Tag Archives: google

Rediscover THIS Day, But Maybe Not THAT One!

Google Photos has been sending me its usual “Rediscover this day!” collages from Comic-Con 2013. On Tuesday it sent me a collage built from July 18, and on Thursday it sent me a collage built from July 20, marking Thursday and Saturday of the event.

Wait, what about Friday?

Well, here’s the interesting thing: Friday was the day I spent the afternoon in the emergency room.

I’d like to think someone programmed the algorithm to skip photos tagged for hospitals. Imagine if it was my wife’s photo collection, and I hadn’t made it — “Rediscover this day” would have been rather cruel in that case.

The more likely explanation is that I don’t have very many photos from that day for it to pick from, at least not on the account. On my computer I have 19 photos from my phone, 19 from my camera, and 5 from Katie’s phone. Of those, I picked 21 for my Flickr album. In Google Photos, I only have six from that day, all from my phone — and they don’t include the ER wristband shot.

My best guess is that I cleared most of them from my phone sometime before I started using the cloud backup feature… but I can’t figure out why I would have kept the photos that are there, and not some of the photos that aren’t.

Here are the photos that are on there (though I linked to them on Flickr for convenience):

Game of Thrones Religious Protesters Duplo Enterprise View from the Floor Flash at the Grocery Store

It’s an odd collection, isn’t it? The three individual frames from the GoT protester collage are in there, so maybe the collage app saved extra copies of the sources, and Photos found the folder. I can see deliberately keeping the view of the blimp from the convention floor (literally the floor), but if I’d done that, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have saved the wristband shot as well. And why save the Duplo Enterprise, but not the photos of my son playing at the LEGO booth?

Phone cameras and cloud storage are supposed to augment our memory. But sometimes the context is just missing.

Tablet Tip: Using Bookmarklets with Chrome for Android

Overall I like having Chrome on my Nexus 7, but there are a couple of things about it that bug me.

First: You can’t hide the tabs and search/URL bar. That’s not a problem in portrait mode, but in landscape mode, it takes up way too much screen space. Otherwise the tablet would be perfect for things like reading comics at Thrillbent.

Second: Bookmarklets are tricky. Because on Android Chrome loads your bookmarks in a new tab, not a menu, when you tap on a bookmarklet, it acts on a blank page, not on the page you wanted to use it for. If you have an app that provides a sharing intent, no big deal. You just share the page to that app, and you’re done. But if you want to run something on the page, or share it with a website that has a bookmarklet but not an app (like, say, Pinterest or Timely), it would be nice to be able to run them.

As it turns out, you can use bookmarklets in Chrome through the search bar!

  1. Pick a good name for it that you can get to auto-complete quickly.
  2. Type the name into the search bar when you want to run it.
  3. Tap the bookmarklet when it shows up in the drop-down.

Not quite as easy as tapping a button, but close!

Screenshot: Android Chrome bookmarklet for Delicious called via autocomplete

Recent Tech Links

Some interesting technology articles I’ve found over the last few weeks.

What Can You Build With the Google+ API So Far?

Google has released the first taste of what will become a larger Google+ API for third-party applications built on their social network. So far, all you can do is authenticate, retrieve someone’s public profile, and read their public activities. That doesn’t sound like much, does it?

Well, here are some ideas I came up with over lunch:

  • Add Google+ activity to a lifestream.
  • Allow someone to comment on your blog using their Google+ identity.
  • Create a map of movements of based on public checkins.
  • Analyze posting frequency & times.
  • Analyze most popular posts based on reshares, +1s, replies (basically: add Google+ to Klout [Update: That was fast!])
  • Associate a person with other profiles you might have from other social networks, based on their profile URLs.
  • Build a list of people who work at an organization and speak a particular language.

Of course, it’ll really start taking off when they enable write access and the link-sharing and cross-posting services can get in on the act.

So, how about you? What else do you think can be done with the limited API released today?

You can find me at Google+ here: Kelson Vibber.

Google GPS Navigation Needs Traffic Prediction

I use navigation on my Android phone to pick out the best route to work each morning. The problem is, it bases time estimates on traffic conditions now — not traffic conditions as they’ll be when I get to each point along the route. I’ve gotten used to the morning drive taking at least 15 minutes* longer and the evening drive taking around 10 minutes less than predicted, but a little more precision would be helpful.

Obviously, Google isn’t psychic. They can’t predict where and when car crashes will happen. But they do have historical traffic data. If you go to Google Maps on the web and display traffic, you can switch between live data and an average for a given time and day of the week.

It would be fantastic if Google used that data to predict how much slower (or faster) traffic will be moving at each point along each projected route, and use that for the time estimates. It would be nice for the “Are we there yet?” factor, but it would be incredibly useful for route planning!

*Sometimes more. This morning, it predicted a 55-minute trip. It took me an hour and 35 minutes.