Unless you’re an unusually big fan of the radio, traffic information can be remarkably hard to come by. Luckily, anyone with a smartphone is about to get a new secret weapon.
More than Microsoft or even Apple, Google has always been interested in blowing minds. So when they get into the OS racket, they do it with a web browser—apparently just to mess with us.
Late last night, Google announced their new Chrome OS, a stripped-down operating system based on Linux and promising to get the average computer booted up and onto the internet in a matter of seconds. Compared to Microsoft’s increasingly glacial startup times, it should be quite a jolt, and perfect for a new generation of web-based apps. Looks like their heads are still in the cloud.
Over the past decade, the internet has left a long trail of upended industries in its wake—most notably music, publishing and feline photography—but so far the phone companies have skated by more or less untouched.
There have been a few attempts at startup telephony, most notably Skype and the recently revived Ooma but one of the heavy-hitters is about to give it a shot too. We’ll give you a hint; it starts with a G…
Navigating a major sporting event can be pretty bewildering if you don’t have the right equipment. But it’s nothing a Smartphone can’t solve.
This Android app from IBM gives you a guide to every taxi stand, restaurant, and bathroom, along with live feeds from every court giving a blow-by-blow for each match. And, in case you want something a bit more direct than Google Maps, it gives you all the info in a heads-up display through the phone’s camera. Think of it as the difference between “north-northeast” and “that way.”
Google’s been showing a healthily geeky interest in astronomy ever since they turned Google Earth skyward, but we never thought of what they could do with a smartphone…
Consider us pleasantly surprised. Google just capped off its annual Searchology conference with a sneak peek at a new mobile app called SkyMap, a constellation-finder program that makes finding the big dipper as easy as holding up your phone.
The app gives you a mobile map to the stars that’s responsive to the location and direction of the phone, which means you should always know exactly what you’re looking at. And if you’ve got a particular constellation in mind (Capricorn is always a crowd favorite), the app will point you directly to it. Of course, it’s not the first electronic map to the stars, but it’s the first one that’s integrated so smoothly with the actual sky.
It’s still pretty far from mass production, but when it makes it through, it should be one of the more impressive mobile apps around…and a potential killer app for Android phones.
The aesthetes at Valet just debuted The Edit, a more web-integrated wing of their site. There’s a steady stream of obsession-worthy objects, a handy virtual newsstand and a digest of some of the best style blogs on the web (ahem), but what really caught our eye was a little applet called The Pulse.
Anyone who’s spent an afternoon scouring Google Trends can testify to its almost limitless appeal, but The Pulse is the first time we’ve seen it harnessed in editorial form. Above, you can see the Met Ball debacle broken down in handy graphical form, as news of Mr. Sutherland’s infamous headbutt gradually spreads through the blogosphere, and thousands of people simultaneously wonder who Jack McCollough is.
At this point, Google is less a tech company than an enormous mass of information, absorbing museums, libraries, laboratories, phone companies and whole species, until eventually it contains everything in the world. (Akira, anyone? Anyone?) At this point, its only competitors are Apple and religion. It’s going to be a brave new world…especially if you’ve got a smart phone.
Although we love a good Blackberry now and then, our heart belongs to the iPhone for one simple reason: the programs.
We got an extra boost today, when our favorite tech-savvy producer weighed in. The last time we checked in he was putting out an album with his old Talking Heads chum David Byrne, but this time around he’s taking the experimental route. He’s put together a music program called *Bloom* for the iPhone that creates music based on the user’s touch. (Those are the high-tech controls on the left; each bubble plays its own sound.) It’s an example of Eno’s pet project of generative music, but all you really need to know is that it’s a musical toy that could only exist on a touchscreen phone, and it’ll only set you back four dollars.
Just the thing to keep you occupied until Google gets its act together.
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