Finding Local Businesses with Google Maps

I wanted to drop some things off at the Dry Cleaner tonight and found out that both of the ones I used had closed recently- probably due to the economy. At any rate, I was able to easily find several options by typing the following into Google Maps (this also works on Google Local, http://local.google.com):

Dry Cleaners near Goose Creek, SC

Then I got a map showing lots of nearby Dry Cleaners. The data will be as fresh as Google Maps can be, and in case you find a business listed on Google Maps that has closed (oops!) there is a “Report a problem” link at the lower right side of the map.

Also interesting, the Google Lat Long blog has a handy post about finding electric vehicle charging stations on Google Maps.

Free Google Snail Mail Postcards

This year you can use Gmail to send a Snail Mail postcard courtesy of Google!

This holiday season, as a token of our appreciation to our most enthusiastic fans, we’ll snail-mail a free holiday postcard on your behalf. Yes, through the mail and everything.

– Gmail Blog, Spread some holiday cheer, one card at a time

So get on over to that website and send a free “Gmail Card” to the Google fan in your life, or maybe that person in your life who doesn’t use email (yet).

Gmail Postcards

Google Enters Browser Wars with Gusto!

ANDROID, OPERA MINI and the MOBILE BROWSER WAR

Google’s Android operating system has become the latest entrant in the mobile browser war since Opera’s Opera Mini now runs on it. It seems Google is not only entering the mobile browser war, but may soon be jumping feet first into the desktop browser war, too.

Considering giving Opera Mini a go on your mobile device (at this point that pretty much means the T-Mobile G1)? If so you may be interested in this excerpt from Webmonkey’s Monkey Bites:

The latest version of Opera Mini, now at 4.2, should be much faster than its predecessor which is good news for users with underpowered mobile devices. Opera Mini doesn’t serve up raw web pages, rather it proxies them through Opera’s servers, slimming them down before sending them on to the browser.
Webmonkey

More Opera Mini Info
Opera Mini Brings the Mobile Browser War to Android
Opera Mini on Google News

GOOGLE CHROME CONSIDERING PRE-INSTALLATION ON PC’s

According to Sam Diaz on ZDNet and TimesOnline.co.uk it appears Google is may be pondering positioning the Google Chrome browser more aggressively against Internet Explorer (and others) by working out deals with PC makers to get Chrome pre-installed on new computers.

Personally I’d like to see more work on Chrome in the form of more support for add-ons, and wider support. For example I’d like to be able to install Chrome on my home office work PC and add the GlobexDesigns Google Redesigned extension. It appears that Google may have just those ideas in mind, and possibly more:

Speaking to The Times, Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President, Product Management, revealed that Chrome will be ready to come out of “beta” testing by January, and that the search giant was looking at ways to make Chrome the browser of choice for the everyday user.

“We will probably do distribution deals,” he said, adding, “we could work with an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and have them ship computers with Chrome pre-installed.”

Mr Pichai said that once a glitch-free version of Chrome browser is launched early next year, Google will make a determined push to advertise its browser to the wider public.

– The TimesOnline.co.uk

Very cool, I would not mind another major browser for web site testing if its Chrome. Chriome I like. Netscape is quietly dying away, Netscape I didn’t like.

Blackberry and Google Sync

Synchronize your calendars with Google Calendar. Google SyncNow supports the open CalDAV protocol and works with Blackberry mobile devices, Android devices, Mozilla Sunbird, Microsoft Outlook Apple iCal, and basically anything that supports/uses the CalDAV protocol.

Wow! I’ve been waiting for this as I’ve been trying to switch to Google Calendar from Mozilla Sunbird so my wife and I can sync our calendars on different computers! Now I can sync my Sunbird to my Google Calendar and her Google Calendar will sync with mine – no more lost oh I-thought-you-wrote-that-one-down appointments very cool!

And… now I can say “See, we need a Blackberry Storm, it will help us get our calendaring together (BIG TOOTHY SMILE).” And there’s a website especially for Google Sync for the BlackBerry, which is really cool! The Google blog has this to say:

If you carry a BlackBerry smartphone, Google Sync for BlackBerry synchronizes your device’s native calendar with Google. You can access your Google Calendar even when you don’t have network coverage and get alerts for upcoming appointments with sound or vibration. It automatically runs in the background, so you can attend to other tasks and still be reminded of your appointments.

– Google blog, Syncing your Calendar

MORE
Cool Storm Video

YouTube Connects Your Music Purchase

Maybe like me you listen to music on YouTube, I sometimes refer to it as my YouTube Radio or Youtubio. Now some music and video game YouTube movies will have advertising at the bottom of the viewing window where the movie plays. Says the Gmail Blog:

Today [October 7, 2008], we’re taking our first steps to providing YouTube users with this kind of instant gratification, by adding “click-to-buy” links to the watch pages of thousands of YouTube partner videos. Click-to-buy links are non-obtrusive retail links, placed on the watch page beneath the video with the other community features. Just as YouTube users can share, favorite, comment on, and respond to videos quickly and easily, now users can click-to-buy products — like songs and video games — related to the content they’re watching on the site. We’re getting started by embedding iTunes and Amazon.com links on videos from companies like EMI Music, and providing Amazon.com product links to the newly-released video game Spore(TM) on videos from Electronic Arts.

Now, if the price is right for those purchases that will be great, I already buy MP3’s from Amazon.com. Go YouTube! Here’s a good example of a YouTube wil embedded advertising:

YouTube Preview Image