked orange, while ongoing conflicts with heavy losses are marked red.
Arguments: You could argue, that such a globe is unnecessary, because you can access Google Earth by computer. But the difference is for one thing that such a globe is always on, so you can always have a quick glance and get informed about news in the world. For another thing the globe is more easily operated. You can easily spin it and the touch-screen lets you zoom-in with your fingers.